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Social Club eye return to big time

Young Men's Social Club survived a major test last weekend when they edged X-Roads in a top-of-the-table clash.

Tomorrow night they face possibly the biggest threat to their 12-game unbeaten run when they take on BAA at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm.

The First Division leaders took a big step towards promotion back to the top flight after 37 years with that victory at Garrison Field, where they scored two goals in the last ten minutes to clinch their tenth win of the season.

Now the finish line is in sight with six games remaining and a 12-point lead over St David's, St George's and BAA — the third, fourth and fifth-placed teams — all of whom they have to play.

A victory for the leaders against BAA would take them over that last hurdle before they finish the month with matches against Paget Lions and Wolves, by which time their fate could be sealed.

“I think we need two victories to secure it and we're going to try to push it along,” Quincy Paynter, the Social Club coach, said.

Paynter invited former stalwart Fred “Pinks” Lewis to speak to the team at half-time against X-Roads and it seemed to work. “And with more adjectives than I would have used,” Paynter joked.

X-Roads, who will benefit from a Social Club win over BAA, have a big game themselves on Sunday when they meet St George's at Wellington Oval. The two teams recently upset Premier Division sides Devonshire Colts and Boulevard in the FA Cup to reach the quarter-finals, but promotion remains their priority.

St George's have not won since that Boulevard win, drawing with Wolves and then suffering another 1-0 loss to neighbours St David's last weekend.

They can ill afford to drop more points against X-Roads who won their first meeting back in October.

St David's should remain in third place with victory at home to Hamilton Parish on Sunday while Wolves play Paget and Southampton Rangers host Ireland Rangers in the other matches.

Southampton have slumped to seventh after four straight league and cup losses which forced Dawud Tucker to step down as coach this week.

Flanagan's Onions and Devonshire Colts are desperate to avoid the drop back into the First Division, but will have to work hard to get something from their games against North Village and Devonshire Colts.

Onions, who did manage a draw against PHC Zebras last weekend, which knocked the Zebras out of first place, will play new leaders North Village at Bernard Park.

Onions, promoted last season with Somerset Eagles, dropped into the relegation zone last weekend but are just a point behind Eagles and Dandy Town in the fight for survival.

Colts have more ground to catch up as they are now five points adrift at the bottom after their defeat to Boulevard.

They face another tough encounter at Police Field where they play host to unbeaten PHC, who are still one of the favourites for the title.

Tomorrow at 8pm, Somerset Trojans meet Somerset Eagles in a West End derby that was switched from tonight.

Trojans are in mid-table but are only five points above the relegation zone.

In Sunday's other matches, rejuvenated Dandy Town host Boulevard at St John's Field while Devonshire Cougars entertain Robin Hood at Devonshire Recreation Club in a match between the third and fourth-placed teams.

Looking over your shoulder: Paynter and Social Club are leading the table as they aim for promotion to the top flight after a 37-year absence (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

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Published February 10, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 09, 2017 at 10:51 pm)

Social Club eye return to big time

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