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Parish and Social Club lock horns in top-of-the-table clash

Raring to go: Hamilton Parish coach Sergio Goater says his players are eager for another match after a four week break (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Top spot in the First Division and advantage in the promotion race is up for grabs when Hamilton Parish meet Young Men’s Social Club in a top of the table clash at Wellington Oval this weekend.

Parish, who have not had a match in almost four weeks, lost first place last weekend when Social Club beat bottom team Paget in the lone First Division fixture.

Much has changed since Parish beat Wolves 3-0 in their last match on November 21, including resurging Young Men’s Social Club replacing them at the top of the standings.

It only serves to add extra spice ahead of the two sides meeting.

“They’re chomping at the bit right now,” Parish coach Sergio Goater said of his players. “It’s a difference for us as I guess we will go into the game as underdogs.

“It’s a position we haven’t been in before, we’re so used to being the leaders.”

The two sides met in mid-November in the FA Cup preliminary round when Parish came out 4-2 winners, but since then the Bluebirds have gone on a three-game winning run, scoring 14 goals in wins over St David’s, BAA and Paget to climb into first place.

Last season Parish and Social Club were the two promotion favourites when the season ended in early December.

Now both are looking to carry on where they left off, with Parish just a point behind their opponents and with two games in hand.

The break has been somewhat positive as players have been able to recover from injuries, though some momentum has been lost after three opening wins produced 15 goals with just one conceded.

“We have a few injured players back but now we’ve got five games in a span of two weeks,” Goater explained.

One of those fixtures is a make-up match against Ireland Rangers from November 20. Despite the long break, Goater says the spirit of the players has remained good.

“Training has still been good, actually they are highly motivated,” he added. “Social Club are our main rivals right now so there is always that talk of ‘oh, wait ‘till we play you again’.

We’re just taking it one game at a time, it just so happens that they are ahead of us.

“The last time we played them up at Police Field in the FA Cup it was a challenging game. It’s going to be a busy schedule, Christmas and trying to keep them from eating too much turkey!

“Then in January there’s the FA Cup. If they wanted football here they go. There’s plenty of it to play.”

Wolves, BAA and Boulevard are all three points behind on seven points in the early promotion race. BAA meet Wolves today at Goose Gosling Field, while Boulevard meet Vasco on Sunday at the same venue.

Ireland Rangers take on St David’s in the other match on Sunday.

• The chasing pack in the Premier Division will get the chance to close the gap on leaders Dandy Town this weekend.

Town hold a ten point lead at the top of the standings but have a bye, which will give the likes of PHC, Somerset Trojans and Devonshire Cougars the chance to close the gap to eight points.

The three teams all have eleven points, with Somerset making the long trip east to meet St George’s at Wellington Oval. St George’s and Devonshire Colts are a further point back, with five teams separated by just a single point from second to sixth.

PHC host Devonshire Colts as they look to bounce back from their first loss last weekend to Dandy Town.

Bottom team X-Roads are at home to Devonshire Cougars at Garrison Field while Southampton Rangers are hoping to make it two wins from two when North Village visit Southampton Oval.

After wins in their first two matches, Village are now without a win in four games and find themselves fourth from bottom.

In tonight’s other match at Goose Gosling Field, Robin Hood host Somerset Eagles.

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Published December 18, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2021 at 9:04 pm)

Parish and Social Club lock horns in top-of-the-table clash

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