FOOTBALL: Lincoln Saturday League round-up

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Table-topping Horncastle Town Reserves were among those teams without a game with only two Lincoln Saturday League games being played on the last weekend of February, with one being a league game and the other the outstanding semi-final in the Village Trophy cup competition.

The two sides who were battling it out for a place in the Village Trophy final were Railway Inn and Cherry Willingham.

In their first season, it was the Railway’s first appearance in the semi-finals while Cherry, for all their long history, were appearing in only their third such semi-final. Victory for either side would see them into the final for the first occasion and there, meet Ruskington Rovers, who themselves, would also be appearing in their first Village Trophy final.

This would make it the 36th different club to appear in the competition’s final in its 111-year history, and possibly only the 28th different name to go on to the trophy.

In two previous meetings between the two sides this season, Cherry had come out on top on both occasions. Firstly in a quarter-final tie in the Amateur Cup they had won 7-2 and before this, in league action, they had triumphed 4-3. This obviously meant they went into this match as clear favourites.

The match produced everything expected of a cup tie with the two sides tied at 3-3 at full time and then 4-4 after extra time. In the end it was Railway who recorded a famous victory for their club as they kept their nerve the better to win the penalty shoot-out 4-3.

Railway’s scorers were James Smith (2), Lee Holmes and Karl Smith, with Ash Bradley (2) and James Hobson scoring for Cherry. In the penalty shoot-out, Railway’s scorers were Chris Rawlins, James Smith, Alan Forwood and Lee Holmes, while Cherry’s were Ash Bradley, M. Pitchford and John Ofton.

In league action, sixth placed Ruston Sports entertained seventh placed Retford Town with the prize for the victors, a step up to fifth in the table, above AFC Crown and Arrows.

In their previous meeting this season, at the beginning of the campaign, the two sides shared a 2-2 draw. Neither side was in any sort of form with just one win apiece in their last six games. Retford’s win was only two games ago while Ruston’s was five and they had not won a home game since November, their only home win to date.

But completely dominating this game, Ruston not only won 5-0 but kept their first clean sheet of the season, while Retford failed to score for the fifth occasion. Scoring for Ruston were Harvey Melady (2), Gav Mackie (2) and Paul Norris.

Fixtures: AFC Crown & Arrows v Railway Inn, Birchwood United v Saxilby Athletic, Retford Town v Horncastle Town Reserves, Ruston Sports v Fulbeck United.