The title is not in our hands, admits AFC Ludlow boss Dave Cooper

First published in Sport

IN the three-team race for the West Midlands Division Two title, AFC Ludlow’s fate is out of their hands.

Dave Cooper’s men knew they would face a tough run-in – their final three games were all midweek clashes away to quality opposition.

Results over the weekend, mean AFC will rely on Wrens Nest dropping points and a final day heroics against leaders Team Dudley if they are to gain promotion in their maiden season in the league.

Facing Warstone Wanderers last night, AFC will need to pick up wins on the road in Wolverhampton and Dudley.

“These are three cup finals for us,” said Cooper.

“They are massive games for us – we have just got to do what we can do, and see what happens, but it’s Wrens Nest to lose.”

Cooper had to pull off a similar finish to clinch the Mercian Premier Division last year, winning their final seven games to bring home the title.

And now on a similar run – AFC have not lost since January 11 – Cooper said his side are playing with real confidence.

He said: “Everyone’s enjoying their football – we’re getting clapped off the pitch.

“Winning brings you that confidence and we’ll go into these games knowing we can win.

“It’s frustrating; we wouldn’t have been in this situation if it wasn’t for our home form earlier in the year, but you want to be in it at the end of the season.”

Ludlow, who currently sit in second, four points behind Dudley, will have to do it without star man Dale Hodge – out for the season – but Cooper says has every faith that free-scoring partnership between Slovakian brothers Martin and Marian Jusko to pick up the slack.

CLEE Hill United shipped 12 goals in two defeats last week, but bounced back with a 4-0 win over Norbury on Monday to make it through to semi finals of the Bishops Castle Cup.

A Craig Breakwell double and goals from Ryan Harper and Tom Evans saw United home, four days after they suffered a last-minute loss to Weston Rhyn in the quarter finals of the Shropshire Challenge Cup.

And a short-staffed United side were hammered 10-0 on Saturday by Childs Ercall in the Mercian League Division One.

Elsewhere in Division One, BISHOPS CASTLE TOWN fell 3-0 to league leaders Oswestry Town in a top of the table clash that dents Town’s promotion hopes.

They now find themselves five points behind second-placed Childs Ercall, having played two extra games, however they are facing a favourable run-in facing just one top-half team, sixth-placed Rock Rovers, in their final five games.

BROWN CLEE slipped up away to relegation candidates Shawbury United 2-1, and will look to get back to winning ways when they welcome Dawley Town on Saturday.

IN the Premier Division Church Stretton were held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Shifnal United, who are level with Weston Rhyn on 22 points at the foot of the table.

Stretton slip to fifth in the table, but are still just two points off second with two games in hand.

NEWCASTLE had no fixture but return to action on Saturday at home to Presteigne Reserves, while Brimfield – who also did not play – visit Orleton Colts.

Chris Shurmer hit a consolation goal as LEINTWARDINE COLTS, who were reduced to 10-men following an Alan Pearson injury, lost 5-1 to Shobdon Reserves in the Herefordshire League Division Three.

LUDLOW LADIES found themselves on the wrong side of a 7-0 scoreline as they lost in the Hereford and Worcester Women’s Cup final to Evesham United.

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