CHURCH Stretton are gearing up for a vital fortnight that will determine their West Midlands League Division Two title destiny, admits boss Scott Peever.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 win at AFC Bridgnorth Development kept Peever’s side hot on the heels of table-toppers FC Darlaston, although the leaders claimed a smash-and-grab 2-1 win at Ludlow.

Stretton remain two points behind Darlaston but with a game in hand ahead of two pivotal weekends.

They host third-placed Gornal Colts – themselves still in with a chance of the title – this weekend before visiting leaders Darlaston a week on Saturday.

A win over Gornal would put Church top as Darlaston are not playing and Peever admitted: “It would be a nice time to go top with four games left as we’ve been chasing Darlaston most of the season.

“But the top three all have to play each other still. We have a game in hand on Darlaston but Gornal have a game in hand on us, so it’s still anyone’s.

“We have four cup finals left and all we can do is give it our best shot. We have lost to Gornal twice this season but there’s not been much in it and we certainly have no fears about playing them.”

Sean Gough scored Stretton’s winner at Bridgnorth with 20 minutes to go – the substitute reacted first to a ball into the box and slid home.

The game was Stretton’s first league match of 2019 after several postponements due to the weather and they only played twice in December too, with Peever admitting: “It’s been very stop-start for us.

“It was quite an important win on Saturday after such a long time off. We hadn’t won in the league since mid-November so it was nice to get a game under our belt before these next big two games.”

Stretton would be top already had Darlaston lost last weekend – and Ludlow boss Chris Waldron felt they should have.

Ludlow led the table-toppers through Tom Everall’s penalty but a 35-yard screamer, a red card on his debut for Matt Good and a late winner that looked offside conspired to give Darlaston victory.

The defeat mathematically ended fourth-placed Ludlow’s slim title dreams but they remain in both the Shropshire Cup and League Cup.

Boss Waldron, whose side host AFC Bridgnorth Development this weekend, groaned: “We were the better side but we missed too many chances. We still outplayed them when we went down to 10.

“We need to win our last three games now to make sure we finish fourth because it’s getting tight and we don’t want to be dropping any further.

“But the aim was to finish in the top six to improve on last season so we are on course for that and hopefully we can win a cup too.”