In recent years Unicorn’s title challenge has usually evaporated by this time in the season.
But despite the Richmond team featuring a number of cheese league veterans, they are still setting the pace as we enter the final push.
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On Saturday it was the young guns of Richmond Town Reserves who were the latest to be shot down. Town scored first against the run of play when Edward Lewington calmly slotted under keeper David Mutch.
The score was level on 22 minutes after a defence splitting ball from Tom Keegan found Liam Reeves, who raced through and hammered the ball in the top corner from an acute angle.
The turnaround was complete minutes later when Luke Dent picked up the ball in his own half and jinked past four Town players before being brought down on the edge of the box.
Charlie Allis stepped up and curled a measured effort, around the wall into into the bottom corner.
And it was 3-1 on 38 minutes when the Sean ‘Rolls Royce’ Radford collected the ball on the edge of the area, span his man, flicked the ball over his head and volleyed goalwards.
Reeves then caught everyone by surprise and nipped in to clip the ball home from what had looked like a routine pick up for Mudd in the Town goal.
Ten minutes into the second half Allis, who had been a menace on set pieces all afternoon, stood over the ball 35 yards from goal and proceeded to hammer an astonishing free-kick into the top corner.
Finally, with 5 minutes left, target man Shaun Charlton was tripped as he went through on goal. Up stepped Reeves to sink the spot kick and take his goal tally to 29 for the season.
There was late drama in the game between Carperby and Richmond Buck Buck, which the Newbiggin side won 2-1.
It was Buck’s first game back after a six-week winter break and their pacey forward Marshal Thorogood looked a little rusty as a number of first half sprints towards goal failed to find the finish required to beat Carperby keeper Craig Marshall.
Carperby had first half pressure too, which nearly told with them hitting the woodwork and Andy Young in the Buck goal making a good save with the rebound.
The deadlock was broken in the second half when Dan Bolton’s perfectly timed run and finish from a Stewart Fotheringham cross put Buck one up. A deserved goal for a man of the match display.
Buck failed to put the game beyond Carperby with wayward finishing and good goalkeeping from Marshall.
In the dying minutes a great cross from the right saw Buck veteran Andy D’Arcy running back towards goal with ‘giant in comparison’ Carperby forward John Pickard on his shoulder.
D’Arcy got too much forehead contact on the ball and powered it into his own net for 1-1
Luckily for D’Arcy there was still time for his blushes to be spared as John Bishton, returning for the Buck after a four-year hiatus, sent Thorogood forward down the Carperby right and his run from almost the half way line resulted in an accurate near post finish to secure all the points on offer.
Elsewhere in the league, Spenni beat Reeth 2-1.
In the Medals Shield, Leyburn knocked out Richmond Mavericks to reach the final.
Mavs scored first when a wayward back pass from Stephen Moffitt was missed by goalkeeper Jack Hammond and bounced straight into his own net.
This seemed to wake the Leyburn player’s up and they started to knock the ball around on the artificial surface nicely.
In the 2oth minute finished a nice Leyburn move when he found the top corner from 20 yards. In the 35th minute Ryan Anderson gave the Mavs keeper no chance with a shot that came from great build up play down the right from Sam Lane.
Andrew Pritchard however soon equalised for the home side.
Lane then had to go off after what the visitors was a foul and should have been a penalty.
After the break, two more goals from Wilkinson and a couple from sub Kalem Stanger, as Mavs pushed forward to get back into the game, meant Leyburn secured the win and will take on either Colburn or Catterick Garrison in the final.
Carperby 1-2 Richmond Buck
Richmond Town Reserves 1-5 Unicorn
Spennithorne 2-1 Reeth
Leyburn 6-2 Richmond Mavericks
Fixtures – 7.3.20
Richmond Town Reserves v Carperby
Unicorn v Hawes United
Colburn v Catterick Garrison
Reeth v Richmond Buck