Achilles host Crane Sports in clash of SIL Senior Division top-two

The winning Achilles squad that beat Haughley United 4-2 to win the Bob Coleman Cup last season

The winning Achilles squad that beat Haughley United 4-2 to win the Bob Coleman Cup last season - Credit: James Ager

The top-two in the SIL Senior Division go head-to-head tomorrow when league leaders Achilles host champions Crane Sports.

Having missed out on the title to Cranes for the past two seasons, Achilles are keen not to make it third time unlucky and currently hold a three-point lead over Iain Radnor’s side, albeit having played a game more.

Both teams have just one defeat to their name this term. Achilles have won eight and drawn once since their early-season defeat to Felixstowe Harpers, while Cranes lost, somewhat surprisingly, at home to Coplestonians last month.

“We are looking forward to it,” said Achilles boss Luke Hillyard.

“It’s always good going up against Cranes and Rads (Radnor), they have been the champions for the last two years and they are the team to beat.

“It will be a competitive game, it always is, without being nasty and the two clubs have got that respect for each other.”

Achilles have scored a staggering 17 goals in their last three games, against Bramford, East Bergholt and Haughley – those three games coinciding with the return of last season’s top-scorer and Luke’s brother, Liam, who is back with the team after a brief spell with Felixstowe & Walton on a dual-contract basis.

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“Liam has got other commitments away from football and we have been good without him, but we all know what he can do on the pitch,” added the Achilles boss.

“A victory today would be a huge statement but it’s so early on in the season and there will be so many twists and turns.”

Third-placed Bramford, meanwhile, can keep the pressure on the top two with victory at bottom-of-the-table Grundisburgh. Bramford are currently six points off the leaders but they also have a game in hand on them.

A point behind Bramford, in fourth, are Henley Athletic – making a good fist of their first season at the top level – and they will start off favourites to add to their points tally at home to second-bottom Westerfield United.

Coplestonians, in fifth, host 10th-placed Capel Plough, while Haughley United, who complete the top-six, are at home to eighth-placed East Berg United.

Stanton and Leiston St Margarets both have the chance to pull away from trouble at the bottom when they meet at Old Bury Road, while Ipswich Athletic, in 12th, entertain Wenhaston United, in 11th.

Kick-off times for the matches are 2pm (league) and 1.30pm (League Cup. Kick-offs may be brought forward, provided seven days’ notice has been given to the league and to the match official(s).

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