Onésimo Murube fires home our second goal to make the points all but safe and take the title race to the final week.

As anticipated, wins this afternoon for both Athletic and Accretia mean the title race will go right down to the wire next weekend when the two sides face each other at Accretia’s Oasis Punch ground.

“It’s set up perfectly for a huge match and a terrific finale to the season”, said Arjen after watching his side’s 3-0 win over Whiskaz Wonderers at New Home Park. “It’s almost certainly going to be a sell-out which should make for a fantastic atmosphere.

He did however admit, “It could be a very tight game and although we have a very potent attack, both sides are thoroughly miserly when it comes to conceding. Again we hold a slight edge”.

Regardless of the result next weekend however, it looks almost certain that the Division’s Golden Boot will be heading back to New Home Park. Barring a complete collapse by Athletic, either Andy Hautala, Onésimo Murube or even Paul O’Healihy seem almost certain to lift the award, as the closest Accretia player trails the leader by five goals.

Arjen said of the Golden Boot race, “We’ve had an extremely good attack this season, and it’s just reward for the players that they are heading the race”. He did however warn, “The players must not, and I don’t expect them to, take their eyes off the bigger prize. Winning the league and gaining promotion are the only things that matter; awards are bonuses and our players are professional and understand this”.

“We will have an immensely hard match to face next weekend, but we must go out in the right frame of mind to secure the win we need. A draw is no good to us, despite our overwhelming goals advantage. We have to prepare properly and need look no further than the last time the two teams met, on the opening day of the season, to see what poor preparation and an assumption that we ‘just need to turn up’ can do.

He concluded by saying, “We’ve played ourselves right back into contention, despite our early setback, and having come so far it would be disastrous for us to blow it now”.

To get that final shot at the title next weekend, Athletic had to make sure there were no slip-ups against Whiskaz in front of our second sell-out crowd in a row at New Home Park this afternoon.

Wonderers were playing with five at the back, but even with a heavily defensive formation, Athletic almost carved the opening goal seven minutes into the game when Kyle Fair broke through and flashed the ball just past the post.

Athletic were well on top, but stuck rigidly to the game plan and were patient in their build-up play. This ultimately paid dividends and thirteen minutes proved unlucky for Wonderers as Andy Hautala flicked home a cross by Nemanja Janković to open the scoring and set the home team on the road to victory.

A one goal lead is never enough, so when Onésimo Murube turned home a super pass from Nemanja Janković the relief in the cheers from the stands was clearly audible. By the time Andy Hautala made it 3-0, the game was all but won, and only a superb save from the Wonderers keeper Ishmael Scannell denied Nemanja Janković the fourth.

Wonderers were on the rack, and half-time proved to be only a fifteen minute respite from the onslaught.

Athletic took up from where they left off, and ten minutes into the second half, Marcus Lövman could only watch in anguish as his powerful volley curled just wide of the post.

Ishmael Scannell in the Wonderers goal was, despite the scoreline, having an excellent game, and the visitors had him to thank in the seventieth minute when he dived spectacularly to turn José Eransus’ net-bound effort away for a corner.

This proved to be the final goalmouth action as with Athletic dictating play, the game fizzled out with the home side playing keep-ball.

Speaking afterwards after picking up another man of the match award, two-goal hero Andy Hautala said, “This could have been a tricky match for us, but we got the early goals and that more or less settled the match”.

He continued, “The atmosphere was absolutely electric again, and the alterations to the ground have certainly improved it considerably. The roar when we opened the scoring was absolutely deafening, and must be quite intimidating for visiting players”.

When asked about next weekend’s title showdown, he said, “I’ve got to be honest and say that my own thoughts started to drift towards it late in the second half. It’s a huge game for both sides, but we’ll be travelling with this magnificent support roaring us on, and I know it’s a cliché but they really are our twelfth man. We screwed up the opener, and it’s up to us to pay them back for their unwavering support with a win next Saturday”.