Anlaby battled there way across rush hour traffic to face an unbeaten Kinloss Bombers for the first time this season with the title race now looking like a straight battle between the two teams.
With Kinloss arriving early and looking determined Anlaby had to be switched on from the referees first whistle, something that has not always been the case this season. The small pitch at Kinloss seemed to suit the home teams long ball style but a couple of early ‘bombs’ were easily diffused by Ji Leonard and Owen Fletcher at the back. At the weekend Alfie Sumpton showed signs of returning to the form that has produced 36 goals so far this season and after five minutes he turned a half chance into superb goal. There looked no danger when a long free kick ran through to the Kinloss keeper but when he fumbled it, Alfie latched onto it and from a tight angle he lobbed the keeper and it dropped into the far corner.
Kinloss showed they were not going to give up their unbeaten record easily and came close soon after when a cross/shot glanced the Anlaby cross bar with Renaldas Sokolovas (sponsored by Smart Water) beaten. After 12 minutes Anlaby extended their lead with some great passing through the centre of the Kinloss defence resulting in the inspirational Jack Mortimer slipping in Sumpton who finished superbly into the far corner. The rest of the half was end to end but it always looked like Anlaby would extend their lead and this proved the case just before half time when a Fletcher corner was not cleared and Sumpton reacted quickest to hammer home for his hat-trick.
Kinloss were cleared rattled and the contrast between the two teams as they walked off at half time was clear to see. Anlaby knew that Kinloss would not give up their unbeaten record without a fight and so the second half proved, the increased intensity and aggression from Kinloss had to be matched by Anlaby and with Jack ‘Ginge’ Mortimer a giant in the middle of the park, forward Alfie Sumpton covering every inch of the pitch, and Ji Leonard a rock at the back Anlaby were up to the challenge. Adrian King came close to extending the lead when he latched onto a cross and his glancing header went inches wide but it was Kinloss who scored next when a long ball was collected by the pacey forward and he slotted home calmly. There was no panic from Anlaby as they looked to hit back and a 25yd free kick from Sumpton was superbly headed off the line. With less than 10 minutes to go Anlaby restored their 3 goal cushion when another Fletcher corner caused havoc in the Kinloss defence and Sumpton latched onto the loose ball to smash home his 40th goal of the season to seal the game for Anlaby.
Anlaby had waited a long time to play this game after several cancellations, but a superb team performance from 1 to 15 meant that their title dream was still alive although there no room for complacancy with 4 tricky games to go.
Man of the Match: Ji Leonard (but could have been anyone)