MATCH VERDICT: Half-century for Pinchbeck United
What a wonderful year for Pinchbeck United.
History was made when the Knights secured promotion and they are guaranteed top spot for the start of 2018.
Another win in the final home game on the calendar took the points tally past the half-century mark.
Until the midway stage of the second half on Friday night, Pinchbeck seemed pretty happy to hold on with a one-goal advantage.
But they stepped it up to make it more comfortable and show why it’s going to be very difficult to stop them in the championship race.
Dan Swan twice kept out Daniel Barker and those saves proved crucial as Pinchbeck took control in between.
Andrew Tidswell tapped in the opening goal after his flick from Chris Shipley’s long-range effort had been pushed out by Aaron Bellairs.
Tidswell’s free-kick was nodded over by Ollie Maltby just past the hour mark.
But Josh Smith doubled the lead – beating Bellairs at the second attempt – and the result was not in doubt.
Maltby smashed home via the inside of the post from Liam Ogden’s pass to make it 3-0.
Four minutes later, James Gordon’s left-footed cross from the right wing was met by Smith’s header and the ball rolled beyond Bellairs.
The clean sheet went in the final minute, though, when referee Shaun Gray awarded a penalty – even though his view of the incident came from the centre circle.
Ashley Murrell picked up a yellow card and Swan could not stop Ben Porter’s spot-kick.
But it was too little, too late for Blackstones against the league leaders.
4-1-4-1: Swan 7; Gordon 7, Murrell 7, Jack Smith 7, Wright 7; Shipley 7 (sub Buzas 62 mins, 6); Josh Smith 8, Maltby 7, Tidswell 7, Sergeant 7 (sub Ogden 67 mins, 7); Dunn 7 (sub Shackleton 77 mins). Subs not used: Edwards, Brooks.
4-2-3-1: Bellairs; Easson, Pell, Simpson, Bates; Boome, Butler (sub Peasgood 75 mins); Edmondson (sub Carter 56 mins), Porter, Barker (sub Chambers 83 mins); Clarke.
Tidswell (19 mins, 1-0); Josh Smith (67 mins, 2-0); Maltby (77 mins, 3-0); Josh Smith (81 mins, 4-0); Porter pen (90 mins, 4-1).
Shipley, Porter, Buzas, Murrell (fouls).
Josh Smith – second-half double made it more comfortable for the league leaders.