For the first time since 2008 the Kenna title race is mildly interesting.
Having led the league since 17 September – that’s 29 weeks – Young Boys are trying hard to fluff their lines.
Chasers Walthamstow Reds have hit form at the tail end of the season, which this week saw them shave some points from the leaders and earn the manager a juicy Narcozep Cup final place against fellow Kenna committee member and league co-founder the Pikey Scum manager.
Young Boys started the week 49 points ahead, which was immediately cut last Tuesday night when Andros Townsend was the only player of the two sides to start.
On Wednesday, Reds cut the lead further when Matteo Darmian got the defender’s Shanghai of a clean sheet, a goal and an assist (marred by a yellow card) and Philippe Coutinho scored. Once lauded, John Stones had a shocker.
In response, a Chris Smalling clean sheet was the highlight for Young Boys, as Romelu Lukaku and Emmanuel Emenike continued their dry spells, and Jordan Ibe failed to make an impact as a sub.
Mesut Özil’s early summer holiday was again in evidence on Thursday. He could only turn up for Reds. Meanwhile, Young Boys picked up a clean sheet from Nacho Monreal.
Injury to Reds striker Jonathan Walters meant Saturday didn’t get going in the battle until after the lunchtime fixture. Townsend was on hand with an assist for Reds, who edged the afternoon session over Young Boys: Ibe and Marc Pugh made appearances of sorts and Fraser Forster twice picked the ball out of his net.
It all fell apart for Young Boys on Saturday evening. Inside 20 minutes Smalling scored an own goal and Lukaku missed a penalty. The Kenna Whatsapp group lit up.
Things were rosier for the league leaders on Sunday. Riyad Mahrez pounced and Monreal picked up a clean sheet, as did Kasper Schmeichel for Reds. Jermaine Defoe failed to do more than appear for the chasers. Özil flip-flopped around.
Finally, Monday night saw Young Boys’ second own goal of the week. Perpetrator Craig Dawson made amends with a goal at the other end, but it was a night the Young Boys manager will probably want to forget.
After all that, Reds only managed to take three points from Young Boys’ lead, pegging it back to 46.
The Reds manager will have to conjure a lot more from his side in the last three weeks of the season to be in with the chance of a maiden double. After 11 years without a trophy, the Narcozep Cup could be enough.
Narcozep Cup semi final second leg results
Final on 17 May: Walthamstow Reds v Pikey Scum
Kenna table – week 34
Full scores available from The Rub.
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