Casuals and Pelham rounded off a good weeks work by following up their cup semi final victory with a routine win over Saffron Hawks to cement their league status for next season with still a third of the campaign to go. Hawks needed a victory to keep their relegation battle alive but have struggled with numbers over the last few weeks and that was the case again today. A dejected nine man Hawks team took the field and didn't look too up for the fight they had on their hands and it showed from kick off. Pelham came out of the blocks and looked to take advantage and it took them just five minutes to bag the first goal. A throw on in the left hand corner by Matt Boyce skipped a group of players and landed at the feet of Steve Callan. He took the ball down well but still had a lot of work to do, however managed to take on three Hawks defenders and slot the ball into the bottom corner. Pelham continued to push on after that goal and created some good chances and couldnt quite finsih them off. However the pressure continued to come from the away side and payed off once again before long. A Gavin brace corner was whipped in low and fast from the left hand side and skipped the men at the front post before finding Dan Arran on the edge of the six yard box, who stuck a leg out, got good contact and stuck the ball away to make it 2-0. From that moment on Hawks heads dropped further and it looked as though Pelham would go on to put this game to bed, however it wouldn't turn out to be as simple as that. Not only did the 2-0 lead after 10 minutes force Hawks to drop their heads but it also appeared to make Pelham complacent, as they went in to cruise mode dropping the tempo and the workrate. However they still managed to create some good chances and could easily have extended their lead through efforts from Dan Arran, Steve Callan, Jamie Richards and Dan Boyce. However they didn't go in and the rest of the first half was dominated by Pelham, parked in the Hawks half but with no more goals for it. The second half in terms of possession and chances was even more dominant than the first, However in terms of workrate and off the ball work, it was worse than the first half, and Pelham well and truly went in to cruise control. It was a strange second half in that i've never known a team to be more dominant in the game and have so much of the ball, creating so many chances but coming off the pitch feeling like we had played bad and not really put any effort in. The second half essentially turned into a training game as Hawks had given up attacking completely by this point, parking on the edge of their own area keeping it nice and tight and getting men behind the ball being impossible to break down, and thats what they turned out to be. Once again Pelham were camped in the Hawks half putting more and more pressure on the opposition creating in excess of atleast 30 chances in the second half. However the majority of Pelhams efforts were very tame and the few that werent to be fair to the keeper he was equal to all the better efforts. Pelham didnt move the ball quick enough, play with a high enough tempo or use the width of the pitch as much as they should, but at no point were they even close to being threatened, with Dan Monk not having to make one save and Hawks not even having one effort on target. However with the chances they had Pelham should have been well and truly out of site with the scoreline being in atleast double figures. However that wasn't the case and the away side ended up playing out a very routine 2-0 victory to seal Pelhams league status and pretty much condemn both Manuden Reserves and Saffron Hawks to relegation. Not the most vintage of performances today boys but it always ends up being harder playing against less men. Complacency kicks in and that appeared to be the case, especially after racing into a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes. However the most important thing is the win which caps off a good weeks work with a cup final looming and Division One status for next season. Four league games left and its very tight between the other six teams so lets push on now and see what damage we can do and how high we can finish. Although it wasnt the best performance today there were still quite a few positives, one of them being todays man of the match. He was very close to getting it last week was it not for an epic performance from Mark Jolley but Steve Willett slotting in at centre back was solid again today. Snuffed out every long ball they tried to play through to their striker who has a fair bit about him and i think a big part of the fact that Dan Monk had very little to do today was down to him. Good win today boys and next week is away vs Sawbridgeworth Town in the league. Lets get another good turnout and see if we can get one over on them and start to climb this table that little bit more. COYCAP!