CHAMPIONS! - Eastwood CFC win title showdown and secure promotion

Eastwood lift the CML South trophy.
Eastwood lift the CML South trophy.

Eastwood Community FC are champions of the CML South after beating Sherwood Colliery 4-1 in a winner-takes-all title showdown on Saturday.

The visitors were in front inside 14 seconds and never looked back as they became the first team to beat Sherwood this season, winning their 18th game in a row in the process.

For the hosts, it proved one hurdle too many to overcome as they too sought their 18th win in a row, Eastwood eventually finishing three points clear.

The Red Badgers were buoyant from the whistle and sure enough scored with the first attack of the game. Kaylum Mitchell burst forward and got to the byline and when he pulled the ball back, Joe Butler was on hand to hammer it into the roof of the net and give his side the perfect start.

That left the hosts shell-shocked and they never recovered in front of a crowd of over 700.

Eastwood's next attack brought their second goal on 14 minutes and it was all down to Butler's superb solo run which took him past three players and into the penalty area where he was brought to ground. Chay Betteridge stepped up to take the spot-kick and despite a firm hand from goalkeeper Liam Kerry the ball found the net.

Eastwood celebrate after the final whistle.

Eastwood celebrate after the final whistle.

Sherwood found a slight footing in the game after that, at this point needing three goals to win the title, and they got one of them on 22 minutes when Eastwood keeper Jack Walker punched a cross clear as far as Brad Wells and he returned it back towards goal and into the corner of the net.

But the hosts weren't able to kick on from their goal and it was Eastwood who would score again on the half-hour mark, and once again it was from the penalty spot. This time it was Jack James who carried the ball into the area only to be upended. Betteridge took the kick once again and this time fired low past Kerry to make it 3-1.

Eastwood's attacking play was dynamic and direct and Sherwood struggle to cope as they were blown away in the first half. The fourth goal came on 35 minutes and it wasn't the prettiest but it sealed the title for the Red Badgers. A corner wasn't dealt with well by the defence and after Butler had seen a header cleared off the line, Danny Hayes got his head to the ball too and this time it nestled in the net and Eastwood's work was done before half-time had arrived.

Sherwood needed goals back quickly in the second-half but they never came, the home side's stuffing thoroughly knocked out by their first-half battering, and they failed to seriously test Walker for much of the remainder of the game.

He saved from a Wells header on 67 minutes, then Shaun Smith's header found the crossbar soon afterwards. Sherwood's best chance to reduce the arrears came with six minutes to go when they were awarded the third penalty of the game, but Keenan Leeds saw his effort saved well by Walker low to his left, and that would be the last of the action as the whistle blew to signal Eastwood's title success and promotion to the East Midlands Counties League.

More photos to follow.