Highridge clinch the title with a dramatic victory over Rangers
HIGHRIDGE United were crowned Bristol Division I champions in the most dramatic of fashions as they pipped their only title challengers, Downend Rangers, 2-1 on the final day.
Hosts Downend began brightly as Highridge were forced to defend well. However, the visitors eventually started to come more into the game and on 20 minutes a great save by the Downend keeper kept them out.
Not for long, though, as five minutes before the break Kane Hancock was put clear to bend the ball around the Downend keeper and give Highridge a priceless lead.
United started the second half well too, and it was not long before Rhys Hickery found himself on the edge of the box, where he beat two opponents before jubilantly extending that advantage to 2-0.
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With 15 minutes to go Downend finally got some reward as they pulled a goal back to set up a tense conclusion.
But they were unable to find even an equaliser as Highridge, led by a man-of-the-match display from Joe Brimble, ran out worthy winners, leaving their opponents contemplating what might have been as league runners-up.
Meanwhile Bristol South champions Henbury Colts completed their fixtures with a 3-1 home victory over local rivals Shirehampton Colts.
In a scrappy first period, both sides created half chances before Henbury took the lead on 35 minutes when a good team move left Lawrence Hewlett-Walker clear to score past Sam Davies in the Shire goal.
Davies made two timely interventions after that to keep the score to 1-0 at half-time, but Henbury increased their lead after the interval when Shire failed to clear a corner and Sean Heal squeezed his shot in at the near post.
Henbury should have closed the game out, but Dean Rutter and Luke Cox failed to add to their lead, while Davies also confidently dealt with two Jack Mills' attempts.
Shire did temporarily get back into the game when Oli Ward netted a fine individual goal after Colts failed to clear their lines.
But Henbury made the game safe when fine interplay between Cox and Jamie Turner resulted in Turner sliding the ball past Davies for their third goal.
Henbury were comfortable though and their delighted players were presented with trophy and medals at the end of the game by league chairman Ken Howitt.
Kieran Sargent was the man of the moment for Bristol Athletic as they clinched the League Shield trophy with a 2-0 victory over Tuffley Rovers.
For the first ten minutes, neither team were able to dominate, but then an unintentional trip by a Bristol Athletic defender on a Tuffley forward as he ran clear on goal resulted in a red card, which threatened to spoil what was becoming a great contest.
Yet within five minutes of that contentious moment the home crowd were stunned when Sargent broke through to put Athletic one up.
Tuffley fought back hard and Athletic defended valiantly to keep them at bay.
Were it not for some excellent goalkeeping by Diella Singh, the home side could have gone in at half-time in front.
However the extra Tuffley player had little effect on their comeback attempts after the break.
With time running out, the game was put beyond their reach when Sargent raced away to score his, and Bristol Athletic's, second goal.