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Leaders Town fire in nine
12:11pm Friday 15th February 2013 in Football
ON-FIRE Ledbury Town cemented their place at the top of West Midlands Football League Division Two with a crushing 9-1 win over Red Star Alma.
Chris Powell and Phil Preedy’s men did big favours to their already impressive goal difference, which now reads 54 in credit, helped by five in one afternoon from Jamie Welch.
Ledbury are three points and 26 goals clear of Newport Town at the top although the Shropshire side have two games in hand.
The Herefordshire outfit continue their promising campaign at Oldbury-based Sikh Hunters tomorrow and Stafford side Riverway the following Saturday (both 2.30pm).
The New Street hosts rammed in three goals in the first seven minutes against hapless Alma whose task was made more difficult with the exit of injured goalkeeper Dale Hendy.
In muddy conditions, Ledbury took full advantage of playing downhill when Dan Herbert lobbed Hendy on two minutes and Tom Boyle finished off Welch’s fine assist.
A free-kick from Boyle led to a frantic scramble with Craig Kitchener forcing the third goal home.
Then Hendy hit the ground awkwardly and Herbert nobly chose to kick the ball away rather than find the net.
A superb ball from Welch allowed James Febery to beat the substitute keeper on 20 minutes before Ledbury lost Scott Roberts to a back injury.
Welch then took over the scoring mantle, firing in an eight-minute hat-trick in the lead-up to half-time.
He netted his first in the 38th minute, courtesy of an unfortunate error from the new keeper.
A combination of Herbert and Neil Gardiner allowed Welch to nod in his second and the striker completed his treble in injury-time with another header.
In between, Ian Merrick cleared off the line from Alma’s Craig Smallman.
Welch sprinted through a beleaguered defence in the 52nd minute to drill home Ledbury’s eighth goal.
Goalkeeper Lewis Skyers stopped a free-kick but then brought down Ashley Brown only to save the resulting penalty.
A Welch strike then sailed through the keeper’s legs to gift Town a remarkable ninth goal.
But a series of saves from Skyers kept determined Alma at bay before Smallman’s fine cross-shot put them on the scoresheet.