Non-League round-up: Hayes & Yeading on the brink

first_imgThe penultimate weekend of the season looms for all of our local sides and for some it could decide which division they end up playing in next year.Defeat to Mansfield Town at Kingfield in their last match has left Hayes & Yeading United needing to win at Lincoln City on Saturday if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Blue Square Bet Premier.It looks like a big ask though as the Imps, who include former Hayes and QPR striker Richard Pacquette in their squad, recently beat Nas Bashir’s side in the reverse fixture and held league champions Fleetwood Town to a 2-2 draw last time out.Even if they do win, it may not be enough as the gap between themselves and Newport County is six points, meaning a draw for the Welsh club at home to Alfreton Town will be enough to keep them up and send Hayes down.If they do end up in the Blue Square Bet South next season, one side hoping to play them will be local rivals Hampton & Richmond Borough.However, the chances of this happening have diminished over the last week as the Beavers have slipped to defeats against Eastbourne Borough and Salisbury City.The results have left in them in the bottom three, two points adrift of Havant & Waterlooville but with a crucial game in hand.Saturday’s game at the Beveree against Welling United pits them against one of the better teams in the division who have already confirmed their place in the play-offs with two games still to go.The Wings’ record against Hampton is decent having not lost in their last six meetings. Their overall league form though is a little more patchy having only won two of their last five, so there is hope for the hosts.In the Ryman Premier it has been an excellent week for Wealdstone, who edged 2-1 past title challengers AFC Hornchurch at Grosvenor Vale before travelling to already relegated Tooting & Mitcham United on Tuesday and thrashing them 6-0.The two wins have lifted them to sixth – just one point off the play-off places with a game in hand on Lewes, who they need to catch.Saturday’s match at Metropolitan Police appears on paper to be a fairly routine one. Although their hosts were league leaders at one point, their form has drifted away and four defeats in their previous five games has left them in 11th.With the three teams immediately below them all within a win of catching up there will be no room for complacency.One of those team’s are Gary McCann’s Hendon who have also enjoyed a fruitful few days.A 2-1 win over Kingstonian at Vale Farm on Saturday kept their promotion hopes alive and boosted them ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting with the same team in the London Senior Cup final at Metropolitan Police’s Imber Court ground.Goals from Darren Currie and Jack Mazzone saw the Greens win 2-0 as they won the trophy for the fourth time in their history.On Saturday they play host to Tooting & Mitcham and will hope to try and replicate Wealdstone’s midweek performance over the demoralised south London club.In fact, anything less than a win will leave them with a mountain to climb especially if Lewes triumph – a defeat for Hendon in this scenario will end their promotion ambitions.Another club facing a big weekend are Harrow Borough. After the highs of making the play-offs last season, Boro have returned to a sadly rather more familiar relegation dogfight.A win over fellow strugglers Hastings United last weekend would have pretty much secured safety but somehow they managed to lose 3-1 to a team who hadn’t won in five and got sucked right back into the mire.Dave Anderson’s team currently sit three points and two places above the relegation zone so appear to have a fighting chance. However, their run-in is challenging and it begins with a home match against AFC Hornchurch.If fellow strugglers Leatherhead lose at home to Kingstonian on Saturday, Boro will only need to draw this match to stay up and they managed to do that the last time the sides met in January. Whatever happens, it is sure to be a tense afternoon at Earlsmead.All Premier League and Football League season-ticket holders get in for half price at all our local non-league clubs’ home league games. Check their websites for details.Advertising on West London SportFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2014: Five key players from France

first_imgKarim Benzema and Franck Ribery will be crucial for France in the World CupSeveral members of the France team that went on strike in training four years ago will be at the World Cup in Brazil, including mainstays Franck Ribery and Hugo Lloris.But France coach Didier Deschamps has freshened up an aging squad and youngsters like 21-year-old Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba will be eager to make an impression on the world stage.Karim Benzema, who was left out of the squad for the World Cup in South Africa four years ago, will get his chance to shine after a disappointing European Championship in 2012, and Blaise Matuidi has become a key player thanks to his boundless stamina and tenacious tackling.Here are five players to watch:KARIM BENZEMAAfter failing to score in the last two European Championships, and missing out on the 2010 World Cup, this is Karim Benzema’s big chance to shine on the world stage.In the space of a few months, he has gone from losing his form and confidence to becoming one of the most lethal strikers in Europe.It has been some turnaround from Benzema, who lost his place in the France team to Olivier Giroud last year after a dismal run of 15 international games without a goal. Since the turn of the year, the 26-year-old Benzema has scored freely for Real Madrid and he even outshone Cristiano Ronaldo in the 4-3 loss to Barcelona on March 23, scoring two clinical goals.FRANCK RIBERYWhen Benzema was struggling for form and goals, France turned to Franck Ribery.Ribery’s international career started brilliantly when, as an unknown, he was catapulted into the side that reached the 2006 World Cup final.It was all downhill from there with a knee injury against Italy at Euro 2008 and a three-match ban from the French federation after the 2010 World Cup, when he was perceived to be one of the ringleaders of a training ground strike.After two difficult years, the Bayern Munich winger got the fans firmly back on his side with some outstanding performances.With 81 appearances and 16 goals, he remains France’s most dangerous player.HUGO LLORISNot many goalkeepers are international captains, especially not the silent ones. But, despite his mild-mannered demeanor and soft voice, Hugo Lloris has nonetheless imposed himself as a leader on the field through his faultless attitude and consistent performances.The Tottenham goalkeeper has been firmly installed as France’s No. 1 since the last World Cup and with 55 international appearances at the age of 27, he is set to win more than 100 caps for his country.Quick off his line, solid in the air on corners and free kicks, and with exceptional reflexes as well as good feet, Lloris is a complete ‘keeper.BLAISE MATUIDIDefensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi is one of the most valuable members of the France team.A tireless runner with tremendous stamina, he is also a tenacious tackler and a careful passer. He rarely does anything flashy, but his ability to keep things simple has proved invaluable for French champion Paris Saint-Germain and the national team over the past two seasons.The 26-year-old Matuidi made only four appearances in two years under former France coach Laurent Blanc. He has already been picked 16 times by Didier Deschamps, France’s former captain, who perhaps sees something of himself in the way Matuidi sacrifices himself for the team.PAUL POGBAFrance coach Didier Deschamps gave Paul Pogba a huge vote of confidence when he thrust him into the starting lineup against world champion Spain in a crucial World Cup qualifier last March.It was only the 21-year-old Pogba’s second international appearance, but Deschamps thought he was ready to face the best midfield in the world.Although Pogba got sent off for a clumsy foul on Xavi Hernandez, the experience served him well and he has not been out of the side since.His graceful, athletic running, solid tackling and excellent passing are allied to a brilliant eye for goal. Pogba has scored some superb long-distance goals for Juventus and Deschamps is counting on him to show his attacking flair in Brazil.last_img read more