Playford worked hard to field two teams under mounting pressure of injuries and availability. Both teams were in their games until the very end. The first team conceding a third in the 89th minute whilst chasing an equaliser. The Reserves conceding a late fifth whilst doing the same.
After only moments Playford were a goal behind and after ten minutes two down when a cross from the left eluded Berry in the Playford goal. On twenty minutes Lee Andrews pounced on a mistake by the Rushmere defence. He picked up the loose ball and fired a low shot past the goalkeeper from just outside the box.
Due to injury Karl Ewer was replaced by Rhys Thompson for his first appearance since January.
Francis pulled another back, Andrews hit a long ball forward, it fell invitingly for Francis in the box and with the goalkeeper closing him down he slotted it in. Sadly Rushmere regained their two-goal cushion before half time.
Byron Stretton worked an opening and drove a low cross across the box and Andrews was able to find the cose range finish. This goal meant that an equaliser for Playford would secure the league title and as such set up a frantic last 20 minutes.
Despite pressure from Playford it wasn't going their way. With time virtually up Barrett crossed from the right, it found its way to Francis at the back post. Unmarked, he had a great opportunity but couldn't quite connect enough to send his header goalwards. As Playford continued to press men forwards Rushmere scored a breakaway fifth.
Max Pryke and Leon Moye were given starts and Nico Williams and Chris Jones were on the bench having been promoted from the Reserves. Playford started brightly, Owen Hammond broke into the box and was brought down for a penalty with only a minute on the clock. He chose to take the penalty himself but shot over.
From a Pauls corner Samuel clashed heads with Pryke and had to leave the field with a suspected broken nose. On the quarter of an hour mark Hammond found Kieran Daniels from a throw in. Kieran moved into the penalty but when he tried to lob the onrushing goalkeeper the attempt went just over the bar.
Pauls started to get into the game and began threatening, getting behind the righ back and driving a low cross that was met and fired just wide. Two miinutes later the left back, Beaton, cut inside and force Juster into a good diving save.
Moye, for the second game in a row, had to retire due to a thigh injury he was replaced by Williams and the team was shuffled to accomodate the change.
Four minutes before half time and Pauls took the lead, getting behind the left back a low cross was met in the penalty area and finished well. And a minute before time Playford conceded a penalty when Juster failed to take the ball from a strikers feet and they collided. The penalty was converted.
Ten minutes in the second half and Playford produced one of their best moves. Hammond again busy, found Jordan Daniels he made gorund into the penalty area, his shot was saved low by 'keeper but Christian Daniels had made ground into the area and was able to sweep the rebound into the net. Three minutes later Ash King was fould on the edge of the box. He took the kick himself and drew a good save from the golakeeper.
Pauls and Playford traded chances for the last half an hour and chasing an equaliser Playford left one too many gaps in behind and Pauls were able capitalise in the 89th minute and make the game safe at 3-1.
Whilst neither team are out of the title races, the Firsts are in a weaker position. They must win in two weeks against Raydon but have to hope that Rushmere Lions lose to Laxfield this Sunday. In addition Pauls must drop at least two points against either Laxfield or Raydon.
The Reserves have a chance to immediately put things right this Sunday against Claydon. The title is still in their hands, a win will see them secure the division. A draw will not be good enough, unless Rushmere & Diamonds lose to either Kesgrave Kestrels or Trinity, as Rushmere have a stronger goal difference.