PENGUIN believe they will cope with promotion to the Kent-Sussex Regional. They took a major step closer with this outcome on Saturday against their nearest title rivals which keeps the three points clear at the top.

Manager Dave Thompson was certain: "We do want to go up. We'll be prepared this time. We have the planning already in place to make sure we stay up."

Still unbeaten, Penguin had the look of champions when they created the greater possession on Saturday and were driven forward by midfielders, the tigerish Mark Tyler and two-goal skipper Dave Matthews.

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M&B's Brando Hanley converted the first and fourth of their six short corners in the match. They opened the scoring in the first half, then equalised late in the second and an exciting finish ensued with both sides seeking a winner.

Matthews, a driving, all-action example setter, operated on the right, taking on defenders outside and cutting inside to fire penetrating passes to his front men. And he was a lethal danger in front of goal.

After firing wide twice in the first half, he equalised unexpectedly with a solo finish on the reverse stick from an acute angle which spun in off the far post to M&B keeper Simon Lush's right.

Then Matthews crashed in Penguin's fifth short corner of, also, their six, and gave them the lead.

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Defender Gavin Ford made a diving goalline stop to prevent a 2-1 M&B lead from a short corner after the final whistle of the first half. Jon Miles, just 17, twice came off the bench to pose the Royals problems with his readiness to take on defenders at pace. His 40-yard run, challenging four defenders, brought the short corner that led to another, which Matthews converted.

But Penguin needed two late saves from Chris Witham from Hanley's waspish strikes.

Matthews was bleeding from cuts and scrapes and still in the shirt, torn down the seam under his right armpit, that for a year he has doggedly and superstitiously refused to mend. Now 27, he's in his 12th year at Penguin, his third as captain and he wants to follow Jon Rogers' footsteps in leading a Penguin team into the Regional.

He said afterwards: "We got the point we wanted and I've never seem so many here watching one of our games. They gave us senior umpires for this match and that ensured the game was played properly (One caution card, for M&B midfielder Luke Meakins].

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"Our attitude in the team is pleasing. We're always playing with 11 men and that's been part of our improvement this season."

PENGUIN: Witham; Best, Ramirez, Ford; D. Matthews, G.Matthews (cousin), Tyler, Knight; Watkins, Warren, Wilkinson. Subs: Melvin, Miles, Steenberg.

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