Nothing less than a win will do, says Hyde Park manager
Head-to-head: Hyde Park and Republic of Mancunia are in pole position
Philip Braham, manager of Hyde Park Rovers, has described Sunday's meeting with Manchester Maccabi 3rd as a must-win. The student team from Leeds go into their final league game of the season knowing that anything less than three points would end their title dream.
Braham said: "It is a six-pointer. We're going to give it our all. Nothing less than a win will do. It is the biggest game of our season. It's like a cup final."
Hyde Park go into the game in superb form having scored an improbable 23 goals in their last three games and conceding just twice. They have not lost in the league since the middle of November.
Strikes from Oli Grant, Jason Wise and Braham wrapped up a 3-1 victory at Westdene 1st on Sunday.
Like title rivals Republic of Mancunia, Hyde Park are unbeaten in 11 games whilst Manchester won their first 11 games of the season. It was their 3-1 defeat to Sporting which knocked the wheels off what seemed an inevitable march towards the title. A stunning 5-1 loss at Oakhill confirmed that the race to the finish would be a three-way battle, and manager Martin Simons recognises that his team need to rediscover their ruthless streak.
"We're not playing well at the moment and unless we buck our ideas up we will fall by the wayside. We've had one or two injuries but we have been performing very averagely over the last few weeks. We've been missing chances which we weren't earlier in the season."
Maccabi will need to be at their best defensively as well, as Hyde Park are in ruthless form of their own, with Grant and David Cohen's pace and finishing firing them to the top of the table. Simons is looking to forwards Josh Hayes and Max Rose in the hope they can rediscover top form.
Manchester were beaten 3-2 by a resurgent South Manchester 2nd. Joey Lazare, Aaron Seale and Simon Mattison were the marksmen for Neil Collins' troops.
With the title race reaching a thrilling finale, Hyde Park have played two more games than Republic, who lie just two points behind. With Manchester Maccabi a further two points adrift, Hyde Park must win on Sunday if they are to remain in contention. With a game against Republic still to come, Maccabi can still afford to drop points and claim the title, so whilst this Sunday's clash is unlikely to decide who wins the league, anything less than a win for home team could see the Leeds outfit's title hopes take a near terminal blow, despite their recent form.