STRIKE partners Dale Hodge and Keanu Cooper have chalked up 30 goals between them before Christmas for all-conquering AFC Ludlow.

The prolific duo both hit the target last weekend in a battling 2-1 home win over Shenstone Pathfinders that stretched AFC’s lead at the head of the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One table to 12 points.

Hodge now has 19 goals to his name this season and Cooper 11 - and Dave Cooper's men are sitting pretty with plenty to look forward to in 2016.

With much of the Division One programme falling foul of the weather, Ludlow took advantage of their 3G pitch to string together a third straight home league win, though they had to defend stoutly in a wind-ruined second half.?In the end they were indebted to a superb double save from goalkeeper Ian Havard five minutes from time for preserving their lead as Shenstone made maximum use of the conditions.

Ludlow, without the suspended Luke Hicks, were quick out of the blocks and scored twice in quick succession midway through an opening period they dominated. Hodge got the first in the 18th minute and then played his part in the second, crossing for fellow marksman Cooper to out-muscle a defender to score after good work from both Steve Brotherwood and Kieran Dovey.

AFC could have doubled their lead before the break, but they twice had goals harshly disallowed. First Cooper was denied and then Jamie Edwards had what boss Dave Cooper said would have been a possible goal-of-the-season candidate ruled out after a flowing ten-pass move.

Keanu Cooper was withdrawn from the action after a nasty challenge that should have been a penalty left him with an ankle injury and Ludlow had to defend in numbers as they struggled to get out of their own half as they played into the stiff wind in the second period.

Havard put his hand up to take the blame when the visitors pulled a goal back but the Ludlow keeper redeemed himself late on with a terrific double save.

Jamie Hammonds was Ludlow’s star performer while Keanu Cooper also had an impressive first 45 minutes.

Boss Cooper said: “Shenstone are a decent outfit but we blew them away in the first half and should have been out of sight. But the conditions in the second half were horrendous and we defended really well.”

Ludlow play their final game of 2015 at lowly Worcester Raiders this weekend in a rearranged fixture. Neither Jamie Edwards nor Jamie Hammonds are available but Luke Hicks is back after a one-match ban.