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Toolstation NCEL Match Review 2017/18 #66
8th April, 2018
AFC Mansfield won their top-three clash to keep their advantage at the top of the Premier Division at eight points whilst Division One leaders Knaresborough Town secured promotion on a busy Saturday of Toolstation NCEL action.
It was the first time that a full fixture list was able to be played in the competition since the 13th of January as the weather finally improved and became more usual to the time of year.
Mansfield's home clash with third-placed Pickering Town was undoubtedly the match of the day in the top flight and it was the home side who ultimately prevailed even though they fell behind to a 23rd minute goal from Ryan Blott.
Connor Smythe restored parity before the interval and then Oliver Fearon's winner - his 43rd of the season, keeping him one ahead of Blott - came with eighteen minutes remaining as the Bulls open up an eleven point gap with the Pikes in the chase for a top two finish.
Pontefract Collieries kept up their pursuit of the leaders in second spot with a 2-0 home win over Harrogate Railway Athletic, goals either side of half-time from Mark Whitehouse and Eli Hey ensuring the Colls remain within touching distance of Mansfield with five games in hand.
The Rail, meanwhile, have seen the drop zone inch closer to them as they are now only two points above the trapdoor after Hall Road Rangers won 4-3 at Worksop Town.
The hosts led at the break through Lee Hill and doubled their advantage through Mitcham Husbands before Fraser Hansen and Joshua Batty twice netted for the visitors to give them the lead, Husbands' second - a penalty - made it 3-3 on 86, and then Batty completed his hat-trick with an injury-time spot-kick to grab a dramatic victory.
Rangers remain in the bottom three but have four games in hand on Railway whilst Parkgate inched a bit closer to safety with their 1-1 draw at Rainworth Miners Welfare, Andrew Fox's 71st minute penalty cancelling out a Steven Wankiewicz opener for the home side, leaving the Steelmen six points behind but with two more matches to play than Harrogate.
Elsewhere, Handsworth Parramore's hopes of a top two finish were dealt a blow as, despite a late strike from Oscar Radford, the fourth-placed Amber Parras went down 2-1 at Albion Sports, courtesy of a Daniel Facey penalty and a goal from Jamal Stewart in the first half.
There were 2-0 away wins for Penistone Church, Hemsworth Miners Welfare and Bottesford Town on a day that mostly favoured the visiting side.
Nathan Keightley and Kieran Ryan's goals for Penistone brought them to within five points of their hosts, Maltby Main, and they stay above Hemsworth who climb to seventh after their victory at Liversedge with Richard Collier and Samuel Jones getting on the scoresheet.
Bottesford strengthened their claim for a top ten finish as Declan Bacon and Bradley Hocking netted in their 2-0 win at Garforth Town who stay twelfth.
Jake Day struck five to take his season's tally to 39 as Bridlington Town thumped relegated hosts Clipstone 8-1 to move up into eighth spot, Archie Brown also adding a couple for the Seasiders.
Barton Town won 2-1 at Staveley Miners Welfare, Bill Law and Joshua Tennant with the Swans' goals, whilst Luke Robinson's injury-time equaliser shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw for Thackley at Athersley Recreation.
In Division One, congratulations to champions elect Knaresborough Town whose 1-1 home draw with second-placed Eccleshill United confirmed their promotion with six games to spare.
Stephen Bromley put them ahead in the 14th minute and, even though Antony Brown's late penalty denied them the victory, they knew at full time that they had sealed a top-two finish as Grimsby Borough, the only team who could deny them, were beaten 3-1.
A double from Aidan Day in the final twelve minutes sealed Borough's loss at Campion who stay seven points away from the play-off zone in tenth.
Knaresborough will be champions with at least four points from their remaining games and Eccleshill will be pleased with what could be a vital point as they move four away from Borough in the chase for the coveted second automatic promotion spot.
Yorkshire Amateur and Shirebrook Town, meanwhile, will be hopeful of a late say in the fight for the top two as away wins moved them to within five and six points of Eccleshill, respectively.
Four goals from Ashley Flynn saw the Ammers canter to a 7-1 win at Rossington Main, Callum Charlton, Harrison Blakey and Brice Tiani also netting whilst an own goal denied them a clean sheet.
The division's top scorer missed an early penalty for Shirebrook but Kieran Watson more than made amends as his hat-trick brought them from behind to beat hosts Swallownest 3-1.
A brace from Conor Glavin kept Glasshoughton Welfare in the play-off zone, a 2-0 victory at FC Bolsover retaining sixth place ahead of a chasing pack that is now led by Hallam.
The Sandygate side picked up their seventh straight win with a 6-0 defeat of Retford United at the Jones & Co Stadium, Mitchell Dunne with four whilst Gareth Griffiths and James Reed helped to polish off their hosts.
Liam Flanagan's second of the afternoon on 76 minutes earned Selby Town a priceless 3-2 win at East Yorkshire Carnegie to move the Robins up to eighth whilst Winterton Rangers drop to ninth, four points off the play-off zone, after a 5-0 home defeat to Nostell Miners Welfare.
Jack Owen's second-half hat-trick condemned the West Street side to defeat and Nostell leapfrog Carnegie into seventeenth.
In the battle to avoid relegation, Retford's defeat now sees them at the foot of the table after Brigg Town overtook them with late goals from Jonny Nicholls and Myles Lawman claiming a 2-0 home victory over AFC Emley.
The Zebras are now five points away from safety with Bolsover the team now just above the dotted line as Worsbrough Bridge Athletic move above them into nineteenth courtesy of a 1-1 home draw with Dronfield Town.
And, Ollerton Town were 1-0 winners over visitors Armthorpe Welfare in the day's other Division One clash.
Photo: Stephen Bromley turns to celebrate scoring the goal that sealed promotion for Division One leaders Knaresborough Town in their 1-1 home draw with second-placed Eccleshill United. (Credit: Craig Dinsdale)
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division - Garforth Town 0 Bottesford Town 2