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Toolstation NCEL Match Review 2017/18 #71
22nd April, 2018
It was the full range of emotions in Toolstation NCEL Division One in midweek as Knaresborough Town were confirmed as champions on the same night that Retford United's relegation was also rubber-stamped.
They were involved in two of fifteen league and League Cup games that were played on Wednesday and Thursday evening in very warm conditions, a complete contrast to the constantly wet weather experienced over recent months.
Knaresborough knew that a point at FC Bolsover would be enough for them to lift the title with four games to spare and when Stephen Bromley struck twice in quick succession with around a quarter-of-an-hour remaining they knew the job had been completed even though Callam Lytham grabbed a late consolation in a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
Full-time sparked massive celebrations and messages of congratulations came from other clubs across the NCEL as there is no doubt that Knaresborough have fully deserved the trophy.
For Retford, though, it was an evening that ended in misery as they were beaten 2-0 at Dronfield Town to make it impossible for them to finish outside of the bottom two.
The Badgers needed wins from both of their final games but Ryan Ruddiforth put the hosts ahead midway through the first half and their victory was completed with a second eight minutes from time by Joseph Butler.
Brigg Town are the other side in the relegation zone and they moved to within two points of safety after they fought back for a draw at home to play-off chasing Hallam who had taken a 2-0 lead by the hour mark through a Mitchell Dunne double.
Scott Neary gave the home side hope when he pulled one back on 67 and then an own goal levelled matters and it stayed that way for a 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns.
A 3-0 home defeat for Worsbrough Bridge Athletic leaves them precariously perched just above the drop zone, Jason Stokes, Jordan Buckham and Lee Holmes with the goals that move Rossington Main up to twelfth.
At the top end of the table, the chase for who joins Knaresborough in automatic promotion continues to hot up with Grimsby Borough climbing up to third to move within five points of second-placed Eccleshill United courtesy of a dramatic 3-2 victory at Selby Town.
The Robins raced into a 2-0 interval lead through Chris Bilton and Gary Collier as they looked for a win in their bid for a top six finish but Jack Debnam halved the deficit on 50 before Jack Bradbury made it 2-2 with eleven minutes remaining.
Then, as the game went into stoppage time, Joshua Venney popped up with a vital third for the visitors that moves them a point ahead of Yorkshire Amateur and Shirebrook Town.
Eighth-placed Campion knew only a win would do to keep their admittedly slim hopes of a play-off place going and they kept their end of the bargain as a Daniel Brown brace, added to by goals from Graham Hall and Devonte Morton, ensured a 4-0 home victory over Nostell Miners Welfare.
And, Swallownest keep themselves in eleventh spot after a 3-1 win at the expense of visitors Ollerton Town.
The promotion and relegation battles in the Premier Division are not much clearer after, amazingly, six of the seven matches played on Wednesday and Thursday ended in draws.
Pontefract Collieries were held 0-0 at home by Barton Town and the Colls are now seven points behind leaders AFC Mansfield with four games in hand.
All of the bottom five picked up a point apiece with two of them facing off at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium as Clipstone hosted Hall Road Rangers.
Christopher Spinks netted twice as Rangers looked for a win that would take them out of the drop zone but Chanju Mphande equalled that feat as the Cobras picked up their first home point of the season in a 2-2 draw and doubled their tally for the season.
Next-to-bottom Parkgate remain eight points away from survival after they drew 2-2 at Garforth Town having taken an early lead through Nathan Joynes.
Lee Turner and Mark Simpson both struck within the opening five minutes of the second half to put the home side ahead but Joynes' second ensured the spoils were shared.
An injury-time equaliser from Shane Hamilton means Harrogate Railway Athletic remain just above the dotted line following their 2-2 home draw with Penistone Church who stay seventh after an 85th minute penalty from Nathan Keightley had seemingly given the visitors the victory.
There were no goals in the match between eighteenth-placed Athersley Recreation and Hemsworth Miners Welfare who stay sixth and four were shared in Liversedge's trip to Staveley Miners Welfare, Kristijan Boskovski with a last gasp leveller for the visitors.
The only Premier Division winners were Rainworth Miners Welfare who, thanks to goals from Matthew Sykes, Kyle Jordan, Ross Goodwin and Charlie Dawes earned them a comfortable 4-0 victory at Worksop Town.
And, Bridlington Town are the first team through to the Semi-Finals of this season's League Cup but the Premier Division side were pushed all the way by their Division One hosts, Shirebrook Town.
The Seasiders took the lead on six minutes through Jake Day but a double for Kieran Watson that took him to fifty goals for the season gave the home side a half-time lead.
A Tom Cooke own goal on the hour meant the game went into extra-time with Bridlington sneaking through 3-2 thanks to Gary Bradshaw's strike.
Photo: Stephen Bromley strikes home his second in Knaresborough Town's 2-1 win at FC Bolsover that confirms them as Toolstation NCEL Division One champions. (Picture: Craig Dinsdale)