Bradford Park Avenue will join Chester FC in the Blue Square Bet North next season after defeating FC United of Manchester in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division Play-Off Final.
A Tom Greaves goal in the last minute of extra time gave Avenue a narrow 1-0 victory in yesterday’s Roses clash. It spelt a second successive Play-Off Final defeat for FC United and heartbreak for their fans.
With the promotion of Bradford, the likely composition of the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division for 2012/13 has become slightly clearer. Blyth Spartans and Eastwood Town are likely to be relegated to the league from the Blue Square Bet North. Meanwhile, Northwich Victoria have been demoted a level alongside relegated Burscough, Mickleover Sports and Chasetown. They look set to be replaced by the promotion of AFC Fylde and Witton Albion from Division 1 North and Grantham Town and Ilkeston from Division 1 South.
Troubled former Football League side Darlington are rumoured to be dropping past the Premier Division into the Evo-Stik NPL Division 1 North which could signal a reprieve for Frickley Athletic who finished fourth from bottom. Alternatively, Hemel Hempsted Town of the Southern Premier could possibly be reprieved as they have a better playing record than Frickley at the same level of the pyramid (step 3). This would lead to Barwell (or even Redditch United) being shunted northwards from the Southern Premier.
This would mean the constitution of the division for 2012/13 could be:
AFC Fylde, Ashton United, Blyth Spartans, Buxton, Chorley, Eastwood Town, FC United of Manchester, Frickley Athletic (or Barwell or Redditch United?), Grantham Town, Hednesford Town, Ilkeston, Kendal Town, Marine, Matlock Town, Nantwich Town, North Ferriby United, Rushall Olympic, Stafford Rangers, Stocksbridge Park Steels, Whitby Town, Witton Albion, Worksop Town.
Of course, this is all conjecture. The FA Leagues committee will be meeting within the next fortnight to make their recommendations but the line-up won’t be ratified until the AGM of the Northern Premier League on 16th June.