Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division Round Up(Game Day Thirty-Five)

We round up another full week of Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division action.

It was another full round of fixtures in the NPL Premier Division as all 24 teams were in action. That was despite the poor weather in the lead up to the weekend, with 2 games requiring pitch inspections before they could go ahead. All 12 fixtures did eventually go ahead, with some big results at both the top and bottom of the league. We start our round up with the play off chasers:

Top 5 switches again

Workington moved back into the top 5 after they beat 3rd placed Stourbridge 3-1 at Borough Park. Despite the best efforts of the weather, a 12:30pm pitch inspection passed the surface playable and the Reds will be glad it was. 2 goals shortly before half time from Dave Symington and Sam Joel put Workington 2-0 and Joel added a 3rd on 55 minutes. A Luke Benbow penalty reduced the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to deny the Reds a win that sees them move up to 5th. Stourbridge stay 3rd, but their gap to 6th is now just 4 points.

Warrington Town moved back up to 4th after they beat Sutton Coldfield Town at Coles Lane. A Danny Hattersley goal in the 2nd half was enough to see them keep their good run of form going and it further strengthens their late surprising bid for a play off spot. As for the Royals, their survival hopes take a big hit, with just 6 games remaining for them to reach safety.

Mixed results for the chasing pack

The teams outside the play off spots had a mixed day. Spennymoor Town were big winners, running out 5-0 victors away at Mickleover Sports. They were 3-0 by half time thanks to goals from Kallum Griffiths, Mark Anderson and Graeme Armstrong. They added 2 more goals David Dowson and Rob Ramshaw to complete a comfortable afternoon. They move up 7th, just 1 point off the top 5 with games in hand on all the teams above them. Mickleover remain 6 points off the drop zone and will be keeping an eye on the teams below them.

Grantham Town also put a 5 game winless streak behind them to beat struggling Marine 3-0 at home. Curtis Burrows put the Gingerbreads ahead shortly before half time and 2 late goals sealed the win. It moves Grantham up to 8th, just 3 points off the top 5. Marine though drop to 19th, just 1 point above the drop zone. They now face a massive home game against fellow strugglers Corby Town on Tuesday.

It wasn’t such a good day for the other teams still harbouring hopes of a top 5. Whitby Town slipped out of the top 5 after they drew 0-0 away at Stafford Rangers. They were perhaps fortunate to not be on the end of a defeat after Rangers had a goal disallowed. They drop to 6th, but on goal difference only. Stafford meanwhile continue to pick up points and are now 1 off 50. They stay 15th.

Buxton too came unstuck on the road as they lost 1-0 at Rushall Olympic. A goal 4 minutes in from George Bowerman was enough to give the Pics the win and dent the Bucks promotion hopes. Buxton slip to 9th and with their fixtures piling up, their mettle will be tested in the coming weeks. Rushall keep their faint promotion hopes alive, as they sit 12th, just 6 points off the top 5 with games in hand over their rivals.

Matlock Town also suffered a damaging day as they lost 1-0 at Hurst Cross to Ashton United. Matt Chadwick put the Robins 1-0 and despite the goalscorer getting sent off with 25 minutes to go, the Gladiators were unable to respond. That saw Matlock lose their 3rd game in 5 and they now sit 10th.

Relegation dogfight hots up

There was a huge 6 pointer in South Elmsall as Frickley Athletic hosted Halesowen Town. Just goal difference separated the 2 sides going into the game, with Halesowen sat just outside the relegation zone and Frickley just inside. It was the Yeltz who were to give their survival hopes a massive shot in the arm, as they won 1-0 thanks to a 66th minute goal from Danny Bragoli. It moves them 3 points clear of the drop zone with games in hand, whilst Frickley have lost form at the wrong time, with this their 4th straight defeat.

Corby Town missed out on the opportunity to give themselves some breathing room as they lost as they lost 3-0 at Barwell. Canaries top scorer Brady Hickey opened the scoring and 2 late goals sealed a comprehensive win for the home side. It leaves Corby still deep in trouble, outside the drop zone on goal difference. Their midweek trip to Marine takes on extra significance, with a win vital for either side.

Best of the rest

Blyth Spartans kept their strong home form going as they won 4-0 over Skelmersdale United at Croft Park. 2 more goals from Dan Maguire, his 24th and 25th of the season, put them in charge. 2nd half goals from Jordan Watson and Luke Armstrong wrapped up the win as they prepare to make the midweek trip to the Dabbers on Tuesday. They remain 10 points clear at the top the table. As for Skem, their miserable season could be brought to an end as early as next weekend, with relegation fast approaching.

Finally, Coalville Town hosted Hednesford Town. It was a game that only came to life in the last 20 minutes, with the game goalless up until that point. Hednesford went ahead through Tony Clarke on 68 minutes, but 3 minutes later, Coalville equalised from the spot, with Nathan Watson scoring their first goal in 4 games. Danny Jenno then put the home side ahead 10 minutes from time, but the Pitmen equalised in injury time through Desean Martin to see the points shared. Coalville remain looking nervously over their shoulders, whilst Hednesford are now 10 points off the top 5.

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