Our beloved editor Craig Kendall is calling it “Judgement Night” here at the Bootiful Game, and with good reason. Tonight, a number of crucial issues at the top of Toolstation NCEL Division One will have to be resolved-and TBC will be all over the scores and changes of fortune in a vital ninety minutes which will determine the second automatic promotion spot -and the four Play-Off contenders. Add in an emotional charity evening and you have the perfect mixture for a combustible night of Step 6 football, writes Colin Muncie.
NCEL Fixtures that effect Judgement Night (all 7:45pm kick-offs)
Eccleshill United vs Yorkshire Amateur
Grimsby Borough vs East Yorkshire Carnegie
Hallam vs Knaresborough Town
Selby Town vs FC Bolsover
Worsbrough Bridge Athletic vs Glasshoughton Welfare
Off we go, then. Knaresborough Town clinched the Division One title last week, but head to Play-Off contenders Hallam at Sandygate tonight Their Assistant Manager, Paul Clayton has sealed his side of the argument-but he won’t be going to Sheffield to roll over.
Paul told the Bootiful Game “I thought when we won the league a couple of weeks ago that the big games were over, but Monday night’s game proves otherwise. Hallam will be giving their all to try and win the game so we’re expecting a tough game to finish off the season. We will go to Hallam on the back on a good win on Saturday away to Dronfield. However we suffered two or three new injury concerns in that game so we’ll have to shuffle the pack again”.
“I am confident that whatever side we put on the field will be competitive and we will be looking to get a positive result”.
The Hallam Management team know that they need a win -and a bit of help from Worsborough Bridge Athletic .Joint Manager Scott Bates told us “It’s the last throw of the dice for us; whatever happens the lads have been unbelievable in the second half of the season and got us into a position we should have been nowhere near. Credit to every single one of them”.
Countrymen Joint Manager Steven Whitehead is certain that his players will be up for the occasion. “Let’s give it a go and see where we end up come half past nine on Monday evening. I think the pendulum will swing a couple of time during the ninety minutes”.
East Yorkshire Carnegie have preserved their status in Toolstation NCEL Division One, and head to Grimsby Borough tonight knowing that they can put a dent in the Wilderness Boys automatic promotion ambitions. Carnegie’s Assistant Manager Lewis Sarel told us “It’s our last game of what has been a long tough season and we hope to put on a decent performance for our fans that will travel. With safety secure we can just go out and try and be relaxed and play some good football. It’s been a long and tough first season and we have all learnt a lot from the experiences -and it should make us better going forward.”
“I would just like to thank all our volunteers, fans and players for putting the effort in this season.”
Hosts Grimsby Borough have set their sights firmly on getting a home fixture in the Play-Offs. Joint Manager Nathan Collins told us “We need to lift ourselves again and make sure we get three points to get home advantage in the Play Offs. We picked up another couple of injuries on Saturday so it’s a case of patching the lads up and getting the job done. We are all disappointed we didn’t get the win on Saturday (a 1-1 home draw with Shirebrook) but we have another bite of the cherry -plus a Cup Final to look forward to.”
Joint Manager Daniel Barrett told the Bootiful Game “It’s a game that we need to perform in. We need to be able to find our form and fast. Home advantage in the Play-Offs is a big factor. The lads really are playing for their shirts now, with a Cup Final on Wednesday and the Play Offs which will be next week”.
Glasshoughton Welfare head to Park Road tonight knowing that a win over Worsborough Bridge Athletic will clinch that precious sixth place. Their Joint Manager Lee Vigars isn’t surprised that the Play-Off chase has gone down to the last night -but reminds us that there’s an important sub-plot in Barnsley tonight. Lee told us “We expected the Play Off places to go down to the last game and that’s exactly how it’s panned out. Monday night will be huge occasion down at Park Road. Obviously we need a win to confirm sixth place but it’s also the ‘Show your support for Luce ‘ (Rollinson, the mother of players Calan (Briggers) and Connor (Glassy), a victim of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) night which will be emotional for everybody involved -along with a bumper crowd which is expected. Worsborough guaranteed their survival earlier this week with a hard fought draw against Brigg Town. Full credit to Lee and his team because not so long ago it looked like certain relegation but their performances and points tally have improved and they have completed the job they were brought in to do.”
Lee has a lasting affection for Worsborough and has been back there recently on a reconnaissance mission. “I also have a soft spot for the Briggers after playing there for a number of years many moons ago, so I was pleased with their result on Thursday” he admitted.”. I and Darren (Holmes, Joint Manager) went along to watch that game and were impressed with how well they defended as Brigg Town literally threw the kitchen sink at them. The fact they are now safe doesn’t mean they will take their foot off the gas as some have already suggested on social media. That’s not the mentality of a Worsborough side so we are fully expecting them to be 100% committed to turning us over and spoiling the party”.
“ It’s down to us to turn up and play the way we know we can -and get the result needed to clinch that 6th spot”.
Selby Town aren’t out of the Play –Off race either but will need to win all three of their remaining games and hope for a bit of help from others. FC Bolsover entertain the Robins tonight , and their Joint Manager Adam Valente is relieved that his side’s battle against the drop is over .”We go in to Monday’s game with no pressure now as safety is guaranteed; yes some might say we were relying on other results but to be fair we won games we needed to. Retford and Brigg were massive. Don’t forget, it’s been a tough task me and Mike Bohan (Joint Manager) to get players to come in”.
“I can’t thank them enough; the lads have dug in and been there even when we have had some hidings-and we had a bare eleven at times, but would like to finish on a high. We have got a good squad out tomorrow, so hopefully we can get a win”.
“Foundations will be set for next year, I am sure; we will have a meeting with the Chairman to see what he wants -and hopefully we will be able to compete next year.”
The blockbuster event of the evening takes place in Bradford – at the Mitton Group Stadium to be precise-when third placed Eccleshill United host second-placed Yorkshire Amateur in a straight fight for that second automatic Play-Off place .The clubs are locked together on 85 points, with only goals scored giving Ammers a slight advantage.
Eccleshill go into the game on the back of that 9-0 win over FC Bolsover, but Ammers have been in imperious form since that 1-0 defeat at Swallownest back at the beginning of April, with six straight wins and goals galore. Both clubs have preferred to do their talking on the pitch recently, which is totally understandable-but if you’re at a loose end in the vicinity of the Kingsway tonight, you could do a lot worse then go along to what is sure to be a fantastic game of football.
That’s it then. The stage is well and truly set. Stay tuned to TBG for the twists and turns as they develop on a massive night in the NCEL – and on Twitter @thebootifulgame.
Gentlemen and Ladies-start your engines……