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The Bootiful Preview – What shocks will happen this weekend?

With the season now well into February, it’s another important week in both Divisions of the Toolstation Northern Counties East League, with nine games slated for each Division. Nothing is anywhere near clear-cut at either end of the Premier Division or in Division One, and there’s always the potential for more than one surprise every weekend; so let’s take a look at what we might expect over the coming Friday and Saturday, writes Colin Muncie for the Bootiful Game.
In the Premier Division, Penistone Church hold a three-point advantage at the summit of the table, and this weekend they host Goole AFC, who moved off the bottom with Tuesday night’s important 1-0 away win at Liversedge. Church are in great form at both ends of the pitch, and are six without defeat, so it’s another stern test for the Vikings, who have won their last two under Terry Barwick and Matty Bloor, so expect another good crowd at the DSM Memorial Stadium.
Worksop Town now hold second place on goal difference after their 3-1 midweek home win over Bottesford Town and the Tigers will look to keep the pressure on the leaders when they host Knaresborough Town, who are sixth. The North Yorkshire club will be anxious to atone for their home loss to Thackley by putting one over on Worksop, who have won six League games in a row, with Lee Hill on the mark twice in that home win on Wednesday evening.
Third- placed Yorkshire Amateur are without a game this weekend, so Hemsworth Miners Welfare, fourth, will also want to maintain their recent momentum when they head to 16th-placed Thackley, who enjoyed that spectacular 5-0 win at Knaresborough Town last Saturday. It won’t be an easy afternoon for Wayne Benn’s side, but they boast the third most prolific attack in the Division and have won their last three.
Fifth-placed Bridlington Town were just a minute or so away from a home win in that thrilling draw at home to Penistone last weekend, and they face another tough afternoon this weekend when seventh-placed Handsworth Parramore visit Queensgate. Parras were home winners over Liversedge last Saturday. It’s the Miners’ Derby this Saturday, as eighth placed Maltby Main, who lost at home to Worksop last Saturday, head for fifteenth-placed Garforth Town, who bowed out of the NCEL League Cup on Tuesday night, losing on penalties to Staveley Miners Welfare at Cedar Ridge. The ninth-placed Trojans make for Liversedge, 14th, who have lost their last two League games but are capable of upsetting any applecart on their day.
At the wrong end of the table, new bottom side Harrogate Railway Athletic have the afternoon off, so will be looking out for the results at Penistone and at Sheerien Park, where 19th placed Hall Road Rangers visit Athersley Recreation, who are 13th. Rangers grabbed a welcome home win last weekend, but Athersley went down from a leading position at Bottesford Town. After a heavy home defeat last week, Kulwinder Sandhu takes his 17th placed Albion Sports to Marsh Lane, where twelfth-placed Barton Town and Manager David Ricardo will be desperate to post a win after six games without one.
It’s eleventh versus tenth at the Kingsway, where Eccleshill United, denied at the death last week at Inkersall Road, welcome John Corbett’s Bottesford, who as noted, won at home last weekend but lost away in the week.
In Division One, with the top seven all winning last weekend, the chase for that single automatic promotion place is hotting up. Nostell Miners Welfare are third after their home win over Swallownest last Saturday, and they kick the weekend off on Friday night with the reverse fixture at home to AFC Emley. Nostell won that recent first encounter 3-2 at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground, and will be hoping for a win – and another big crowd –when the clubs resume hostilities in New Crofton. It should be a cracking start to the action, with Emley winning at home to Harworth last time out. The Nostell committee and volunteers have worked hard to make the Friday night clash a success, so we hope they’ll be rewarded with a decent turnout.
Leaders Grimsby Borough have won their last eight, and will be favourites to extend that run when they host 18th placed East Yorkshire Carnegie at Bradley Road. Carnegie have lost their last four in all competitions so will be anxious to spring a surprise. Campion remain level on points with the Wilderness Boys, and host Selby Town (8th) at the Kay and Lane Insurance Stadium. The Robins lost at home to Worsbrough Bridge last weekend, but enjoyed an impressive, 3-1 morale-boosting League Cup win at Eccleshill in midweek. Campion are in fine form themselves, however, and are unbeaten in 2019, seeing off FC Bolsover last Saturday.
Fourth-placed Winterton Rangers host one of the most compelling fixtures in the Division when they welcome seventh-placed Dronfield Town to West Street. Both sides won last weekend, and Winterton will be looking to avenge that 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at the H E Barnes Stadium in mid-January. Rangers will also be hoping for a favour from fourteenth-placed Rossington who complete their quick-fire double header with fifth-placed Hallam at Oxford Street. Ryan Hindley’s men were beaten 4-1 at Sandygate last weekend, and so he will have a point of his own to prove against his old club; but Keiran Watson took his tally to 24 for the Sheffield side with a double last weekend and will present another real threat to Main.
Sixth-placed Worsborough Bridge, like Shirebrook Town in 13th, have the weekend off, and so will be looking out for the results around them; there’s a chance for Andy Dawson’s Parkgate to make inroads on the Briggers when the Steelmen host Skegness Town at Roundwood. Nathan Collins’ Lilywhites have had a difficult February, and lost the reverse fixture at home to Parkgate at the beginning of the month. It’s eleventh versus tenth at the TJ’s Travel Arena, where Glasshoughton Welfare will be looking to build on last Saturdays’ win over Skegness, and Swallownest will be hoping to get back to winning ways after two League defeats on the bounce.
At the bottom, FC Bolsover face a crucial bottom-two clash at Harworth Colliery, who are seven points above them. Bolsover have lost to the top two in the Division in the last two weeks, and they’ll find that Colliery’s new management team, Craig Spink and Adam Valente, will naturally be out to get off to the best possible start in their new roles at the Jones and Co.
Armthorpe Welfare are 17th, and will look for a crucial three-point haul when they welcome 15th placed Ollerton Town to Church Street. Wellie lost at home to Grimsby Borough last weekend, but Town edged past East Yorkshire Carnegie to draw level on points with Saturday’s hosts.
Of course, the Bootiful Game will be counting down to the action with our brilliant Manager contributors, and we’ll be hearing their verdicts on the action after the whistles blow up and down the League; and of course, our Craig will be bringing you the latest scores as they come in.
We’ll be back with the Bootiful Rundown early next week.

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