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The Bootiful Preview – “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right…”

Not long now until the likely outcomes of another Toolstation NCEL season make themselves available for selection – but there’s a lot of football to be played between now and this season’s end. Nine games in both Divisions this Saturday, with something resting on pretty much all of them; so, hold on to your Bovril as the Bootiful Preview takes a peek at the runners and riders this weekend, writes Colin Muncie.

In the Premier Division, Worksop Town are in pole position; they are three points ahead of nearest rivals Penistone Church, who have the second Saturday off in a row. Saturday sees 18th-placed Hall Road Rangers visit Sandy Lane to face Craig Denton’s Tigers, who are in tremendous form, having won ten League games in a row, and are sure to be roared on by a big crowd. Rangers, though, are fighting for their lives and enjoyed a fine win at home to Knaresborough Town last Saturday, so it should be an intriguing match-up.

With Penistone unoccupied, Bridlington Town could go second if they overcome 12th-placed Barton Town at the Easy-Buy Stadium. It’s one of the shorter trips of the season for the Seasiders, but not necessarily one of the easier ones, as David Ricardo’s side look to repeat the outcome of their last home win, a 5-1 win over Albion Sports. However, it’s a fair bet that Brid’s Brett Agnew would take a repeat of the outcome of the reverse fixture at Queensgate, when Bridlington won 5-1; and his side booked a place in the East Riding Senior Cup Final last night.

Hemsworth Miners Welfare are fourth, and welcome 16th-placed Albion Sports to the Distant Futures Stadium with an opportunity to close on second place. Wells are in decent form, too, but the Lions won last time out at home to Harrogate Railway Athletic, so Wayne Benn, as ever, won’t be complacent going into the fixture as his side look to make it eight wins on the bounce.

Fifth-placed Yorkshire Amateur will be hoping to shrug off consecutive defeats to Worksop and Bridlington when they host bottom side Goole AFC at the Southerns Stadium. Ammers are still right in the mix, but the Vikings, who have traded wins with Liversedge in recent weeks, could exit the drop zone with a win in Leeds. 

In-form Staveley Miners Welfare will be hoping to put the top five in clear and present danger when they make the 40-minute journey to Sheerien Park and a clash with 14th-placed Athersley Recreation. Luke Potter’s Penguins are going through a curate’s egg of results – some good, some bad – but they’ll certainly be ready for Brett Marshall’s sixth-placed Trojans, who saw off Garforth Town last weekend.

Maltby Main are seventh, and travel to Manse Lane to face eighth-placed Knaresborough in a re-run of TBG’s featured game at Muglet Lane back in October, which the North Yorkshire club won by the only goal in a feisty encounter. The Miners will be hoping to move on from that shock defeat to North Gawber Colliery in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Cup semi-final on Wednesday. 

Congratulations, by the way, to the Sheffield County Senior League club as they look forward to a final at Bramall Lane. A fantastic achievement!

Ninth-placed Handsworth Parramore and star writer Ian Robinson will look to take advantage of a free weekend last Saturday when they head to the Kingsway and a clash with eleventh-placed Eccleshill United, beaten late on at Thackley last Saturday.  

At the other end of the table, Harrogate Railway Athletic (19th) travel to Dennyfield to face thirteenth-placed Thackley, with both sides in decent form; and seventeenth-placed Garforth Town welcome tenth-placed Bottesford Town to the Bannister Prentice Stadium. The Poachers fell to that late, late show from leaders Worksop at Birkdale Park last weekend, and will be keen to prove a point against Rob Hunter’s Miners.

In Division One, Grimsby Borough enjoy a six-point lead at the top of the table, but have played three games more than second–placed Campion. The Wilderness Boys face a tough trip to 13th-placed Shirebrook Town after their one-goal home win over Dronfield last night. 

They’ll also be hoping that a win at Langwith Road will put the pressure on both Campion, and fourth-placed Hallam, who face off in a thrilling-looking clash at Sandygate. Both sides deserve their lofty status in the table, and are sure to attract another massive crowd at the Oldest Football Ground in the World.

There’s another mouth-watering collision in New Crofton, when Nostell Miners Welfare, third, host fifth-placed Winterton Rangers. Nostell enjoyed an impressive 3-0 win on the Road at Skegness last weekend, whilst Rangers suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at AFC Emley.

Seventh-placed Selby Town face a difficult assignment at Andy Dawson’s ninth-placed Parkgate, after their heavy defeat to Worsborough Bridge Athletic at Park Road last weekend. The Steelmen saw off Shirebrook, 4-1, at Roundwood last weekend. 

Eighth-placed Dronfield Town will be glad to be back on home soil after their five-game away run of fixtures, which ended in that one-goal midweek defeat at leaders Grimsby Borough, and will be hoping to set the record straight after last Saturday’s away defeat to 17th-placed East Yorkshire Carnegie, who travel to the HE Barnes Stadium this weekend.

Bottom side Harworth Colliery welcome tenth-placed, and improving Glasshoughton Welfare to the Jones and Co Recreational Ground on Saturday, with Manager Craig Spink knowing that he needs his side to put points on the board soon. Not the best time to host a resurgent Glassy outfit. 

FC Bolsover – off the bottom last week – will be looking to close in further on safety when they travel to eleventh-placed Swallownest; but expect home Manager, Jordan Stocks to have his side fired up after fine – but pointless – performances at home to Grimsby Borough and away at Hallam. The clash at Rotherham Road will be one of TBG’s featured games.

There’s a crucial game at Walesby Lane on Saturday, where Ollerton Town will be hoping that the prolific Gav King adds to his season’s tally of 29 when 18th-placed Skegness Town visit. Nathan Collin’s Lilywhites are in need of a three-point haul as they sense Bolsover closing in; and sixteenth-placed Armthorpe Welfare head to AFC Emley, in twelfth, and victors over Winterton at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground last Saturday.

If you’re off to a game this weekend, good for you, buy a programme and have a safe journey. If you’re not, stick with TBG for the latest news, views and reviews. 

See you for the Bootiful Rundown next week.  

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