NPL round-up | Easter weekend

By James Gordon

A remarkable second half comeback at Bradford Park Avenue moved Radcliffe to within touching distance of the Northern Premier League title, after a weekend of high drama across the division.

Without a game on Saturday, the league leaders made tough work of their Easter Monday trip to West Yorkshire, coming from two goals down at half-time to move 11 points clear at the top thanks to a 3-2 victory at the Horsfall Community Stadium.

The only teams who are now able to catch the Boro are Warrington Rylands and Macclesfield, both of whom collected six points from six over the Easter weekend.

Rylands enjoyed a 3-1 win at Morpeth Town on Saturday before defeating fellow promotion hopefuls Marine 2-0 on Monday - with five different players getting on the scoresheet for the Blues during those games, including top scorer Mo Touray.

Macclesfield, meanwhile, enjoyed successive 3-1 wins against FC United of Manchester and Hyde United.

Kane Drummond scored in both games for the Silkmen as they all-but-guaranteed themselves a play-off berth ahead of attention switching to their FA Trophy semi-final away at Gateshead on Saturday.

Marine and Hyde United still occupy the remaining two play-off spots, despite their respective disappointments over the weekend.

It was a particularly difficult few days for Hyde, who began their Easter weekend with a 1-0 defeat at another of the top-five hopefuls Worksop Town.

The Tigers are now just three points adrift of fifth-placed Hyde, who only remain in the play-offs due to having a superior goal difference to Ashton United, the side immediately below them.

As for Marine, they started the weekend on a positive note as Sol Solomon’s 19th goal of the season was enough to see them pick up all three points at Matlock Town, playing their first game since the departure of manager Martin Carruthers.

Lancaster City and Gainsborough Trinity remain with an outside shot of reaching the play-offs, after both secured back-to-back wins over Easter to remain firmly in the top half.

Lancaster edged a dramatic trip to Guiseley, running out 3-2 winners on Saturday. That result helped them close the gap to the Lions, who sit eighth on 58 points but do have extra fixtures compared to those who occupy the final two play-off places.

In the fight to avoid relegation, Basford United enjoyed a dream start to life under returning manager Martin Carruthers as a perfect Easter weekend majorly boosted their survival hopes.

The Lions won 2-1 at Atherton Collieries in a crucial relegation six-pointer on Saturday, before running out impressive 3-1 winners at home to Worksop on Monday.

Basford were particularly indebted to the performances of Matt Thornhill, who scored twice in both games as Carruthers’ men moved six points clear of the relegation zone.

Stafford Rangers and Bradford Park Avenue, the two teams immediately below them in the fight for survival, both dropped points over the weekend, while Atherton kept their faint hopes of avoiding the drop alive thanks to a 3-2 win at Workington.

Results - Saturday 30 March

Atherton Collieries 1-2 Basford United
Bamber Bridge 1-3 Gainsborough Trinity
Guiseley 2-3 Lancaster City
Ilkeston Town 2-2 Bradford Park Avenue
Macclesfield 3-1 FC United of Manchester
Matlock Town 0-1 Marine
Morpeth Town 1-3 Warrington Rylands
Stafford Rangers 1-0 Workington
Worksop Town 1-0 Hyde United

Results - Monday 1 April

Basford United 3-1 Worksop Town
Bradford Park Avenue 2-3 Radcliffe
FC United of Manchester 0-2 Ashton United
Gainsborough Trinity 2-1 Stafford Rangers
Hyde United 1-3 Macclesfield
Lancaster City 3-2 Bamber Bridge
Matlock Town 1-2 Ilkeston Town
Warrington Rylands 2-0 Marine
Workington 2-3 Atherton Collieries

Click here for the latest results from the NPL East Division, NPL Midlands Division and NPL West Division.

Photo credit: Darren Murphy

Where next?

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