Premier Division play-off semi-finals review

By David Watters

Workington and Salford City triumphed in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's Premier Division promotion play-off semi-finals, although it took extra-time to separate the Ammies and neighbours Ashton United, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

In front of a crowd of 866 at Moor Lane, the Ammies, who finished third, three points ahead of Ashton in the regular season, took a 25th minute lead through Jordan Hulme.

The visitors pulled themselves together and after a getting a foothold in the game, equalised in the 69th minute through Will Haining.

Neither side were able to find a winner in the remaining 20 minutes of normal time but just three minutes into extra-time, Gareth Seddon, whose season has been ruined by injury, restored City`s lead.

And then with seven minutes of the tie remaining, Jamie Poole added a third to ensure Salford made it through to the final where they will meet Workington AFC.

The Reds edged out runners-up Blyth Spartans in a thriller at Croft Park.

As has often been the case in play-off history, the side who just manage to scrape into the top five at the end of the season, tend to do well, and the Reds only confirmed fifth spot last weekend.

In front of a crowd of 1,124, it was the visitors who drew first blood after 34 minutes through Scott Allison. Blyth levelled right on the stroke of half-time when Sean Reid`s shot was deflected past Adam Mitchell.

But Workington and Allison restored the visitors` lead 11 minutes into the second half with a fine finish. And Allison completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes to make it 3-1.

Dillon Morse pulled a second back for Spartans six minutes later and then five minutes from time Daniel Maguire turned in a Wilson Kneeshaw cross to pull the home side back on level terms.

Just when extra-time was looming, Rob Wilson lashed the ball in from close range to win it for the Reds in what was a terrific advert for the EVO-STIK NPL.

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Where next?

Welsh international is new boss Former Welsh international Simon Haworth is the new manager of EVO-STIK Northern Premier League Clitheroe.
First Division South play-off semi-final review Shaw Lane Aquaforce will host Coalville Town on Saturday in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's First Division South promotion play-off final after this week's semis, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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