Saturday's Premier Division action review

By David Watters

After Darlington took the title in midweek and Stamford filled the final relegation spot, the last day drama in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's Premier Division was all about bagging the final two play-off places, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

In the end, it was Stourbridge who missed out on a play-off place as visitors Salford City took the spoils at Amblecote.

Needing a win, or favours elsewhere, to guarantee a spot in the top five, Stourbridge were undone by two goals from Michael Itela in the 10th and 72nd minutes in front of a bumper 1,827 crowd.

Skipper Stuart Pierpoint had levelled for Stourbridge on 20 minutes, but the result, coupled with wins for both Ashton United and Workington AFC, means that the Glassboys end the season in sixth, just one place and two points short of the top five.

Ashton secured their place with a 1-0 win at Coles Lane against Sutton Coldfield Town, courtesy of a 34th minute Martin Pilkington effort.

And Workington were emphatic 5-0 Borough Park winners against mid-table Buxton.

The Reds scored twice in the opening five minutes through Kyle May and Gareth Arnison and it was virtually all over as a contest by the 11th minute when Conor Tinnion added a third for the hosts.

Rob Wilson made it 4-0 with only 24 minutes gone, but understandably the hosts relaxed after that, but still made it a nap hand with 20 minutes to go with a second for Tinnion.

The Reds will now take on second-placed Blyth Spartans at Croft Park next Tuesday, while Ashton make the short trip across to Salford in the other semi-final.

Stamford may have endured a disappointing midweek but they at least finished on a high by beating the team who finished just a point above them in the end, Mickleover Sports, 2-0 at the Zeeco Stadium.

It was a case of what might have been after Gregg Smith bagged a brace for the Daniels after 16 and 49 minutes.

Bottom-markers Ramsbottom United also went out on a high, beating managerless Ilkeston FC 4-0 at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium with goals from Ben Burey after 41 minutes, Alex Meaney right on half-time, Dan Wilkins on 65 minutes and John Pritchard two minutes later.

Second-bottom Colwyn Bay shared a goalless draw at The Meres with Grantham Town but the other team relegated, Hyde United, lost 1-0 at Ewen Fields to Halesowen Town, for whom Tyree Clarke scored on 54 minutes.

Champions Darlington lost 1-0 at Dales Lane against tenth-placed Rushall Olympic in front of a crowd of 709, who saw Gavin Caines score the only goal in the 36th minute.

Runners-up Blyth also lost, 2-1 at Croft Park to Marine AFC, who came back from being a 37th minute Paul Robinson goal down to win, courtesy of Warren Bellew after 49 minutes and then Danny Mitchley eight minutes from time.

Barwell finished a creditable ninth after a 4-0 Kirkby Road victory over Matlock Town with goals from Brady Hickey after three and 51 minutes, sandwiched by a Jamie Towers brace on 10 and 37 minutes.

Nantwich Town ended Frickley Athletic`s eight-match unbeaten run, thanks to a Liam Shotton effort 20 minutes from time at the Weaver Stadium while Whitby Town and Skelmersdale United shared a 1-1 Turnbull Ground draw in which Dale Hopson eventually cancelled out Max Hazeldine`s 34th minute opener just 3 minutes from time.

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Where next?

Ebdon and Hussey stand down Spalding United have paid tribute to manager Marcus Ebdon and number two Danny Hussey after announcing the duo's departure from the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's Tulips.
Saturday's First Division North action review There was little riding on Saturday`s final games in the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League First Division North apart from the final play-off positions, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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