Blue Square Bet
Published 28th April 2012
.....unprecedented since the formation of the three top divisions – so a drama-filled afternoon was certain.
Corby Town started their game at Steel Park in thirteenth place, but still in trouble if results elsewhere went against them.
And they entertained another team in the mix, Harrogate Town, who began the afternoon just a point above third-bottom Hinckley United.
Histon, Vauxhall Motors, Colwyn Bay, Workington and Solihull Moors were the others who were relying on Hinckley losing at Bower Fold against a Stalybridge Celtic side who still harboured hopes of making the play-offs if Nuneaton Town slipped up.
It started well enough for the Knitters when a Chris Lynch own goal gave them a 25th minute lead.
But less than 3 minutes later Stephen Brogan equalised and then after 43 minutes Celtic gave the relegation-threatened visitors a boost when they had Callum Warburton sent-off.
But right on half-time Greg Wilkinson gave the ten-men a lead they doubled 9 minutes after the break through Dennis Sheriff.
Craig Farrell reduced the deficit on 66 minutes, but Stalybridge made it 4-2 on 76 minutes with Brogan`s second of the game.
Corby fans must have been extremely worried until they discovered Hinckley`s result after watching their side slump to their fourteenth home league defeat of the season as they ended a frustrating campaign on a woeful note with a 5-0 drubbing by fellow strugglers Harrogate.
Harrogate took the lead just after the break when home keeper Nick Bennion could only flap at a corner and Richard Pell drove the ball home through a crowd of legs.
And Bennion was at fault again for Harrogate’s second on 52 minutes as he allowed Paul Bolland’s 25-yard shot to go straight through his hands into the back of the net.
The quick-fire double ensured the Yorkshire side would be safe from relegation and they made sure of it when Pell headed home his second on 71 minutes.
And a miserable end to the season for Corby was completed when Jonny Allan stroked home a fourth for Harrogate on 87 minutes before Tom Platt rifled home the fifth with the final act of the season.
Histon secured their place with a 1-1 draw at home to champions Hyde FC at the Glassworld Stadium.
Andrew Pearson put the visitors in front on the stroke of half-time after an evenly contested first half that saw the home side create the best of the chances.
But the hosts, needing a point to be certain of avoiding the drop, drew level from the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Lewis Taaffe’s shot was harshly adjudged to have been handled - Dan Holman slotted away the penalty.
FC Halifax Town picked up the points they needed to secure third place at Damson Park against another of the sides who began nervously looking over their shoulders at Hinckley`s score - Solihull.
Lee Gregory volleyed the Shaymen ahead 5 minutes before the break and Sean Clancy doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half.
Solihull pulled hit back through Craig Hinton from the penalty spot with 18 minutes remaining but the Shaymen held firm.
Vauxhall Motors were on the wrong end of a 5-2 drubbing at the Butcher`s Arms against Droylsden, whose Dan Gardner helped himself to a hat-trick with goals in the 21st, 64th and 89th minute – completing his triple from the spot.
Chris Brown on the hour-mark and Dale Johnson in stoppage time were the other Bloods` marksmen, with Kevin Holsgrove and Darren Fernyhough scoring for Motors in the final 15 minutes.
Workington won 1-0 at St George`s Lane against Worcester City to make sure they were okay – Jordan Connerton netting the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time – and Colwyn Bay also ended up well and in twelfth place in the end after a 4-2 Llanellian Road win over Gloucester City.
Rob Hopley gave Bay an early 3rd minute lead and it was game over by half-time as Fraser McLachlan, Gareth Evans and John McKenna added further goals for the North Walians – Darren Edwards hitting a late brace for the Tigers.
Nuneaton started the afternoon just a point in front of sixth-placed Stalybridge but with a far better goal difference.
That didn`t matter in the end as they edged out already-relegated Blyth Spartans by the odd goal in five at Croft Park to secure the final play-off spot, despite being docked six points.
Spartans shocked Boro by taking a 4th minute lead through Wayne Phillips, only for James Armison to immediately respond.
Simon Forsdick gave Nuneaton the lead around the half-hour mark only for Joe Kendrick to pull Blyth back on terms just 3 minutes later.
But Danny Glover`s 38th minute effort eventually proved vital for Kevin Wilkin`s side.
Gainsborough Trinity travelled to Moss Lane knowing at least a point would secure a top five finish.
Altrincham fell behind in the 14th minute when Leon Mettam scored directly from a free-kick from 25 yards out.
The equaliser arrived in the 34th minute when Nicky Clee scored from 20 yards after 34 minutes.
Ten minutes later a fine lob from Duncan Watmore made it 2-1 to the home side, but barely a minute later it was 2-2 when a James Lawrie foul gave Trinity a free-kick, which Metham headed in.
Trinity`s winner arrived after 72 minutes when Mettam completed his hat-trick, rounding Alty keeper Stuart Coburn after being put clear.
Mid-table Boston United and second-placed Guiseley served up a six-goal thriller, despite there being little on the game at the Jakeman`s Stadium. United led 2-0 at half-time through goals from Spencer Weir-Daley and Marc Newsham and despite Chris Senior cutting the deficit, youngster James Reed added Boston’s third to seemingly wrap up all three points.
Senior, however, netted his second goal and Matt Wilson secured a share of the spoils for the Lions with a thunderbolt 3 minutes from time.