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Mitchley Throws a Spanner In The Works

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There were seven matches in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division on Tuesday night and were of significance to both ends of the table.

The standout result came at the West Lancashire College Stadium where Skelmersdale United were left thinking `what might have been` after ending leaders FC United of Manchester`s five-month spell without defeat.

A crowd of 1,133 – just short of Skem`s record attendance of 1,171 – saw Danny Mitchley score the decisive goal on 69 minutes to complete a league `double` for Skem after their 2-1 win over the Reds back in October.

FC United are now just two points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand after second-placed Workington AFC beat Trafford 1-0 at Borough Park and third-placedAshton United won 3-0 at the Harry Williams Stadium against relegation-threatened Ramsbottom United.

A crowd of 594 saw Scott Allison scored the only goal for Workington against already-relegated Trafford, while Ben Deegan broke the deadlock for Ashton, opening the scoring 7 minutes into the second half.

Dale Johnson then bagged a brace in the 81st and 90th minutes to complete a comfortable win and keep them with an outside chance of the title.

Blyth Spartans hosted Matlock Town at Croft Park with both sides holding difference agendas at kick-off.

The hosts were looking to maintain their superb run which has taken them to the brink of the top five, despite having a horrendous backlog of fixtures to catch up on due to their cup exploits, while the Gladiators needed points to move further away from the drop zone.

A crowd of 467 didn`t exactly witness a classic Spartans v Gladiators encounter, but the goalless draw sees Blyth three points behind the play-off places with three games left, while Matlock are three points clear of the bottom four and have only two games remaining.

Curzon Ashton could have made things extremely difficult for Blyth had they won their game against another of the relegation battles, Marine AFC, at the Arriva Stadium.

However, a 1-1 draw keeps them in fifth and moved the Mariners to within three points of the safety-mark.

Andy Nicholas broke the deadlock to give the Mariners the lead 6 minutes into the second half.

And it looked as though they were going to hold on for a crucial win, until Niall Cummins popped up with an 85th minute equaliser for Curzon.

A poor performance saw Frickley Athletic concede a goal in each half to fall to a 2-0 defeat at already-doomed Belper Town and stay deep in relegation trouble – now only a point in front of fourth-bottom Stamford AFC.

Just when another big performance was required the Blues failed to deliver the goods when it was most needed as they enabled the Nailers to climb off the foot of the table with their superior commitment and organisation.

Stephen Warne gave the Nailers a 13th minute lead that was eventually doubled 6 minutes from time by Rob Stevenson.

Nantwich Town beat Whitby Town 2-1 at the Weaver Stadium – a result that confirmed the Dabbers place in the Premier Division for next season.

The visitors took the lead on 42 minutes through Dale Hopson.

But it wasn`t until 9 minutes from time that the home side managed to pull back on level terms through Steve Jones.

And 4 minutes later Ben Harrison turned in a Matty Kosylo cross to win the game and take the Dabbers to thirteenth place – and above Whitby – with two games remaining.

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