Eccleshill United have ended their nine-year exile from the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division after a dramatic extra-time win at Grimsby Borough in the Division One play-off final on Saturday.
The Eagles had reached the showdown with a 4-2 home victory over Shirebrook Town last Wednesday – a match that saw them on the verge of elimination before Chris Lever’s 89th minute equaliser made it 2-2 to force a further half-hour.
Prior to that, Danny Williams and Joe Naylor had seemingly put their Derbyshire visitors into the final with goals in the second period after Antony Brown had given the hosts the lead midway through the first period.
But, Eccleshill’s leveller clearly buoyed the home side as Tom Rose and then Brown’s second of the evening ensured their promotion challenge was still alive.
Borough, meanwhile, booked their place on the same night with a 3-0 home victory over Glasshoughton Welfare.
Luke Mascall’s first half brace added to in the 84th minute by Calum Lovett and their higher league position meant they would be the hosts for the final.
Brown gave Eccleshill a 23rd minute lead before the final was halted for around 40 minutes as an ambulance was called for after Eagles player Scott Manning suffered a suspected broken leg.
Borough responded the quickest when the match resumed with Lovett levelling on 34 minutes before Jack Debnam put them ahead on the hour-mark.
But, if Eccleshill’s escape was dramatic in midweek, it was doubly so this time round as, deep into stoppage time, they were awarded a penalty that was dispatched fearlessly by Andy Cooper.
And, Luke Harrop would then write his name into the Eagles’ history books as he scored the winner at the end of the first period of extra-time to send his side up with a 3-2 win.
Elsewhere, in midweek, the two League Cup semi-finals were played with Liversedge 5-2 home winners over Handsworth Parramore last Tuesday.
Dan Walker, Tom Brook, Marc Lumb, Joe Walton and Daniel Farrar all netted for Sedge whilst Oscar Radford and Billy Eades got on the scoresheet for the visitors.
The following night, two goals in the last 3 minutes saw AFC Mansfield reach the final, Ollie Fearon and Lynton Karkach sealing a 4-2 victory at Bridlington Town after Jake Day’s brace for the hosts sandwiched goals from Nick Guest and Connor Smythe for the Bulls.
And, the final two matches of the Premier Division season were played with Declan Bacon netting four times as Bottesford Town won 5-2 at Barton Town on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon to further cement their eighth-place finish, whilst Barton ended the campaign in twelfth.
Liversedge took the lead through Joe Walton on 9 minutes at home to Thackley on Thursday but James Rothel and Luke Robinson scored for the away side to lift them up three places to seal fifteenth spot with `Sedge staying eleventh.