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Pickering Town's declaration of defiance
DOWNED on derby day duty Pickering Town have dismissed the doldrums by posting a top-class target between now and the end of the season.
A week ago the Pikes were deprived of their six-match undefeated sequence when losing 2-1 to a late strike from hosts and derby rivals Scarborough Athletic in the Northern Counties East League premier division tussle.
But ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Barton Town Old Boys to the Recreation Ground, the message will be upbeat.
Said manager Jimmy Reid: “The rest of the coaches and myself have been talking in light of the loss to Scarborough and we have now set a target of going the rest of the season unbeaten. It’s certainly well within the players’ remit and grasp.”
While downcast by the narrow fall to Scarborough, Reid seized solace from the fact that, where their conquerors’ squad had taken years to assemble and develop, the revolution at Pickering had only truly started six months ago.
And with hopes of a top five or top six finish still achievable, as well as a North Riding Senior Cup final showdown against Marske United to anticipate, the season’s climax could yet be a thriller for Reid’s raiders.
“It could be a right cliff-hanger so the intention is to finish as high as we possibly can and with a cup final to go at, who knows?”
Reid is acutely aware though that visitors Barton will not be an easy prospect with the Old Boys just one slot behind seventh-placed Pickering.
For the hosts, midfielder Ged Dalton had a 20-minute run-out against Scarborough Athletic – his first since recovering from injury – and he has put himself in contention for a starting place.
Home is also the province for Tadcaster Albion who host a potentially meaty NCEL top-tier collision against Thackley tomorrow.
Albion’s task springs on the back of a midweek 4-1 defeat at Retford, though manager Paul Marshall confessed he was at a loss as to how the visitors came away empty-handed.
“It was just one of those games, where you know you played the better football yet somehow you got beat,” he said.
“We made some silly individual mistakes which led to several of their goals and it was a big blow. If we had won we would have likely consolidated fifth spot, but now we have both Retford and Pickering Town chasing us for that.”
The biggest consolation for the Brewers’ boss is that the goal was poached by new recruit Chris Youldon, who has just joined from Staveley Miners Welfare.
Second-placed Scarborough Athletic, one point adrift of leaders Brighouse Town who have played a game more, travel to Parkgate.
BRING them on – that was the roar from Selby Town manager Ian Dring, who is convinced his team will not drop from the Northern Counties East League first division,.
The resurrected Robins still occupy the bottom perch, but a stirring 2-0 deposing of second-placed Shirebrook Town at Flaxley Road has heightened the conviction that relegation will be avoided.
The victory means Selby are now a mere point off their nearest rivals and are just three shy of the team five places above them. The revived Robins boast no fewer than three games in hand.
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to mid-table Eccleshill United, Dring declared: “After the win over Shirebrook in which we made them look silly, I’m not fussed who we play. Just bring them on. I’m just not bothered. As I’ve said all along, we are not going down.”
Dring’s optimism has been further fuelled by the arrival of ex-York City trainee, Tom Owen, the midfielder starring on debut against Shirebrook.
“He was outstanding and we are looking stronger. They have all gelled well. We are a good side,” said Dring.
The Robins’ chief also said how the club’s miserable record at the foot of the table for so long had given upcoming rivals a false sense of security, adding: “They come and play us and think they are going to batter us, like they probably did earlier in the season. But they are getting a surprise now.”
The midweek triumph over Shirebrook was confirmed by first-half strikes from Jack Wooley, from the penalty spot, and goal-a-game man Danny Gray.
Also in division one, third-placed Knaresborough Town host mid-table Pontefract Collieries.
Harrogate Town will want to prove themselves of sterner stuff when they travel to Corby tomorrow.
At home to Bishop’s Stortford in midweek, they forged into a 2-0 lead but could only muster a share of the Blue Square Bet North booty after conceding two second-half strikes.
The boost was new signing Colin Larkin, who made 300 Football League appearances with Wolves, Wycombe, Northampton and Hartlepool, marking his debut with a goal.
Harrogate Railway host Curzon Ashton in Evo-Stik League first division north.