PICKERING Town boss Paul Marshall has been named Northern Counties East League premier division manager of the month after guiding his side through an unbeaten September in which only two points were dropped.

Top-scorer Ryan Blott was also in the running for player of the month following his goalscoring exploits.

He bagged nine in eight games to fire his side to the top of the league, but only came second in the vote to Worksop Town’s Kyle Jordan.

He was up against Jordan, Andy Seed of Pontefract Collieries, and Maltby Main’s Danny Patterson.

Not one to take all the credit, Marshall has commended the personnel that surround him for the accolade.

He said: “I don’t feel any different to if I hadn’t won it. It’s only a poll, after all. Our successes are just as much down to the players and coaching staff.”

Asked if he thought Blott deserved to win, Marshall said: “Of course. Ryan has been outstanding, and long may it continue.

“Worksop have a good following, so they’ll have all got on and voted for their man.”

The result of the vote appeared to be something of a harbinger – the Pikes’ result on Wednesday night was in marked contrast to September’s run, as the side drew 1-1 at Sandy Lane.

Marshall’s men dominated possession in the game, but Nick Thompson’s goal just before the hour mark was the only reply they could muster to the home side’s “soft” third-minute penalty.

The Pikes boss is taking the positives from the performance though.

“We should’ve got the winner – we had plenty of chances,” he said. “We played some lovely football, but lovely football doesn’t always win you games.

“Worksop were wasting time for the last half hour, which just shows the levels of respect teams have for us. Throwing 11 men behind the ball is a real compliment, but we need to find a way around that.”

The two points that the Pikes dropped in Nottinghamshire have allowed Pontefract Collieries to regain some ground in the title race. They thrashed Thackley 8-0 to sit only three points behind the leaders.

The Colls, the league’s best attackers on their travels, visit second-bottom Barton Town on Saturday, who have the second-worst home attack in the division.

Pickering next travel to 16th-placed Athersley Recreation, who required a last-minute equaliser to earn a 1-1 result from Wednesday’s game at Liversedge.

Tomorrow’s hosts have a marginally better home attack than Barton, averaging under a goal a game, while the Pikes have the sixth-best away attack, netting twice per fixture.

Pickering are hopeful of having a full-strength squad for the game.

Midfielder Lewis Turner will be monitored after picking up a knock on Wednesday, while Thompson should be available despite a recent illness.