NCEL: Hard times for Askern Villa

DRESSING DOWN: Askern Villa boss Brian Johnston (left) has had a tough opening to the season on and off the pitch. Picture: Andrew Roe.
DRESSING DOWN: Askern Villa boss Brian Johnston (left) has had a tough opening to the season on and off the pitch. Picture: Andrew Roe.
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IT has been a season of too many lows and too few highs for troubled Division One outfit Askern Villa, writes Paul Webster.

After considering their future in the league just a fortnight ago, following their failure to field a team for a second time this term against Albion Sports, Villa now seem to be firmly back on track.

The Manor Way outfit’s 3-1 home win over leaders Athersley Recreation last weekend ended the visitors’ undefeated away record but, more importantly, provided a massive morale boost for Askern.

Mel Cotton gave Villa a 23rd minute lead and although Jason Bentley equalised two minutes after the break, goals from Mike Braithwaite and Tony Hattersley sealed a shock win.

It has certainly been a rollercoaster ride for Villa and the ups and downs of the season were in evidence early on as Villa suffered a 6-0 thumping at Knaresborough Town in the League Cup only to return five days later in the league and take the spoils in a 1-0 victory.

Brian Johnston’s men could only manage a point from a goalless draw at bottom of the table Appleby Frodingham, yet in the very next away trip they went and thumped a decent Hemsworth MW team 5-2.

And now the shock victory over the leaders Athersley comes just a couple of weeks after their lowest point of the season, when they were a committee meeting away from pulling out of the league.

Following Villa is not for the faint hearted!

ARMTHORPE WELFARE find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier Division and boss Leo-Fortune-West has not had the best of starts since replacing the legendary Des Bennett in the summer.

Welfare have struggled at home where, aside from a 3-1 success over Squires Gate in the FA Vase, it was not until mid-October that Armthorpe picked up their first home league win of the season, beating Arnold Town 4-0.

That victory ended a run of five defeats and a draw on home soil, which included an embarrassing 7-1 reversal against Heanor Town in August.

Fortune-West will be delighted to have the influential Joe Lumsden back after the striker was ruled out for over a month after an injury picked up at the back end of August.

The FA Vase, however, is providing a healthy distraction.

Victory over Squires Gate, then a 3-1 success at AFC Liverpool, has put Armthorpe into the second round and a trip to Barnoldswick Town awaits in a few weeks time.

It is a re-match against the team that knocked Welfare out of the West Riding County Cup 4-1 at home last month.

Armthorpe, meanwhile, lost 5-4 at Staveley on Saturday after coming from 3-0 down with goals from Callum Smith, Lumsden and Paul Ashton.

Reece Richard made it 4-4 after the hosts had gone ahead again but a last minute strike won it for the home side.

Just four league wins from 16 has left ROSSINGTON MAIN 18th in Division One as the season heads into November.

The early stages of the campaign have mirrored that of last term, with Main again finding points hard to come by at Oxford Street.

Rossington have taken just four points from a possible 21, a 3-1 victory over Grimsby Borough and a 1-1 draw in the derby with Askern Villa.

On the road Rossington have picked up impressive wins at Hemsworth MW and at Shirebrook Town but their decent away form was halted on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at Hallam.

The cups have also proved to be a disappointment.

Rossington went out at the first tound hurdle in the League Cup and both the FA Cup and FA Vase, but they travel to Parkgate next Tuesday in the second round of Sheffield Senior Cup after a 4-1 victory over Kiveton Park in the previous round.

MALTBY MAIN replaced boss Steve Adams with Chris Dunn and this season is all about maintaining Premier Division status.

They currently sit 19th in the table and just a point clear of the drop zone.