NCEL: Armthorpe Welfare on brink of relegation after Parkgate draw

Jason Kearsley gets on the ball for Armthorpe against Parkgate. Photo: Steve Pennock
Jason Kearsley gets on the ball for Armthorpe against Parkgate. Photo: Steve Pennock

Armthorpe Welfare are on the brink of the drop following a 1-1 draw with relegation rivals Parkgate.

Saturday’s local derby was a game from which Welfare badly needed to take all three points to have any hope of avoiding being relegated from the NCEL Premier Division for the very first time.

Michael Carmody’s side are now nine points adrift of safety with just four games to play and look certain to be playing Division One football next season barring a miracle escape.

Indeed Armthorpe’s relegation will be confirmed if they lose to high-riding Bridlington Town at home in their next outing on Tuesday night and Barton Town Old Boys pick up a point at home against Athersley Recreation on the same evening.

Despite the importance of the game to both sides, and also what was at stake, the first half was lacking in goalmouth action.

Indeed it took until the 24th minute until the first real effort on goal when Parkgate’s Danny Harris fired over the crossbar from just inside the area.

Again the visitors threatened when they won a soft free-kick just outside the area after Liam Copley had come out of his goal to make a challenge with the ball rebounding against his arm. Thankfully for Welfare the free-kick sailed harmlessly wide of the post.

The game sparked into life in the 56th minute when the visitors took the lead.

Alex Lill raced onto a header down the middle to fire past Copley from the edge of the box.

The goal forced Armthorpe to reshuffle with centre back Jack Waldron going up front to make up a four-man attack.

Waldron was soon in the thick of the action with a fine header from Liam Radford’s cross that forced Ben Hunter in the Parkgate goal into a smart save.

The equaliser arrived with 12 minutes remaining when Waldron nipped in at the near post to stab home from Gary Collier’s looping ball into the area.

With a point of no real use to either team both went looking for a late winner.

Copley was forced into a good save, pushing a 25-yard effort wide from Harris.

Then at the other end Waldron saw his header well saved by Hunter.

Armthorpe pressed hard for the winner in the dying minutes.

Craig Aspinall saw his snap shot from Radford’s cross saved before there were strong shouts for a penalty when Collier looked to had been brought down when he broke into the area.

Armthorpe then had a chance to snatch the win in the last minute of stoppage time.

Hunter pushed another Waldron effort behind for a corner from which a downwards header from Ethan Nelson was turned over the bar by Aspinall from almost on the line, and with that possibly went Welfare’s last hope of avoiding the dreaded drop.