NCEL: Armthorpe Welfare and Rossington Main start 2017 with vital victories
Armthorpe Welfare moved three points clear of the Premier Division drop zone with a crucial 2-0 home win over relegation rivals Retford United.
Welfare were excellent in the first half, with the returning Liam Radford causing the Retford defence all sorts of problems, and were well worth their 1-0 half time lead.
The goal came courtesy of Darren Mansaram on 15 minutes. Radford was the provider, running at the visitors’ defence before playing in Mansaram who slotted home.
Armthorpe got the second goal their play deserved just two minutes into the second half.
Chris Gowan’s free kick into the area was knocked down for Mick Jones to fire in from 12 yards.
Armthorpe goalkeeper Adam Stevens made two good saves from Cameron Wear to preserve his side’s two-goal lead.
Retford’s hopes of getting back into the game vanished with five minutes remaining when they were reduced to ten men.
Defender Craig Laight was given his marching orders following a tussle on the ground with Mansaram, who received a yellow.
With third bottom Parkgate drawing at home against Garforth Town, Armthorpe now have a three-point cushion over the bottom three and are six clear of next-to-bottom Retford.
Armthorpe, who have now lost just one in five, face a tough test at fifth-placed Handsworth Parramore on Saturday.
Rossington Main have enjoyed a good festive period.
Chris Glarvey’s side following up the 3-0 victory at Shirebrook Town on Boxing Day by completing a league double over the Derbyshire side after coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Oxford Street on Monday.
The win puts Main seven points clear of the bottom two in Division One.
Shirebrook looked like they might avenge the Boxing Day defeat when Glynn Cotton’s 25-yard effort gave the visitors the lead three minutes into the second half.
However, Lee Holmes restored parity on 75 minutes with his fifth goal of the season before the visitors were reduced to ten men after Ryan Smith was sent off for a second yellow card, Rossington made the numerical advantage count when Jason Stokes grabbed the winner nine minutes from time.
Meanwhile, Glarvey has strengthened his squad by bringing in four new players.
Lewis Szanto and Ainsley Finney have arrived from Maltby Main with youngsters Jake Whelan and Jacob France joining from Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC respectively.
Rossington go to Selby Town on Saturday hoping to make it three league wins on the spin for the first time since December 2013.
Maltby Main play their first game of 2017 when Garforth Town are the visitors to Muglet Lane on Saturday.
The Miners have won just two of the last 11 league outings which has left them fifth from bottom of the Premier Division.