NCEL: Armthorpe aim for kick-start in FA Cup, Rossington Main eye top half finish

James Handley scores Armthorpe Welfare's equaliser against Harworth Colliery.
James Handley scores Armthorpe Welfare's equaliser against Harworth Colliery.

The new NCEL season starts this weekend and Armthorpe Welfare are aiming to bounce back to the Premier Division at the first attempt.

But what Welfare hope to be a promotion campaign will be put on hold for a few days with the opening league fixture coming at Church Street against Eccleshill United on Tuesday evening.

Michael Carmody’s side start their season on Saturday in the FA Cup when Premier Division outfit Liversedge visit Church Street for an extra-preliminary round tie.

And, while promotion is Carmody’s priority, the Welfare boss is well aware of the importance that a good cup run can bring in terms of financial rewards.

Liversedge did the league double over Welfare last term, putting ten goals past them in the process, which included a 5-2 victory at Church Street so Carmody will feel they have a score to settle against the West Yorkshire side.

Welfare rounded off their pre-season campaign by coming from 2-0 down at Harworth Colliery to force a 2-2 draw with James Handley netting twice inside the last eight minutes.

It has certainly been a busy summer for Carmody.

Importantly the Welfare boss has hung on to some vital cogs in the wheel if instant promotion is to be achieved.

Striker Liam Radford, who hit 12 goals last term, has decided to stay at Armthorpe despite interest from other clubs.

Another striker, Darren Mansaram, has also stayed on and is sure to be a handful for Division One defences, while frontman Stuart Preston, defender Craig Morley and winger Tom McLaughlin also agreed to extend their already lengthy spells at the club. Central defender Steve Garner has looked sharp in pre-season and he will be looking to put last season’s injury problems behind him.

Amongst the new arrivals are former Selby Town and Bridlington Town goalkeeper Dave Bramley who will bring vital competition for the number one spot with Adam Stevens.

Young striker Ben Silburn has arrived from Winterton Rangers, Ollerton Town’s top scorer from last season Josh Bowkitt gives Carmody even more attacking options, while midfielder Josh Dodd joins from Ollerton along with ex-Selby Town midfielder Wayne Brook.

Chris Glarvey faces his first full season in charge at Rossington Main after replacing Lee Holmes in November and guiding the club to a respectable 15th place in Division One.

Glarvey will be hoping to get Main into the top half of the table.

They start with a trip to Campion who finished eighth last term.

Rossington were beaten 5-3 in the corresponding fixture last season despite twice leading.

After that it is a case of a trip into the unknown with successive games against league newcomers FC Bolsover and East Yorkshire Carnegie.

The first of the two eagerly anticipated local derbies against Armthorpe is at Church Street in mid-September with the return fixture at Oxford Street at the end of November.

Maltby Main are also in FA Cup action this weekend with a trip to North West Counties side Cammell Laird.

It has been a turbulent summer for the Miners with the departure of manager Spencer Fearn to Frickley Athletic.

Maltby appointed Jordan Hall to the hot seat in May but he then quit at the end of June citing increasing work commitments.

Mark Askwith and Scott Mason were then appointed joint managers.