NCEL: Armthorpe Welfare offer hope with champion display

Craig Morley was on the scoresheet for Armthorpe but then went off injured just before half time.
Craig Morley was on the scoresheet for Armthorpe but then went off injured just before half time.

Relegated Armthorpe Welfare offered hope for next season by putting in a sterling performance against Premier Division champions and FA Vase finalists Cleethorpes Town.

The visitors had won their last eight league outings on the spin, helping them win the league title by a comfortable 11-point margin over second-placed Pickering Town.

Yet Armthorpe gave them a real run for their money in their final game and were only five minutes away from gaining a very creditable draw before going down 2-1.

Mike Carmody’s side rocked the champions by taking a 13th minute lead. Brad Johnston’s corner saw Jack Waldron get in a decent header which struck a defender but Craig Morley tucked away the rebound.

With injuries to goalkeepers Liam Copley, Adam Stevens and Will Biggs, Armthorpe were forced to draft in an emergency keeper in the experienced Mark Sanderson and the veteran made a superb save on the half hour mark by tipping Marc Cooper’s effort over the crossbar.

His opposite number also made a telling save to deny Liam Radford giving Armthorpe a 2-0 lead.

Welfare suffered a blow three minutes before the break when they lost scorer Morley, who had been having effective game holding the ball up well up front.

Just five minutes into the second half Cleethorpes levelled when a long ball over the top was misjudged by Josh Gibons which allowed Cooper to get in and beat Sanderson with low strike.

There were half chances at both ends but the game looked to be drifting towards a draw when Cleethorpes snatched the winner on 85 minutes. A crossfield pass picked out Cooper on the angle of the area who drilled a shot across Sanderson into the far corner.

It was a little harsh on Armthorpe but what mattered most was the performance and character shown by Carmody’s players, many of whom have already indicated they want to stay around and fight for the club.