NCEL: Tadcaster Albion top two spot ‘imperative’

Tadcaster Albion's Stuart Rice by Ian Parker
Tadcaster Albion's Stuart Rice by Ian Parker

Tadcaster Albion are ready to get promoted should an opportunity present itself, according to boss Paul Marshall.

Albion’s 2inspire Stadium passed the E-grade ground test set out by the Evo-Stik League last week and that would allow them to progress if they clinched the NCEL championship this year.

However, Brighouse Town’s strong form has stolen a march on the field at the top of the Premier table, and the Brewers have been left fighting for second.

Only one team will earn promotion from the NCEL Premier when the season comes to a close.

But with Wakefield, Ossett Albion and Cammell Laird all in financial strife and in danger of leaving the Evo-Stik League, Albion have sensed a window of opportunity to move up.

Marshall said: “We want to nail down the second spot because we don’t know what will happen with the teams in financial difficulties in the league above.

“That’s why it was imperative to get the ground grading, and it’s imperative that we get maximum points from both of our last games.”

Tad will match up against Barton Town Old Boys at home in their penultimate match of the campaign on Saturday.

Supporters will be given free entry and the stakes are high, with the winners likely to obtain a top-two finish when the season climaxes.

Third-placed Old Boys have pressured at the top throughout the season and almost matched Albion’s club record 24-match unbeaten streak, going 23 games without defeat.

The two sides played out a 2-2 draw earlier this season.

“Barton are a strong team,” said Marshall.

“They went 23 games unbeaten and we went 24, that shows how much of a tremendous effort both put in this year.”

Midfielder Joel Dixon is missing for Barton’s visit and Stuart Rice is likely to be sidelined after picking up an injury in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Staveley Miners Welfare.

Josh Barrett and Richard Batley both return.

Defensive lapses from the Brewers did not help Tad at Staveley, as they twice allowed the home side to level.

Rice opened the scoring on three minutes before Danny Critchlow re-took the lead just after the half-hour. Matt Sparkes put Albion ahead for a third time before Calum Ward sealed all three points in the 51st minute.

Marshall added: “Defensively, we weren’t at our best. “We gifted them two goals which was annoying because we have the meanest defence in the league.

“Losing the week before knocked people’s confidence a bit, but when we scored a couple of goals we started to realise again that you have to work hard for wins in this league.”