West Yorkshire League: Ripon and Boroughbridge prepare for relegation derby battle

NARG 1501031AM4 Boroughbridge V Bardsey. Boroughbridge's Ryan Priestman and Bardsey's Micky Seed.  (1501031AM4)
NARG 1501031AM4 Boroughbridge V Bardsey. Boroughbridge's Ryan Priestman and Bardsey's Micky Seed. (1501031AM4)

Boroughbridge host local rivals and fellow relegation candidates Ripon City on Saturday in a derby both managers have described as ‘make or break’.

The two teams find themselves occupying the bottom two spots in the West Yorkshire Premier Division after enduring similarly dismal campaigns.

Boroughbridge are currently just two points above their North Yorkshire rivals, having picked up three wins against East End Park, Knaresborough Town Reserves and Otley Town.

However, Daz Ekin’s side have only managed 15 goals this season, the lowest in the league and are six points from safety.

Ekin described the fixture as a ‘winner takes all game’ with the loser ‘more than likely’ facing the prospect of relegation.

He said: “It’s not a big game, it’s a massive game. Steve (Donoghue) realises that as both teams want to stay in the Premier Division.

“Some of our players think they are better than what they are but the league table does not lie. If you are bottom it’s because of one reason we need to change that quickly.

“If we beat Ripon and then go on to beat Brighouse then that puts us into a position where might be able to get out of it because we have to play Brighouse again.”

Ekin’s side crashed out of the West Yorkshire League Cup on Saturday at the first hurdle, losing 6-2 away at lower league Stanley United.

Ripon City also come in to the derby on the back of a defeat after losing 4-0 at home to high-flying Leeds City on Saturday.

Steve Donoghue’s side are bottom of the division with just seven points and two wins this season, following a disappointing start under former manager Alistair Hogg.

Ripon have only managed league wins against East End Park and Robin Hood Athletic and have conceded a league high of 67 goals in just 16 games.

Donoghue echoed Ekin’s views on the decisive clash, adding that he would be ‘surprised’ if his managerial counterpart could remember a derby game ‘so important’.

He said: “The match is going to define our season because if we lose then we are stranded as East End have had some good results lately.

“These games are normally about bragging rights and that kind of thing but honestly, there’s far more than that this time.

“It would be very naive to say there’s no pressure but it’s the kind the players will want. If we were mid table then all the supporters would still be enjoying the rivalry but it’s bigger than that this time.”