The end of the NCEL Premier Division season is very close as Hall Road Rangers play their final game of the season on Saturday as they welcome Pickering Town to Haworth Park. Pickering sit in 3rd place in the table and still have the opportunity to move above 2nd placed AFC Mansfield if they take advantage of the games in hand they have and put themselves into the second promotion place below title winners Pontefract Collieries.
Depending on how Pickering get on at Barton on Thursday they may only need a point to secure promotion if they win but they will want to get the win anyway just to make sure they’ve covered all eventualities. However, Rangers will be out to try and spoil Pickering’s promotion push and to pick up points of their own as they look to push up the table and finish the season in a higher position.
If Rangers beat Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Thursday and then pick up a positive result against Pickering on Saturday they could finish as high as 16th depending on how other results go but they as always will be more concerned about what they do themselves.
The previous meeting of these two sides came back in September as they played out a 1-1 draw. Chris Spinks grabbed a very late equaliser to earn Rangers a point and cancelled out Daniel Gray’s opener. Hall Road have recently had a lot of tiredness creep into their play but that is very understandable given the amount of energy they put into last week’s sensational form which culminated in them clinching their NCEL Premier Division status for another season.
Pickering could capitalise on this on Saturday as their ranks contain the league’s top goal scorer in Ryan Blott who has 45 goals to his name. He is the main man to keep quiet from a Rangers perspective and if they are successful in doing so then they will have a very good chance of getting something from the game. Another highly rated player in the Pickering ranks is young goalkeeper Charlie Andrew who has put in some impressive performances between the sticks in previous matches and he will co conclude his spell of work experience from Hull City on Saturday.
It is all set up to be a thrilling afternoon at Haworth Park on Saturday and the crowd numbers will be expected to be high as Pickering will bring a raft of support. It won’t be surprising to see some representation from AFC Mansfield as well as they will be cheering Rangers on as they look to curtail Pickering’s chance to seal their promotion.
Match Preview by Oliver Harsley