As the conclusion of the NCEL Premier Division season draws nearer, two sides with nothing to play for met at the Elastic FM Community Stadium.

The visitors, Athersley Recreation were planted firmly at the foot of the division with both relegation and 20th placed confirmed.

The hosts, Staveley Miners Welfare, were in 12th place and couldn't mathematically gain promotion or fall to relegation this season.

What they do have to look forward to was an NCEL League Cup Semi-Final draw that is set to be made in the coming weeks.

Despite the fantastic cup run, Pat Lindley and Jon Froggatt still named a strong side as they focused on breaking into the top-half of the division.

It was a slow start for the visitors as Staveley hit the ground running with their steady build-up play leading to promising chances. Ewan Catt down the left hand side firing a ball across the face of goal, but Declan Howe couldn't quite get onto the end of it.

Athersley weren't playing like a side with just 10 points from 35 games and their first chance came from Dominic Hart's headed clearance falling to Jack Briscoe on the edge of the area, his effort sailing over the bar.

With the two sides goalless at half-time, neither manager saw a reason to make a change. Both sides remained evenly matched as the second half got underway.

It was the hosts that broke the deadlock though, a quick one-two between Lee Thompson and Brad Jones saw the latter place the ball past Ellis Pickard from 20-yards out to score his first ever goal for the Trojans.

From this point there were only one winner as Staveley went from strength to strength. Thompson's lofted chip hit the cross bar and Howe was first to the rebound to head the ball into the empty net.

Staveley have spent the second-half of this season focusing on bringing players through from their youth set-up. This time it was the turn of Jacob Pearce to have an impact from the bench.

The youngster dribbled the ball past two players before being brought down inside the box, the referee had no hesitation to point to the spot.

Pickard guessed the right way, but Howe slotted the ball into the bottom corner for his 26th goal in all competitions.

Staveley take all three points and move up to 11th in the league, whilst the three points are always nice, the main thing will be that there were no further injury worries ahead of the cup semi-final.

Team Line-Up; Parkin, Hart, Jones, Oglesby, Kay, Thompson (Lindley), Dillingham (Pearce), Poole, Howe, Catt (Grant), Dunn.

Subs not used; Bell, Froggatt

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