Colburn Town clinched the Wensleydale Creamery League title on Saturday after a hectic week of games which saw rivals Richmond Mavericks lose twice.
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Colburn hammered Mavs 5-0 on Wednesday to put themselves in prime position.
However, Mavs would still have be in the running if they had beaten Hawes at home on Saturday, but they went down 3-1.
Hawes would themselves have been in with a chance of winning the league had they not lost to Richmond Buck Inn on Wednesday, as they still have Colburn to play.
As it was, after Wednesday’s crucial win Colburn came through a tricky game against Unicorn on Saturday which they won 3-2 to ensure they could not be caught.
Back in September, Colburn manager Darren Nisbet resigned following a 4-0 loss to Catterick Garrison. The team was also deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player.
But a new manager Hammy Hamilton stepped in and Colburn have not looked back since.
Saturday’s game quickly sprang into life when Colburn’s Gary Hutchison was felled and referee John McGuinness pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Callum Sheridan, but Colburn were only too aware of David Mutch’s penalty saving prowess from his time with them and sure enough he dived to keep out Sheridan’s attempt.
Following up, Tom Sweeney sent his shot across the goal and wide.
Undeterred, Colburn continued to press. After seven mins Ashley McInerney took a free kick from wide on the left.
Stuart Murray once again proved enough of a distraction for Uni’s back four to allow McInerney’s strike to drop into the net over a frustrated Mutch.
Three minutes later, it got even better for Colburn. Sheridan took a corner from the right, and Timmy Taylor rose above the defence to head home. 2-0 after 10 minutes, and all seemed to be going to plan for Hammy Hamilton.
But then Tommy Keegan surfaced and started pulling the strings for Unicorn.
Tim Bishop, in Colburn’s goal, was called upon to do a nifty bit of sweeping.
Next it was back up the other end, where Joe Woodall’s fierce strike from the left struck the angle of post and bar and bounced away to Mutch’s great relief.
After 25 minutes, Shane Parkinson was booked for reacting to a poor challenge, and this seemed to affect Colburn’s concentration.
There followed one of Colburn’s periods of slack defending and Uni seized the chance to halve the deficit.
Five minutes later and it was Sheridan’s turn to be yellow-carded for an over-robust challenge, not his first, which incurred the displeasure of the ref.
But Colburn then collectively gave their heads a shake and stoked up the pressure.
When a free kick was awarded outside Unicorn’s box, a quick-thinking McInerney sought permission to take a quick free kick and shot home into the far corner past a static defence.
And so Colburn went in for the interval with a 3-1 lead.
The game resumed with both sides rather subdued.
Woodall was booked for a late tackle and Hammy decided to freshen things up by sending on Craig Teasdale & Rory Wallace for Murray & Sheridan.
The next ten minutes passed without incident, then Hammy made his final change, bringing Tom Bentley on for Parkinson.
Teasdale then cut in and struck a fine shot which rose just over the bar. Next it was Sweeney pinging one wide. Almost inevitably, Uni clawed another one back, with ten minutes to go, setting up a final nervous period for Colburn. Hutchison shot wide, and then Colburn tried to see out the game.
The last few minutes lasted an age, but the final whistle went with the score 3-2.
When news filtered through that Hawes had defeated Mavs, the Colburn squad realised that the league was theirs and celebrations began in earnest.
Hawes stand-in left-back Tom Wallis burst through the Mavs back line to get the first.
In an unorthodox but effective finish, he hooked the ball with the toes of his right boot over the keeper and into the top right corner.
Tom Calvert made it two-nil. A Hawes press left the Mavs back line scrambling. Calvert pounced on a poor clearance and scored in the box.
Hawes broke the Mavs’ spirit with the third, Kory Spink neatly passing the ball into the net from six yards out after left-winger Jordan Iveson had dribbled to the bye line and crossed.
Elsewhere, Leyburn finished what has been a decent second season back in the Wensleydale league with 5-0 win over Buck Inn.
Stephen Moffit got two, while Ryan Alderson, Macauley Acton and Jack Davison got a goal a piece.
Richmnd Buck Inn 2 – 2 Unicorn FC