NCEL BLOG: Shaw Lane spoiled Worksop and Tadcaster’s party, but it can still be a day to remember

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It was fun while it lasted.

The NCEL Premier title race almost went the full distance, and almost provided us with an unbearably tense three-way shootout for the championship.

Had Shaw Lane drawn on Tuesday night at home to Cleethorpes, then they, Worksop and Tadcaster would have been going to bed tonight with dreams of glory and promotion.

But Aquaforce ruined it for everyone, except themselves, by turning on the style to beat the Owls 3-1, thus bringing to a close what has been an intriguing contest.

Credit must go to the champions, because the table doesn’t lie. They’ve been the best team, albeit by a small margin, all season.

Worksop and Tadcaster will both feel it was at one stage in their hands, and Cleethorpes will be thrilled to have stayed in the hunt for so long – but the time for post mortems is next week.

First comes a fixture that could have meant everything: Tadcaster Albion versus Worksop Town.

There could have been no better way for either side to win the title, than in the season finale.

But victory tomorrow will still mean so much to these two sides.

Tigers boss Mark Shaw wants to finish second, and he wants to do it by beating Tadcaster.

Similarly, Paul Marshall won’t be telling his lads they can ease up and consider this game a dead rubber.

In the backs of the minds of the most optimistic Tigers and Taddy fans, there’s always the possibility that another topsy turvy summer of non league football pyramid restructure could see the second placed team in the NCEL Premier promoted.

Should both teams remain in this division, you’d expect them to be fighting it out at the top again, and tomorrow is a chance to snatch bragging rights, finish the season on a high and perhaps even strike a psychological blow to your 2015/16 promotion rivals.

You can add a big crowd to the mix. Worksop, the best supported side in the division, are taking two coaches to the second best attended side in the division.

No one wants to lose face when there’s a bumper attendance.

And two good sides should put on a good game, there are gifted footballers in both squads.

Tom Elliott is in good form for Worksop, with Adam Ward and James Cottingham emerging as real talents in recent weeks.

For Albion, Callum Ward, Josh Greening and David Brown have all hit the net four times in the final month of the season.

The last encounter between the sides was a bad tempered one, with plenty of action thrown in.

With any luck this affair will be remembered for football fit to grace a higher standard.

The title may be won, the sun may not shine on the i2i Stadium tomorrow and the two sides may not see eye to eye, but with second place and pride at stake we could be in for a cracker.