Newark Flowserve forced to battle against Barrow Town in the East Midlands Counties League
Two away goals, a clean sheet, and their promotion rivals held to a draw at home made it a good day out by anyone’s standards, and with that, Newark Flowserve took a major step towards step-five football with their win at Barrow Town.
Nine points from their remaining four games in the East Midlands Counties League will see Newark football take another step towards national glory through the Lowfields outfit, and the celebrations will be long and joyous should that be achieved.
Some of the football played by The Highwaymen this season has been a joy to behold, but the match at Leicestershire’s Riverside Park was of the sleeves rolled up variety, requiring blood and sweat to spare the tears.
Suspended Jack Beckett and skipper Tom Potts watched from the sidelines, along with the injured Danny Meadows and Daryl Price, and Will Rawdon will be among their number following a red as a result of two yellow cards, but still the points keep mounting as the town continues to dream.
Joe Searson returned in goal, Nathan Kelly wore the number seven shirt on his first start for the club since joining from Clifton All Whites, and Sam Agar made a surprise return to the fold, while former skipper James Cullingworth was on the bench.
The game was less than a minute old when Sol Miller put in a cross from the left and Elliot King rose unmarked to thump a header against the crossbar with the keeper beaten.
The club’s top-scorer, Agar, cut in from the left and fired over the bar to signal his intent on his return to first team action.
It was a powerful start from the visitors as they looked to make early inroads against a Barrow side that they had scored 11 goals against in just three days in November.
A 6-0 victory in the reverse fixture was followed by a 5-0 League Cup success, but Barrow hoofed and flapped while Flowserve huffed and puffed in a goalless first-half.
It was going to take something special to break the deadlock, and it came in the 69th minute when Agar spectacularly retrieved a seemingly lost opportunity on the left-hand of the area with an overhead kick.
The ball struck a home hand and the referee pointed to the spot to the huge delight of the travelling supporters who formed the majority of an attendance of 84.
Tyrell Shannon-Lewis showed great composure with the crucial penalty to slot home his 24th goal of the season as the goalkeeper guessed wrong.
In terms of noteworthy additions to the action, Rawdon picked up two yellow cards to leave Flowserve with ten men for the last five minutes of normal time, and then Agar added a second goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time — his 34th of the campaign — to make the points safe.
Sherwood Colliery’s 0-0 draw at home to Eastwood Community leaves them seven points adrift in the title race to add the sweetener to the victory.
Meanwhile, the battle for first continues as leaders Selston — who sit seven points clear — ran out 2-0 winner against Kimberley Miners’ Welfare thanks to goals in either half by Rhys Dolan.
Flowserve are on the road again on Saturday as they face Belper United (3pm kick-off).
Newark Flowserve Reserves’ fixture was called off with 24-hours notice as Ravenshead Reserves failed to put a side together, despite having more than 50 players registered.
The fixtureless gameweek gave Notts Senior League Division Two title rivals AFC Top Valley and Ruddington Village Reserves a chance to extend their respective leads, and both sides took full advantage.
The reserves travelled to Elston United last night and will face Clifton All Whites Development at home on Saturday as they play catch up.
Bingham’s run goes on
Bingham Town reduced the gap at the top of the Notts Senior League to two points.
Their 3-1 win over Magdala Amateurs confirmed second place spot above the relentless chasing pack, while leaders Stapleford Town were inactive, but with a three-game advantage on Bingham, the title is all but guaranteed.
James Keen put Bingham ahead but they let The Budgies back into it through Toby Sewell.
Two Jake Hardy goals, in the closing stages of each half, followed, as the hosts sealed the points.
A solitary Matthew James strike saw Aslockton And Orston sneak past strugglers Radcliffe Olympic 1-0 .
A strong run in from Aslockton could see them creep into the top five.
Goals from Jonny Nussey and Oliver Clarke guided Southwell City to the league cup final.
Having beaten Aslockton 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Notts Senior League Cup, Southwell will face champions elect Stapleford Town on May 18, after they scraped past Beeston 4-3.
It was a fiery mid-week affair and Southwell got off the perfect start as they went 1-0 up after six minutes.
Nussey was in the right place at the right time as Will Stocks’ tame effort from the edge of the box fell into his path and he fired past the Aslockton keeper from six yards out.
The goal failed to open things up and a cagey 40 minutes followed as chances came at a premium, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the near 200 Southwell fans in attendance.
The second-half made for entertaining viewing as good passing moves from both sides saw chances go either way.
The two sides had already met twice before in the league and on both occasions there were seven-goals, each side taking a 4-3 away wins.
This game had the chances to follow in that mould, but the half-chances weren’t being taken.
In the 66th minute, the biggest chance of the half presented itself, and it was in favour of the hosts, Southwell.
Stocks beat his man with a clever piece of skill and rolled the ball into the path of Calum Law, but his right-footed shot flew well over.
Minutes later Southwell made their first change and to manager Jonny Upton’s delight, his side’s lead was doubled.
The scorer, Oliver Clarke, beats his marker for pace and lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper.
Aslockton almost made a nervy end to the game, but heroic defending from Dan Brown saw him catch up with the ex-Premier League striker Julian Joachim, to deny him an open net.
And Southwell haven’t given up on a top three finish either, having beaten Eastwood CFC Development 3-0 on Saturday.
William Stocks, Bradley Peace-McDonald and Anthony Brown were the Southwell scorers.
Last night, they saw off Radcliffe Olympic.
Fighting for second spot
Collingham pushed Retford to the 25th gameweek in the Central Midlands League North Division, before they were crowned champions.
Retford were handed promotion to step-six with their 4-0 win over Appleby Frodingham and were beaten just once this season, and that was at the hands of Collingham.
And on Saturday, the Station Road side comfortably saw off AFC Bentley with a 4-1 win.
Two goals in the first half-hour from George Asplin and Callum Ward set them on their way.
Ash Evans pulled one back for Bentley in the 83rd minute, but Asplin struck back a minute later and impressively completed his hat-trick a minute from time.
With just one point between Clay Cross Town and Collingham, the race for second place will go into the final gameweek.
Collingham are out of action on Saturday as Newark Town occupy Station Road for their clash with Dronfield Town Reserves (3pm kick-off).