March 30, 2009
FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson backed his resolute Rebels to squeeze into the UniBond premier play-offs after seeing them step up their dramatic late promotion push by winning a see-saw battle at Marine.
Two Carl Lomax goals proved decisive in giving Marginson's men a hard-fought 3-2 victory after they'd allowed the mid-table Mariners to storm back from trailing to Simon Carden's 32nd minute opener to briefly lead 2-1. The win in Crosby takes FC up to sixth and to within a point of a play-off place with just five games remaining.
Said Marginson: "We had to dig deep, but we've got players who can do that and, when we perform, I feel we can get a positive result every time."
Meanwhile, Altrincham skipper Robbie Lawton admitted to feeling a mixture of elation and frustration after the Robins had succeeded in holding visiting promotion hopefuls Crawley to move tantalisingly close to guaranteeing their Blue Square North survival.
Michael Welch's goal-of-the-season contender - a 70-yard wonder-strike - and a Shaun Densmore volley secured Alty a 2-2 draw which means they're now just one win away from hitting boss Graham Heathcote's 50-point safety target with eight games still to go.
Elsewhere, seemingly relegation-bound Northwich showed they at least intend to go down fighting as they beat Rushden 4-2 to give caretaker-manager Andy Preece his first win in seven games. Vics made hard work of it after allowing the ten-man visitors to wipe out Joel Byrom's two-goal opening salvo but eventually triumphed with Byrom completing his hat-trick before Luke Joyce rounded off the scoring.
Stalybridge and Droylsden each suffered big promotion set-backs, with the Celts slipping out of the play-off places in crashing 1-0 at King's Lynn while the Bloods tumbled 2-0 at Telford to remain six points adrift of their Bower Fold neighbours.
Dejected Hyde United player-chief Neil Tolson conceded relegation's looming large for his troubled Tigers after they'd handed Harrogate a two-goal start before eventually succumbing 3-2 to the visiting Yorkshiremen.
"This was a game we had to win, but gifting Harrogate a two-goal lead left us with an impossible mountain to climb," he said.
Ashton United can kiss goodbye to the UniBond premier play-offs after going down 2-0 at home to Frickley.