Shropshire Star

Market Drayton can still save themselves by downing relegation rivals

Market Drayton Town’s bid to secure North West Counties League survival is set for a nail- biting conclusion.


Drayton occupy the final relegation place in First Division South with two matches remaining – both against direct rivals.

The Gingerbread Men have two away fixtures to save their step six status, at New Mills on Saturday and a rearranged clash at Ashville on Tuesday. New Mills are, at the time of writing, directly above Rhys Evans’ Drayton, by just two points. Ashville, one place higher, are five points clear of Town.

And all Market Drayton eyes were on tlast night’s (Thursday) game-in-hand fixtures for both drop zone rivals New Mills and Ashville who, problematic weather permitting, play away and at home respectively. Should Ashville secure a win or point – thanks to a far healthier goal difference – against Abbey Hulton Town they will be unable to be caught by Drayton, leaving Saturday’s hosts New Mills as the only side the Gingerbread Men can reel in.

The league has confirmed that Town’s ex-First Division South Shropshire rivals Ellesmere Rangers – who pulled out of the league before the start of the season but after its AGM – will fill the bottom of three relegation places.

Finishing in the bottom three means clubs will be considered but does not automatically mean relegation to county feeder leagues at step seven.

The league will assess how many willing promotion-winners there are from the level below. Any relegation reprieves will be delivered on a nationwide points-per-game average.

Drayton are still hunting that vital win after last Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at high-flying Stockport Town.

Callum Jackson scored for Drayton shortly before half-time to reduce the arrears to 3-1 but the second-placed hosts netted twice in stoppage time to seal the rout.

AFC Bridgnorth will need some outside assistance if they are to be playing Midland League football next season.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Sutton United means the Crown Meadow outfit will definitely finish in the relegation places in Division One. All Bridgnorth can do now is try to climb off the bottom and hope they avoid the drop due to clubs pushing for promotion in the leagues below failing to meet ground grading requirements.

Allscott Heath travel to Stapenhill tomorrow hoping to cement their play-off place, while Shawbury United visit Wednesfield.

And in the Midland Premier, Whitchurch Alport travel to Darlaston Town and Shifnal Town visit Tividale.