Morley Town AFC celebrated long into the night as they toasted promotion into the Premier Division with a 2-1 defeat of Leeds Medics Reserves.
Town teetered on the brink of missing out on second place with three defeats in four in early April, but showed plenty of character to secure a crucial win over their closest challengers – knowing that only a win would do.
Aiden Philip calmed nerves at Glen Road with a 19th-minute opener, although they would be shredded shortly after by a penalty miss and Sverrir Kristennson’s equaliser on 28 minutes. Matthew Ibbotson’s winner 15 minutes from time sparked elation as Town ended their three-year stay in the second tier.
There is no shame in coming second to Drighlington, who dispatched Wortley 5-1 at the weekend, and the top two face each other in a fitting season finalé on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mount St Mary’s – promotion contenders for much of the campaign – saw their 4-1 defeat of Shire Academics come as too little, too late.
Likewise, the Division One season ended in dramatic fashion as a quirk of administrative fate meant that Gildersome Spurs needed a draw on the final day to put the seal on promotion.
Despite being as good as crowned champions, a six-point deduction for inadvertently fielding an ineligible player meant Gildersome’s thrilling 4-4 draw with Horsforth St Margaret’s was a white-knuckle affair.
This even as they were 4-0 up at half-time – through two Mike Hall goals and efforts from Adi McCormack and Steve Wales.
They shipped four goals in the second half alone, with Callum Walker and Nico McDonald both netting twice, but the point they earned would be enough.
In the Premier Division, Farnley Sports couldn’t have asked for better preparation for their Marflitt Trophy final date than a 4-3 win over Leeds Medics.
This fine season may be drawing to a close for most teams in the Yorkshire Amateur system but Farnley’s is only just beginning as they play the first of two cup finals against Farsley Celtic Juniors this evening at Liversedge; to be followed closely by the final of the Old Boys’ Shield.
Farsley, who wrapped up the Premier Division title last weekend, will be a stern test, but Scott Horner’s side will go into the game full of confidence after their deserved Weetwood win. Medics raced into a sixth-minute lead with a Francisco Matos goal only for two goals in three minutes from Mark Ferguson to push the visitors in front on the half-hour mark.
Joe Cryer’s corner picked out unmarked Andy Punter perfectly and crucially extended the advantage to 3-1, which Shane Gaunt added to with a looping header on 60 minutes.
Kieron Wardman converted both late penalties, but this could not avert a rare home defeat for the Medics, who looked fatigued on the day but have nonetheless enjoyed another strong season under Steve Ledger, keeping up challenges in several competitions despite availability issues throughout.
Despite their inability to take advantage of games in hand last month, Alwoodley have ended the season on a high and will go into the summer with the scalp of champions Farsley Celtic Juniors.
Celtic were beaten 2-1 at Bradford Academy, just their third defeat on home soil in as many seasons, although they rested top scorer Danny Lyons with this evening’s final in mind.
A five-minute burst in the first half saw Alwoodley impose themselves, as Rob Oxley struck in the 21st minute and Dan Whincup once again in the 26th.
Alwoodley’s penalty hoodoo continued – their ninth miss in 13 attempts this season – and this knocked Farsley off their stride as they also erred from the spot after the break.
The excellent Louis Surtees made himself a late entry on the scoresheet but his side couldn’t make any further inroads into the visitors’ defence.
Meanwhile, Grangefield Old Boys end the season as one of the form teams in the top flight and they beat Stanningley 4-2 to seal a top six spot.
Despite George Rutherford’s best effort of a brace, two goals from Nick Smith, Grant Jackson and midfield maestro Andy Kenyon gave Grangefield the local bragging rights.
St Nicholas and Stanley United produced an entertaining 2-2 draw at Oakwood Lane despite neither team have anything to play for in the closing rounds.
Dean Powell and Stuart Davies gave Stanley the lead on two occasions but both goals were cancelled out by efforts from Mark Hill, with his first a fine strike from 30 yards.