Goole AFC 6 vs Kidsgrove Athletic 2 Don't let anyone write the Vikings' chances of the play-offs just yet! They crept back into the last spot on Saturday courtesy of a massive win over lowly Kidsgrove Athletic at a bitterly cold Victoria Pleasure Grounds, but in scoring six goals for the first time in the UniBond League they warmed their supporters and more importantly in a desperately tight looking scrap for those coveted end of season places, they improved their goal difference which looks likely to be decisive. Although they have always managed to score in most games this term, Goole have been guilty of missing chances, but despite the malaise afflicting them once more in some respects they did score six. Karl Rose;s first goal in three and a half months gave them a 20th minute lead, the visitors livid at what they thought was a flag for offside, when in truth the assistant was signalling a free kick for Goole which he thought the referee had missed, but who was instead playing advantage. However, Goole's vulnerability of late in defence, minus Liam Chapman and manager Nigel Danby, saw the visitors level through a powerful close range header from Stephen Jones, although it has to be said it was an excellent cross from the dead ball line. Goole restored their lead on 43 minutes with a well placed direct free kick from Duncan Bray, his 17th goal of the campaign, and how the Vikings miss him when he is not there. Right on half time, a little breathing space too as Steve Rollinson was on hand almost on the goal line to shepherd Andrew Jackson's shot into the net. The cushion was needed though as during the interval, the weather deteriorated as the wind increased into the faces of the Goole side, and Kidsgrove pulled one back in a strong start to the half when Chris Jenkinson was adjudged to have handled a shot from Michael Lennon and Richard Eyre just beat Craig Parry from the spot. Lennon's trickery for Kidsgrove threatened more pain briefly, but Goole rolled up their sleeves and Bray made it 4-2 when he finished coolly from James McDaid's excellently weighted cross and then in a strong finish from the home side, substitute Chris Tate used all his experience and a cool head to beat Coates for 5-2 and then Bray's shot on the turn ballooned off the head of a defender for 6-2 in an excellent finish from the home team. It was the perfect fillip for this afternoon's local 'derby' at Brigg, and they face a return game at Kidsgrove on Saturday as they strive for a big finale to the campaign.
Bray hat-trick aids vikings - Goole AFC vs 3 Alsager Town 1 In a game completely dominated by the gale force wind making any kind of football impossible, Goole AFC nevertheless deserved to strengthen their play-off hopes with a win over Alsager Town at the Victoria Pleasure Ground. However, it is highly likely that visiting keeper Danny Roberts will want to forget his first visit to the Pleasure Grounds, as he was responsible for all three Vikings goals and the grateful recipient was striker Duncan Bray, who scored his first hat-trick for the club on his return from a one match ban. A swirling wind perhaps just favoured the Vikings in the first half although chances were few and far between, although Joe Brown, in only his third full game did have two decent openings but snatched his shot on both occasions and they went harmlessly wide, however Brown did shine in the first half before his surprising substitution early in the second. Goole broke through on 31 minutes when good vision by keeper Craig Parry saw a two against two situation up field and his long kick caused confusion between defender Steve Elks and keeper Roberts and the ball broke for Bray to run the ball into the empty net. However Alsager levelled six minutes later when a rare mistake by Goole's excellent keeper Parry who missed his punch allowed Elks to atone for his part in the Goole goal by snatching the equaliser. After the break, Goole rallied well and they dominated proceedings for the most part, but will be grateful to Roberts' misdemeanours. The lead was regained on 59 minutes when Bray's free kick appeared to slip under the body of the keeper, who was unable to pull it back as it staggered over the line. The introduction of Chris Tate livened Goole further although they had a scare on 71 minutes wen Chris Budrys shot against the outside of the post as a cross was allowed to drop invitingly in the penalty area. However the win was confirmed eight minutes from time when Bray's shot from 18 yards again squirmed under Roberts' body, who really should have done better to keep a well hit, but hardly powerful shot out. Goole nearly added a fourth in injury time when Tate was inches away from Rollinson's ball into the area, but it was the perfect start to a hectic fortnight for the club starting at Gresley tuesday night and then next Saturday when a crowd of approximately 1500 is expected to see the Presidents Cup semi final with FC United at the VPG, the Manchester side reinstated to the competition after Nantwich field an ineligible player in the quarter final win.
Goole AFC vs 2 Wakefield 1 The Vikings dug deep with 10 men once more to clinch a place in the semi final of the UniBond Presidents Cup after a narrow 2-1 win over Wakefield at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds on Saturday. However after the visitors had equalised early in the second half, and then Goole had Steve Rollinson sent off on the hour, it appeared as if Ronnie Glavin's side would go on and knock the in-form home side out, however much of the Vikings' recent run of form has been built on a terrific work ethic and togetherness and after taking the lead for a second time through Danny Buttle they held on, and in fact did so comfortably enough. A largely quiet first half was highlighted by a candidate for goal of the season from Chris Jenkinson, who hit a stinging 25 yard volley which left Andy Woods clutching at thin air. Otherwise chances were few and far between with Wakefield busy and industrious until the final third of the field where they lacked a spark. Chris Tate, in his first full game for 18 months, showed glimpses of how important he will be to the Vikings in their promotion chase, and one delightful ball for Danny Buttle nearly brought a second for the home side. However, the second half started with the visitors in complete control and they equalised through Chris Hitchings after a slip by Jenkinson on half way allowed Bobby Stevenson to race clear and eventually cross. And when Howarth struck the post minutes later, and Rollinson was dismissed, Goole who also lost Liam Chapman with a broken nose on half time, were rocking. However substItute Karl Rose, on for Tate, then did ever so well on the right hand side in an isolated raid and his cross was turned home by Buttle at the near post. Goole gained confidence from this and hit the upright themselves through Bray, and generally held on well in the closing minutes despite Craig Laight having two reasonable chances to force extra time, but Craig Parry was equal to two headers from good positions. A delighted Nigel Danby said afterwards: " We have done ever so well to recover from those early second half blows, and it shows the spirit, fight and commitment from a good set of lads."
Goole AFC 2 vs Warrington Town 1 Wins against Warrington have never been easy to achieve for the Vikings, one in six prior to Saturday so the three points gained from a largely scrappy encounter at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds were more than welcome and lifted them into third place in UniBond League One South. Two goals in the first 20 minutes of the liveliest action of the match did the job, although they had to endure a nervy last eight minutes when the Cheshire side pilled a goal back as reward for their improved second half. The first 45 minutes could have brought an avalanche of goals for Goole against a Warrington defence which looked anything but assured. Duncan Bray took advantage of such lethargy when he reacted well to a ball allowed to bounce from a long clearance and he beat Shane McWeeney with ease. Three minutes later, and this time another long ball forward, this time saw the visitors' centre half Tony Dunne lob past his own keeper for a bizarre own goal under no pressure. Warrington were staring down the barrel it seemed at a heavy defeat, but they survived hairy moments, none more so than a couple of Danny Buttle thunderbolts which looked destined for goal, but on both occasions were blocked, the first deflected wide with the keeper going the wrong way, and the second could have been a penalty as it appeared to strike Brown's hand, but the referee waved aside the claims, as he did at the other end when a shot by Lamb seemed to strike Nigel Danby's hand. The warnings of a recovery from Warrington were therejust before the break when Craig Parry made a brilliant save from Brown. In the second half, the visitors had plenty of the ball, but they had left their shooting boots in Cheshire it seemed, numerous shots from distance threatening the road traffic outside the ground rather than keeper Parry. Chances were scarce at the other end too, although Andy Jackson went close, and Bray had a goal disallowed for offside. However eventually Warrington did ensure a nervous end when Spearritt netted from a rebound after Parry had done well to save from Lamb' well struck free kick, but despite four minutes of added on time, the points remained in Goole's pocket and their play-off hopes strengthen by the week, and if they can put another run of unbeaten matches together as they did in October and November, who knows they could go up automatically - Goole continue to bloom.
Spalding United 2 vs Goole AFC 3 The scoreline may look close, but the Vikings strengthened their play-off credentials once more in UniBond League One South with victory at Spalding on Saturday. However there is never anything quite routine for Nigel Danby's side, for they had to play 82 minutes of the match with 10 men after Craig Marsh's league debut was cut short in an altercation with Danny Hargreaves, which on the intervention of the assistant referee was deemed serious enough to warrant a red card, apparently for a head butt. However, even with 10 men, Goole dominated the next half hour and with James McDaid back in a red shirt for the first time since re-signing from Harrogate Railway, it was he and fellow midfielder Andrew Jackson, who opened up the Tulips' defence on numerous occasions. And it was McDaid, who shot his side in front on the quarter hour mark with an instant first time angled volley from a partial clearance, which went in off the inside of the far post. And four minutes later only a desperate clearance by the keeper off his own line denied a second, after he miskicked a back pass by Pawson. Brad Hill made it two for the Vikings on 35 minutes when he rose cleanly at a McDaid corner to head home from close range. The home side retaliated before the break with Luke Forbes shooting home with Craig Parry seemingly unsighted in the Goole goal. In the second half, it was largely a midfield scrap which Goole always had control of, but it was only when they made their substitutions that they made the game safe with Steve Rollinson netting the third when he ran onto a delightful through ball by Jackson and placed his shot past Pledger. Player parity was restored in the 73rd minute when Gary Pawson, who had just been booked minutes before, then appeared to kick James O'Neill on the floor, and he didn't wait to see his fate from referee Guest. Goole were more than happy to see out time with Karl Rose missing a golden chance to make it 4-1 before three minutes into injury time, Spalding won a penalty when Hill brought down Pritchard, who got up to beat Parry from the spot, but that was the last kick of the game and the home side's disastrous home form, just two points from 13 games, continued as Goole, with results elsewhere around them going well, are looking a good bet for the end of season play-offs.