York City Ladies have their penultimate league game of the season when taking on title-favourites Norton & Stockton Ancients at the Norton Spots Complex, Station Road this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Their opponents currently top the North East Regional Premier League on goal-difference from Durham Cestria – but with a couple of games in hand and only three fixtures now remaining.
However, having triumphed in each of their opening twelve league matches, Norton finally witnessed that 100% record ended by their nearest challengers following a 2-2 home draw just over a week ago.
And for good measure, Cestria then defeated them 2-0 in the League Cup final in Willberfoss, York at the weekend. Ancients keeper Rachel Chisnall receiving a red card in that tie.
Photo: Ian Parker
Belles goalscorer Nikki Brown (10) celebrates with Lindsay Jordan and Sara Renfrew
Nevertheless four points from their remaining games would be sufficient for Norton to lift the title. They are still to visit both Hartlepool United and Farsley Celtic, who are third and fourth in the table respectively.
The Minsterbelles were defeated 3-0 when the two clubs met in the reverse fixture at Haxby Road back in November. Sian Williams scored twice for the visitors during the opening half-hour and Courtney Corrie added another prior to the interval.
But City’s form has certainly picked up over the second-half of their campaign, and they currently boast six victories in their last eight games in all competitions.
Those include the 11-1 thrashing of Wallsend BC last time out, having also blasted thirteen goals without reply past Wakefield in their preceding home game; although York are still to pick up a single point against any of the current top three in the table.
Photo: Ian Parker
Striker Alice Turner fires in a shot during the recent heavy defeat of Wakefield
Even so, the Belles secured a 2-1 triumph in the corresponding game last season courtesy of Megan Bramham’s fine double – a result that effectively cost their hosts the title and with it shattered hopes of an immediate return to the Women’s Premier League.
York can still make fifth place in the division this time around, but will probably have to defeat either Norton or Farsley (A) in their final outing to overhaul RACA Tynedale.
Alternatively a couple of draws could be enough depending on how Tynedale do when travelling to Durham in their single remaining fixture at the weekend.
Photos by kind permission of Ian Parker