Northern Counties East Football League forced to scrap play-offs

Stocksbridge Park Steels manager Chris Hilton (left) with new signing striker Aaron Moxam - Photo courtesy of SPSFC
Stocksbridge Park Steels manager Chris Hilton (left) with new signing striker Aaron Moxam - Photo courtesy of SPSFC

It was announced at the Northern Counties East League’s recent AGM that they were being forced to scrap the hugely popular Division One play-offs by the FA’s League committee.

Across Step 6 only NCEL and NWCL have the play-offs in place. It is understood the FA , who are restructuring the non-league pyramid, want a more uniformed level.

Surely though there could had been a way of keeping the play-offs in place and indeed insist all the leagues at Step 6 to have play-offs, after all they are are now part of English football at both professional and semi-professional level.

The play-offs have proved very successful since being introduced at the start of the 2015/16 season helping keeping the season alive for many clubs and helping bringing in extra revenue through bigger gates particularly in the latter part of the season.

However, it could now mean for many teams that come early in the New Year the season could well be over, which will inevitably lead to dwindling gates and loss of revenue.

The FA League Committee released a statement explaining its decision in which it said: “The National League system has been restructured following the completion of the 2017/18 season. Additional divisions have been created at Step 3 (one division), Step 4 (one division) and step 6 (two divisions).. As part of the structural changes the FALC has standardised and, in some instances reduced, the numbers of clubs per divisional order to create consistency and reduced the need for midweek travel.”

The statement in full can be viewed on the FA’s or NCEL website.

Meanwhile, the draw for the first two rounds of the Toolstation NCEL Cup have been made.

The first round round which consists of just four ties and sees Division One clubs only, is as follows: Shirebrook Town v Rossington Main, East Yorkshire Carnegie v Ollerton Town, Parkgate v Campion and Harworth Colliery v Winterton Rangers.

Round Two: Penistone Church v Harrogate RA, Yorkshire Amateur v Handsworth Parramore, Maltby Main v Glasshoughton Welfare, Bridlington Town v Goole AFC

n Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton has started his rebuilding job after landing his number one summer target striker Aaron Moxam.

Moxam hit 39 goals last term having started last season with Handsworth Parramore before moving to Pontefract Collieries where his goals helped fire Cols to the NCEL Premier Division championship.

Moxam has been a prolific scorer over the past few seasons and will more than make up for the loss of Steels top scorer Joe Lumsden who moved to fellow Evo-Stik League One side Tadcaster Albion last month.

Hilton is also expected to unveil a new goalkeeper in the next week to replace Davis Reay who has left the Bracken Moor club along with his brother Mart Reay to sign for NCEL side Worksop Town

n Rossington Main have announced that former Worksop Town manager Duncan Milligan has been handed the reins at Oxford Street.

He replaces Lee Danysz who left the club by mutual consent last month.

Chairman Carl Stokes however sees Milligan has the man to drive Main forward said:. “The committee and I believe Duncan is the man to take the club forwards and will be given time to develop the squad and youth system.”

n Bolsover FC have confirmed that Matt Chatfield will be their new manager as they prepare for their second season in the NCEL Division One.

Chatfield’s predecessor Adam Valante has agreed to stay on at the club as one of two first-team coaches alongside Tony Wigfull