Second plays third tomorrow as Bridlington Town host Tadcaster Albion in the NCEL Premier Division’s match of the day.
Our reporters take a look at what to expect from the two teams.
Ed White from the Harrogate Advertiser covers Tadcaster Albion and looks at their strengths.
There is always one team left playing catch-up in the pivotal final months of the title debate and this year it’s Tadcaster Albion’s turn.
The Brewers have fallen behind the rest after a 33-day wait for a fixture before eventually returning to action in their 3-1 victory over Brigg Town.
The time spent off the field saw the club unite with its town after floods ripped the community in two and left the clubhouse at the i2i Stadium unusable due to contamination.
The damage may have ripped the infrastructure out of the town but it has given Albion an extra spur to succeed this season, according to the club’s chairman Matthew Gore.
Tadcaster will have to navigate the challenge of playing twice a week until the end of the season, but boss Billy Miller has options across his squad to cope with the challenges.
After taking over from the legendary figure of Paul Marshall in pre-season, Miller has overhauled the squad which finished in third place last season.
Out went popular figures including Paddy Miller and Tom Claisse as the new boss brought a policy of recruiting from above.
Promotion is a must for the owners’ ambitious plans and Albion will be going all out to get itEd White
The manager brought ex-Premier League player Matt Heath with him from Harrogate Railway in the summer and the defender was appointed as the club’s assistant boss in October.
Former Bradford City youngster Adam Baker – another to swap Railway for the Brewers – has formed a lethal forward partnership with Josh Greening and Jimmy Beadle with Miller favouring the Kevin Keegan style approach of “we score more than you”.
Beadle was part of the Scarborough Athletic squad to win the Premier Division in the 2012/13 campaign and his 14 goals have been a welcome boost since moving from the Seadogs in the summer.
Albion’s ambitious owners have visions of taking the club all the way into the Football League over the next decade and they have not been backward in digging deep to secure the services of experienced pros.
Jonathan Greening’s Champions League win of 1999 headlines a list of trophies amongst the Albion squad.
Miller brought the ex-Manchester United midfielder back to the i2i at the height of the floods and he was even spotted helping supporters clear up damage from around the ground.
Albion’s title challenge dramatically went off course 12 months ago when Greening exited to take up a coaching role at York City. The 37-year-old will inevitably provide great quality in the middle of the park and will set the tempo of the Brewers’ play in the final few months.
Miller’s men have a strong record against their fellow title rivals with only one defeat from matches against the top seven – a 1-0 loss at Cleethorpes in October.
Worksop, Cleethorpes, Handsworth and Clipstone still have to travel to Tadcaster before the end of the season so strong home form will be key to any hopes of going up.
Promotion is a must for the owners’ ambitious plans and Albion will be going all out to get it.
John Edwards from the Bridlington Free Press takes a look at the Seasiders’ chances
Bridlington Town are the Leicester City of this season’s NCEL title race - it’s easy to write off their credentials but the longer they stay among the front-runners, the more serious their chances have to be taken.
In previous years, you’d have likened them to Arsenal. Lots of pretty football but a habit of getting turned over when the going got tough against the division’s more physical teams.
However, they have developed much more steel this year, proved by away wins at places like Cleethorpes, Clipstone and Handsworth that were about hard work and battling qualities as much as pretty passing.
The obvious reason to count the Seasiders out is that they have played considerably more games than all of their title rivals. However, they won’t have the prospect of playing two or three times every week towards the end of the season if winter weather takes hold in the next few weeks.
Town’s is a very young squad, but this could be as much of a strength as a weakness. Captain Tom Fleming, well known to most referees at this level, is one of only three players still involved from the squad which won the league in 2010.
Only four or five have long-term experience at NCEL level with the rest of the players being only 19 or 20 years of age. Alan Hansen might have written them off, but the youngsters appear to be relishing the job of proving people wrong.
The key figure could be manager Gary Allanson, who was in charge six years ago when Bridlington claimed the title. Things looked bleak in October when Town lost three games in a row without scoring and lost striker Lewis Clarkson to a long-term injury.
But he brought in teenager Andy Norfolk who has scored at roughly a goal a game, and they have now gone 12 games unbeaten in league and cup.
Allanson said: “We are experienced enough not to get carried away, our feet are firmly on the ground. It is going to be a rollercoaster ride and let’s see where we end up.
“It is the players’ responsibility not to waste a great opportunity of having a fantastic, successful season.”
Bridlington are the outsiders, but they’ll probably be quite happy with that tag.