FOOTBALL: Dramas over for ambitious Parkgate ahead of NCEL kick-off

PARKGATE want no more drama when the new season kicks-off this weekend – and three league points instead.

A year ago the departure of long-term management team Andy Dawson and Lee Whitehead shortly before the start triggered a mad spell at Roundwood.

Their replacement, Ryan Hall, was in the post only a few days before stepping down due to work commitments and his replacement, Liam Kay, departed after only one league game.

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Manager Scot Mason became the club’s third manager in 17 days when he was appointed last August and he has stayed in post ever since.

He gradually pieced a competitive squad together and the Steelmen fought a winter-long relegation scrap before their Northern Counties East League status was confirmed. Now refreshed by new signings, they’re ready to push on.

“You have to set your sights high. We need to be up around those play-off positions,” said manager Scott Mason, speaking ahead of tomorrow's opener at home to Armthorpe (3pm). "We’re looking good and sharp, a lot better than a year ago.”

Gate beat Dinnington Town 4-2 last week with goals from Callum Clark, Jack Haslam and two from Ross Duggan. Town’s replies came from Jason Jessop and Sam Morley. That was followed by a 2-1 defeat at Worksop Town on Tuesday, Silas Valladolid-Collins’ first-half goal cancelled out by two late replies.

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A league trip to Horbury Town follows on Tuesday (7.45pm). "We have a few players missing at the start of the season due to holidays but we have a big enough squad to cope,” added Mason.

Meanwhile, Division One neighbours Swallownest have had a summer of changes.

After avoiding relegation from the NCEL last season as part of an expansion, the ‘Swall Siro’ has seen the appointment of a new chairperson in Louise Pink and a new secretary in Andrew Skelton, her husband.

Many players have moved on, including to Parkgate and Handsworth, meaning it could be another difficult season for a new-look Swallownest side. They will at least be led by Dan Archbould and his assistant Chris Esberger, two men who know the club well.  

The blues start at home to Selby Town on Saturday (3pm) and then go to Clay Cross on Tuesday (7.45pm).


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