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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Historic day as Gillford Park gain promotion

Carlisle's Gillford Park made history this week when they were promoted into the Northern League Division One for the first time with a win over Chester-le-Street.

The visitors knew that a draw would be enough to secure the team promotion. Goals from Marc Shiel and Gavin Barton, meant that Gillford are still within a chance of finishing second.

Co-manager Steve Skinner couldn’t hide his delight.

He said: “We’ve achieved so much with all the off-field problems. It’s just so exciting that we’ve achieved what we set out to do this year.

“We set ourselves a target of getting promoted, whether it was first, second or third and we have achieved that. And if we accumulate more points in the last two games we will finish runners-up.

“Basically the whole club is on a high at the moment, all the lads and everybody is in a positive frame of mind and as individuals and as a team they all made history.”

It has not been an easy season for Gillford Park as they have had a number of off-field problems with the latest being that they have had their goal netting vandalised.

However, these acts of vandalism have spurred on Skinner and Stuart Bell’s team to prove that nothing can stop them from achieving their goals.

Skinner said: “A while ago we said that we are just going to prove how good we are and that we are good enough to go up.

“Obviously what the vandals don’t realise is it’s driving the club, it’s going against them really for doing that and what’s happening is the club is getting a drive to push the goal even further.”

Another factor that has helped Gillford achieving promotion is their recent run of form, which has seem them take 15 points out of a possible 18.

“About three or four weeks ago we went through a blip where we lost three out of four but in the last five games we seem to have hit form again.”

Next season they will be fighting it out in division one of the Northern League, but unlike many teams who hope they can just survive in a new league, Skinner believes that his team have the potential to finish in a promotion place.

“We don’t go into any league thinking we are going to be second best.

“We go into every league and want to try to win it. So our attitude will be that we want to go in that league and show how good we are and win.”

Gillford Park have two league games remaining, which are both at home with Horden C.W. this Saturday and Esh Winning the following weekend.

They are hoping that they will be able to get a big crowd down to the ground for their last game of the season.

It is going to be a nervous day tomorrow for Penrith as they entertain Ashington (ko 3pm).

They are still in the final relegation place and need three points to boost their survival hopes.

Penrith then have a re-arranged league game away at relegated Tow Law on Tuesday evening.

Leading scorer Martyn Coleman has left the club to work in New Zealand for the next year.

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