CAMPION had joint-manager Lee Ashforth to thank for ending 2023 on top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

The Bradford side sit two points clear at the summit, though second-placed Emley do have three games in hand on them, after a 3-1 win at rock-bottom Goole.

But this was no routine victory, as with the visitors unable to call upon an available goalkeeper for the fixture, Ashforth was forced to temporarily come out of retirement and don the gloves at the age of 47.

In keeping with the chaos, Aidan Day curled Campion in front after six minutes, only for Goole to equalise instantly through Liam Flanagan.

The Red and Blacks thought they had restored their lead midway through the first half, only for Nicky Boshell to see his goal ruled out for offside.

Day then put Mark Ferguson through on goal, only for the Campion man to lob the ball over the bar.

Yet it was the hosts who almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time, only for Ashforth to make a superb save from a long-range effort.

Campion got back on top after the break, and after Paddy Sykes had a shot cleared off the line, the visitors retook the lead on the hour mark, when Michael O’Brien headed home Boshell’s corner.

Ashforth had to be alert to clear the danger with 20 minutes to go to prevent Goole from equalising, with Sykes instead finishing the game off by scoring Campion’s third goal 10 minutes from time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Paddy Sykes (left) finished Goole off with a late third goal on Saturday.Paddy Sykes (left) finished Goole off with a late third goal on Saturday. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

The visitors’ unlikely veteran stopper raced off his line to deny the hosts a consolation in second-half stoppage-time, thus ensuring Campion’s push to secure two successive promotions is still going strong.

Most other games involving teams in the Bradford District did not survive the abysmal weekend weather, but Steeton’s game at AFC Blackpool did take place in the North West Counties Football League First Division North.

The visiting Chevrons have been in awful form, and had lost their last four league games.

They stopped the rot somewhat on Saturday, claiming a 1-1 draw at second-bottom AFC Blackpool.

Nicholas Hepple headed the seaside outfit in front just before half-time, only for Steeton debutant Freddie Westfall to equalise from close range just after the hour mark, as he side-footed home Ben McCready’s dangerous free-kick.

Farsley Celtic have moved away from relegation danger in National League North over the last couple of months, but they were unable to claim a huge scalp on Saturday, losing 2-0 at home to leaders Scunthorpe United.

Will Evans and Fin Shrimpton scored the goals to secure victory for the Iron, in a chaotic encounter which saw three red cards.

Farsley’s Isaac Assenso and Scunny’s Danny Whitehall were sent off for an off the ball scuffle late in the first half, while the Celts also lost Chris Atkinson to a second bookable offence late on.