Doubles from Zak Khan and Awais Khan, as well as a penalty save from Isaac Khan, ensured Route One Rovers kept their play-off hopes alive with a 4-1 home win over Runcorn Town at Marley yesterday.

Their Easter Monday clash was a must-win affair for the hosts, who are enjoying their first-ever season at semi-professional level having moved up from the amateur ranks.

But it was a gruelling slog for large periods, with an inadvertent kick on the talented Musa Jallow from visiting keeper Jake Barrow, as he went to clear the ball, going unpunished, then Rovers captain Jonathan Mwembie going off with an injured knee after bravely blocking a shot.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Musa Jallow (centre) always carries a real threat in attack for Route One, to opposing defences and goalkeepers.Musa Jallow (centre) always carries a real threat in attack for Route One, to opposing defences and goalkeepers. (Image: Ian Warner Photography.)

Both of those incidents came after Route One fell behind after only three minutes to a goal from Eric Yahaya.

Zak Khan levelled just after the half-hour mark, only for the hosts to almost immediately concede a spot-kick.

But Isaac Khan got down low to deny Matthew Argent-Barnes from 12 yards out.

Despite the influential Mwembie going off right at the start of the second half, Route One were the dominant side, but they were just unable to find the breakthrough.

The scores were still locked at 1-1 with 15 minutes to go, before two goals in the space of 90 seconds from Awais Khan gave the hosts breathing space.

He nearly scored a hat-trick in stoppage-time, but his effort hit the post, allowing Zak Khan to grab his second goal of the game instead.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Awais Khan was inches away from scoring a hat-trick, but he could be more than satisfied with his two goals in a vital win for Route One.Awais Khan was inches away from scoring a hat-trick, but he could be more than satisfied with his two goals in a vital win for Route One. (Image: Ian Warner Photography.)


Route One currently occupy fifth place, the final play-off spot, but they are only two points ahead of Ilkley Town, who have two games in hand on them, and four clear of Euxton Villa, who have three extra matches.

Bradford side Route One only have one league game left, but that is at home to Euxton, where a victory would give their hopes of a top-five finish a huge boost.

At the other end of the table, Steeton are virtually safe after an excellent 4-2 win at fellow strugglers Garstang.

They can no longer finish at the foot of the table, where Nelson currently reside in the only guaranteed relegation slot.

The bottom three could still all go down in the unlikely scenario of there being enough viable amateur sides able to move up to the semi-professional ranks and replace them.

And while Steeton are virtually there, seven points clear of third-bottom Garstang, who have three games left to play, their survival was almost sealed on a bizarre afternoon yesterday.

The Chevrons were not in action, but they will have been keeping an eye on scores elsewhere.

With second-bottom Shelley losing 2-1 at home to Holker Old Boys, in a game that kicked off an hour late due to travel trouble for the visitors, they can no longer catch Steeton.

That meant Roy Mason's side only needed a Garstang defeat yesterday to officially be confirmed as staying up.

And with Garstang 5-0 down after 45 minutes at home to a rampant AFC Blackpool, that looked certain to be the case.

But there was no second half, with the referee calling off the game due to a waterlogged pitch, leaving the visitors in disbelief.

Like Garstang, Brighouse Town are in huge trouble, after a terrible Easter weekend left them just five points clear of the drop with five games to go in the Northern Premier League East Division.

They played okay in losing 3-1 at promotion-hunting Dunston on Saturday, but had a nightmare yesterday, losing 5-1 at home to rock-bottom Winterton Rangers.

Mid-table Liversedge had their home game with Hebburn Town on Saturday called off due to a waterlogged pitch and were clearly well-rested, as they went on to win 4-0 at Ossett United yesterday afternoon..

Finally, Farsley Celtic, who had ground out a goalless draw against Southport in National League North on Saturday, despite going down to 10 men late on, lost 3-1 at Spennymoor Town on Monday.

The defeat was problematic enough, but with relegation rivals Darlington and Rushall Olympic both winning, that means the Celts have now plunged into the drop zone on goal difference.