North Lancashire League: Carnforth Rangers closing in on title

Damo Murphy.
Damo Murphy.

Carnforth Rangers are closing in on another Baines Bagguley Penhale North Lancashire and District League Premier Division title.

The double winners of 2013-2014 look to have stolen a march on reigning champions Caton United whose bid to win back-to-back championships has stuttered.

The two near rivals drew 2-2 on Saturday in what turned out to be a pulsating game.

Carnforth took the lead when Cameron Holmes headed into the net from a corner but Caton struck back when Steve McMinn scored after a one-on-one with the ‘keeper, sliding the ball into the net to make it all square.

The game continued to go from end-to-end and it was Rangers who retook the lead with Holmes getting his second, heading the ball into the net from a free-kick.

Caton battled back with the game still on a knife edge.

Nathan Jackson gave Caton hope when he returned to the side after a long lay-off to score the equaliser.

With time running out Caton piled on the pressure but the Carnforth defence held out.

Rangers cemented their place at the top of the table with a 3-2 win at Arnside on Monday night, Damo Murphy scoring a hat-trick.

Lukes Ladell and Gorst were on target for Arnside.

It all means Carnforth have just one game to play against Galgate on Saturday and with a 12-point lead over Caton and a superior goal difference have now all but regained the title they won in 2014.

Carnforth’s last league defeat was way back on October 31 when the lost 2-0 to Storeys.

Caton have five games to play, starting at home to Marsh United on Wednesday night, with it looking likely they will need to win all five and increase their goal difference in the process to have any chance of upsetting the odds.

Elsewhere, fourth in the table Cartmel bounced back to winning ways when they beat Lancaster Rovers in midweek and Galgate 5-0 on Saturday.

Against Galgate they scored twice in the early stages with goals from Matthew Burrows and Sam Taylor. Galgate played well at times but could not stop further goals being scored by Carl Airey on his return from injury.

Other goals came from Steven Porter and Joel Drinkall.

Cartmel could catch Caton for second place with both sides still having to play each other in the closing days of the season.

Ingleton had a mixed week in their bid to become runners-up first being held 2-2 by Lancaster Rovers on Saturday.

Rovers were well worth their point with Simon Gillespie and player-manager Jake Harrison scoring good goals to cancel out the Ingleton efforts from Alex Hartley and Dan Tyrer.

After dropping two points on Saturday the North Yorkshire side bounced back with a 2-0 win at Trimpell and Bare Rangers on Monday night, Tyrer again on target with Steven Havelling getting the second.