UTTOXETER Town have effectively won promotion to step six of the non-league pyramid after their 4-3 win at Kidsgrove Athletic.
They have all but secured a top five finish in the Staffordshire Senior League Premier Division and, with teams around them opting against promotion, Town will take a step up providing they take one point from their remaining six matches.
For skipper Martin Gadsby a second successive promotion has fulfilled a dream of getting Uttoxeter up the leagues less than two years after they were a Sunday outfit.
“Obviously, we’re delighted to have all but secured a top-five place and that should mean that we tick all the boxes for promotion to level six of the non-league pyramid,” he said. “It was a distant dream 20 months ago when we made the jump from Sunday football.
“The work behind the scenes has been non-stop to try and get us to match the strides we have made on the pitch – we’re lucky that both have gone better than we could ever have hoped.
“To achieve two consecutive promotions starting from scratch will be a superb achievement and it’s reflected in the success the reserves and under-18s are having. “They are key to the future of the club and from what I have seen the future is in good hands.
“Although we have come a long way, there’s a lot further for us to go.
“We’re not happy with finishing fifth, we want to finish first.
“We know Wolstanton are in the box seat, but they can slip up, just like Ball Haye Green have in recent weeks and like we did in February.
“We need to make sure that we’re there if they do drop points.”
Uttoxeter went into the match against a talented Kidsgrove side knowing that a win and other results going their way would mean another promotion.
For the first time this season Mark Grimley and Andy O’Connor were able to name the same side for the second consecutive week, keeping faith with the XI that had rolled Abbey Hulton over the previous Saturday.
It was certainly not the best of starts for Town though as they found themselves a goal down with only four minutes on the clock.
Mark Hodson won the ball well deep in his own half but when he was dispossessed a dipping swerving shot left Alex Langridge with no chance to give Athletic the lead.
Uttoxeter did not let the setback affect them as they played some terrific football and Gadsby nearly brought them level on 10 minutes, heading a Matty Redshaw cross narrowly over.
The visitors grabbed the equaliser on 15 minutes through Hodson, who charged onto a loose ball in the box and slid a neat finish under the keeper.
The impressive Tom Moss restored the hosts’ advantage when he cut in the from the right and lofted a fine finish over Langridge but again the resilient Town hit back, Liam Sowter forcing the ball home after Gadsby’s initial effort from Rob Collins’ corner was blocked.
A fine move gave the visitors the lead on 37 minutes.
Collins, who had found acres of space in the first half, exchanged passes with Kyle Esplin and the impressive Tommy Smith before the playmaker slid a perfect ball through for Redshaw to burst onto and slide home.
Kidsgrove themsleves showed resilience after the interval and a swift break brought the equaliser when a strong run and cross was headed home brilliantly by their number nine.
The introduction of James Curley and Jack Holley from the bench gave Town another dimension in the last half hour and it reaped immediate rewards when Curley found Sowter on the right and a superb cross was turned home by the advancing Esplin for the winner.
With no game at the weekend Town travel to Norton on Wednesday, April 16, and Redgate the following Saturday 19th, two games which may indicate whether Uttoxeter will still have a chance of the title as second place Wolstanton hope to close the gap.
Infinity IT Man of the Match: Liam Sowter - hard working with quality on the ball.
Town: Langridge, Woods, Springall, Bagley, Collins (Richards 83), Sower, Gadsby, Esplin, Smith, Redshaw (Curley 67), Hodson (Holley 67).