A sense of relief whistled around Mallorie Park on Saturday as Ripon City bagged their first win of the season.
Paul Abbott’s late strike gave City a 3-2 win over Featherstone Colliery and ended a run of ten straight league matches without a win.
Abbott’s goal was his second of the afternoon, with Ryan Barker also on the scoresheet, as City held out in a nervy finish to raise the hopes of beating the drop.
City remain bottom of the pile in West Yorkshire Division One this season but are now three points from safety and just nine points off seventh-placed Boroughbridge.
“We’re all very relieved,” admitted assistant boss Dan Metcalfe.
“We have been unfortunate many times this season where we have lost to a late penalty or late goals.
“But there was a big sigh of relief after the game on Saturday.”
Featherstone took the lead initially in the first half but Barker evened the scores before the break.
Abbott was introduced at half-time and the change bore fruit when he finished well, despite the visitors’ claims of offside.
It looked like Ripon’s winning woes were set to continue when Featherstone levelled with just two minutes remaining. But Abbott curled in a delightful second in injury-time to bag the points.
City also welcomed back the services of former Harrogate Town man and ex-City manager Paul Vincent into the midfield on Saturday and Metcalfe hailed the influence of the experienced campaigner.
Vincent injured his knee during a charity friendly in the summer and had indicated his playing days were over, after featuring for the reserve team last season.
But City boss Micky Baldwin was quick to put the midfielder back into the starting line-up on his return.
Metcalfe added: “Paul still has that quality and he can organise the midfield.
“He like to nurture the younger players around him.
“When he told Micky he was available, with the experience he has, you don’t want to say no.”
Metcalfe was unsure but hopeful the midfielder would be available to face Farsley Celtic Juniors away in the West Riding County Cup this Saturday.
Farsley reached the quarter finals of the prestigious county competition last year, and Metcalfe admitted it would be a difficult examination for his squad.
And the assistant admitted City’s foxus was on their return to league action against Leeds Modernians next week.
“The County Cup is a tough competition to win and there’s a lot of fixtures even to get to the quarters or the semis,” added Metcalfe.
“Confidence should be high for Saturday so can go there and just try and keep pushing.”