Todmorden Borough rounded off a very mixed season in Division Two of the West Lancashire League with a 3-1 defeat away to Barrow Wanderers.
That was a disappointing result on the face of it but Borough were already assured seventh place and their hosts had plenty of incentive as they battle to avoid a re-election application in their first season in the league.
Borough boss John Gilford said Barrow had been very determined while his club had fielded a scratch team with second XI assistant boss Steve Huck in goal and normal custodian Lee McGrath playing on the right of midfield.
And it was McGrath who rewarded the visitors for a bright start with a goal after 10 minutes. Dave Patrick sent over a cross from the left and Oliver Wood headed the ball into the danger zone for McGrath to score from close range .
A bumpy, sloping pitch and windy conditions ensured the standard of play wasn’t great.
Barrow drew level after half an hour when they were awarded a dubious free-kick and the ball was bent in to the near post and knocked home.
Cherno Baldi had an effort which scraped the bar for the visitors before Barrow got a second just after half time when the visitors fatally allowed the ball to bounce.
Wanderers added a third from a long ball near the end and celebrated wildly on the final whistle.
Gilford rated Borough’s performance over the season as worth six out of 10.
“If you take the first month out it would have been eight out of 10 but for the first month there was a distinct lack of commitment.
“I think we won only one out of seven games in August. We were second bottom in October but then proved once again that we can beat anyone in this league.”
Borough’s improved form resulted in a league cup final appearance, Tod losing 2-1 to Bolton County.
While Oliver Wood looks certain to finish as the section’s second leading scorer with 22 goals, Gilford believes it was the arrival of his strike partner Danny Warwick which was the key to his side’s improvement.
“Danny Warwick scored five goals in six games and our form picked up,” said Gilford.
Borough’s season as a whole has been in contrast to last term when they were unbeaten up to Christmas and then faded.
The players will now get a break of around six weeks before training resumes in early July ahead of the opening fixture a month later.