Borough push Rangers hard in John’s last game

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John Gilford’s last game in charge of Todmorden Borough produced a much better performance but no victory in the final match of the season at home to GSK Ulverston Rangers.

Borough, who have finished 10th in Division Two of the West Lancashire League, led 2-1 at half time but eventually lost 3-2 to their Cumbrian visitors, who were clinching the runners-up spot behind Askam United.

Gilford has managed the side for most of the last 10 years but is handing over the reins to Steve Hook.

Hook is former Halifax Town, Wigan, Chorley and Guiseley centre half who also had a spell playing in Sweden. He has assisted Gilford in recent times.

Gilford said: “We are exchanging roles.

“I’m not packing in but I have lived, eaten and drunk football for the last 10 years and it is time for me to have a rest.

“I’ll still sort out the pitch and still turn up on a Saturday.”

Gilford said he was “a bit jaded” and has become frustrated that some of the players’ commitment hasn’t matched his own.

“It is time for a younger person than me and someone with a bit more enthusiasm to take over and Steve knows what is required,” he said.

Borough’s best finish under Gilford is third in the bottom section but the team has reached the divisional cup final twice, beating Lytham Town 2-1 in the first of them.

Gilford revealed that club officials and many of the players had held a lengthy meeting after Saturday’s final match to plot the way forward.

The consensus of opinion was that Borough should stay in the West Lancashire League, with the quality of pitches and facilities outweighing the amount of travelling involved.

Borough are keen to revive their reserve side, possibly playing in a more local league.

Gilford said it had generally been a disappointing season for the club, with a lack of regular fixtures due to the wet winter affecting enthusiasm.

He had no complaints about Saturday’s display, even though Danny Leech’s hat-trick sent the visitors home happy.

Joe Gale poked the ball home for the opening goal after 20 minutes, only for Leech to equalise following ‘keeper Lee McGrath’s poor kick.

Ben Whitham restored the lead, after beating an opponent and firing in from the edge of the box.

However, Leech made it 2-2 with a penalty - Borough claimed the foul was outside the area - and Leech side-footed the winner from a cross.