Jubilant Todmorden Borough beat the moles and West Lancashire League visitors Furness Cavaliers at Bellholme on Saturday.
It turned out to be a long but satisfying day for boss Craig Milnes, who was at the ground at 9am to help ensure the pitch was fit and then played in goal as his side beat Cavaliers 3-2 in Division Two.
They battled really, really hard on a heavy, boggy pitchCraig Milnes
The victory, courtesy of goals from Justin Adams, Dean Farry and Terry Lowe’s thumping shot inside the last 10 minutes, took Borough four points clear of bottom side Barrow Wanderers.
It means that Borough will be in good heart for Saturday’s penultimate away game of the season against the other Furness side, Rovers.
Tod have been beset by pitch problems this season.
First there was an invasion by geese, then severe waterlogging and 12 days ago moles had dug up the ground to such an extend that the cup game against Kendal County had to be called off.
Borough, who forfeited the tie, were not about to let the meddling mammals stop them for a second week.
Milnes said the occupant of a barge moored near the ground had kindly removed half of the 70 mole hills during the week.
A handful of volunteers had completed the task on Saturday morning as well as rolling the pitch, marking the lines and putting up the nets.
Milnes explained that the soil from the mole hills had to be scooped up and replaced under the turf, to avoid leaving a dangerous hole.
The game was brought forward an hour at the visitors’ request but Milnes found himself with only 10 players and had to draft in Lee Baxter and Chris Ford, who played 45 minutes each.
Milnes, who played in goal for the club’s now-defunct reserve side, reprised his role to give Elliott Gilford a run out.
He had to tip the ball onto a post after his goal kick misfired to an opponent but couldn’t prevent Cavaliers scrambling the opening goal after 25 minutes.
Furness were having more of the play but Baxter and Jack Leeming were defending well.
Borough made it 1-1 approaching half time, Adams collecting a cross, switching the ball to his left foot and slotting under the ‘keeper.
The hosts were upbeat at the interval and continued trying to play passing football.
However, they fell behind midway through the second half when a rival player cut in from the flank and unleashed a shot which went over the head of the slipping Milnes.
Tod drew level courtesy of Farry’s excellent lob and that set the scene for Lowe to win it with a tremendous first-time shot into the top corner.
Cavaliers had the ball in the net late on but a linesman was flagging for offside.
Milnes praised his players. “They battled really, really hard on a heavy, boggy pitch.”
James Hardman and James Peavoy are unavailable for Saturday, when Borough will be hoping to pick up only a second away win of the season.
Rovers are above Tod on goal difference but have played six games more.