The Hillmen are three points from glory after their 1-0 win on Wednesday night at Silsden halved the required total for them to become NWCFL champions.
They have four games to get them starting with Saturday’s home game against Nelson.
The game was settled by a 24th minute penalty when Ben Richardson scored after Kieran Lugsden was brought down in the area.
The scoreline and method of the winner might suggest that GNE had overcome a banana skin of a game, and certainly the home side had the capability to do that following a 6-1 win on the Monday. However, in reality the Hillmen could have had a hatful of goals.
Only a combination of goalkeeper Daniel Thorpe, some last ditch tackling, some poor finishing, and a crossbar, prevented the Hillmen from adding to their total, whilst the steadfast defence, upon which the title challenge has been built, kept a 33rd clean sheet of the season.
The home side played a very high defensive line, and GNE constantly got behind it, with the pace of Sam Hind and Mark Reed and latterly Jason Carey & Lee Blackshaw when they entered the fray, beating that line to the ball and opening up an opportunity.
Reed came the closest when clipping the ball over the keeper, only to see it bounce off the underside of the bar, and away to safety. Reed also had the ball in the net early in the second half, only for the referee to chalk it off for climbing.
After an early burst, Silsden were kept contained until, of course, the final minutes offered a few butterfly stomachs every time they gained possession. However, there was only Joesph Mitchell’s shot that was on target, and Greg Hall dealt with it comfortably.
So all eyes on Saturday, when a win would see the league sealed.
North End have been members of the NWCFL since it was instigated in 1982.
They will be sorry to say goodbye to clubs like Silsden, who off the pitch were wonderful hosts on the night, but the feeling is that promotion has been a long time coming.
Having got this far, none of the on or off pitch team are in the mood to let this opportunity slide.