Vodkat Premier Division
Stone Dominoes 1, New Mills AFC 2
After finishing runners up for the last two seasons, it was definitely a case of third time lucky as New Mills were crowned 2010-11 Vodkat Premier Division Champions after securing a 2-1 victory at Stone Dominoes on Saturday.
On a sweltering Staffordshire day, the visitors’ defence looked a little vulnerable in the early exchanges and the Dominoes even rattled the woodwork via Anthony Marshall’s deflected shot, but two goals in a five-minute spell saw The Millers settle any nerves as they took a decisive stranglehold of the game.
In the eighth minute, a counter attack saw Carlos Meakin quickly break in trademark style from midfield.
After playing in Adam Mather, the latter was unceremoniously barged in the back by Anthony Marshall and referee Mr Mahon had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.
Following the booking of the Stone player, up stepped Meakin to send Adam Livsey the wrong way from the spot to give The Millers the lead.
That advantage was doubled five minutes later following Carl Carey’s penetrating run down the right hand side. Mather swung over the resulting corner and Meakin hung in the air at the back post to superbly head home from eight yards.
This goal was Meakin’s 36th strike and at the same time helped the inspirational skipper to surpass his best seasonal haul for the club.
The travelling fans who made up the vast majority of the crowd were now in full party mode as the airhorns and vuvuzelas echoed around Motiva Park, but the champions-elect were reminded that the job wasn’t done when Ben Procter tipped James Curley’s effort onto the post from close range.
The playing conditions of an exceptionally dry pitch, combined with the heat, saw the second half start with a lot of possession in midfield and a lack of goalmouth action at either end.
Following the award of a free kick, Stone captain Adam Soane halved the deficit in the 68th minute when he capitalised on some hesitation in The Millers rearguard and 60 seconds later, keeper Ben Procter had to be alert to smartly tip over another close-range header.
As time ticked down, Daniel Douglas-Pringle brought a decent save out of Adam Livsey and then Luke Horrocks seized upon a poor header from Alex Hutchinson but his hurried chip could only bounce the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
Stone had the final chance of the game in stoppage time as Leon Ashman ballooned his effort high over the crossbar and whilst the game wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, nobody appeared to care as the final whistle was a cue for the champagne corks to start popping as the The Millers, members of The North West Counties League since 2004, started to contemplate life as members of The Evo-Stik League.
New Mills: Procter, Monaghan, Horrocks, Swirad, Barras, Carey, Meakin, Innes, Crowe (Hirst), Douglas-Pringle, Mather. Unused substitutes: Rowe, Coyne, K Grandison, Holmes.