NORTH END ensured the right result to secure promotion with one game remaining when they clinched the Division 1 title with a majestic display against an equally superb Adamstown side in this thrilling Wexford Football League clash at Belvedere.
North End were determined to fashion the right result for their large support base. Going into their second last league game of the season, the Wexford town side needed just two points to clinch the title and promotion back to the Premier Division where they rightly belong.
Maybe pride was dented when they were relegated for the first time two seasons back. But they were not going to let this oppostunity slip as they gathered momentum from the very start, but they still have to endure many anxious moments particularly during the closing ten minutes as Adamstown went in search of an equaliser, to keep their own promotion dreams alive.
Adamstown have led the Division for a long stretch but despite giving one of their best footballing displays of the season they just fell short to a North End combination that eventually inflicted a one goal defeat on them, but was still enough to take the town side back to the top flight.
Credit to manager John Godkin he turned a squad which had got their season off to a shaky start into a winning one. Right now they are still in with a chance of capping what has turned into a marvellous season on this their 40th Anniversary when they play Shamrock Rovers in the Cup Final in two weeks time, while Godkin will also be hoping to manage the Wexford Football League to their first Oscar Traynor success on Sunday next.
North End were hungry from the very start taking the lead as early as the fourth minute. Stuart Lawlor had a long throw into the penalty area, which was mishandled by keeper Daryl Walsh, leaving Ciaran Kelly with a simple tap in from a few metres.
Played in sunshine and on a splendid surface, the entertainment level was high, as both sides played some sparkling football. Kyle Dempsey had a shot over the top before Stuart Lawlor had a header from a Trevor Berry nineth minute corner tipped onto the bar and over by keeper Walsh for a fruitless corner.
Adamstown despite this early setback never looked ruffled fashioning an equalising goal after just twelve minutes. A Lee White throw dropped to the front of goal and with hesitency in the home defence it was Graham Doyle who nipped in to nod the ball over the line.
Adamstown should have gone ahead in the twenty-second minute. Some splendid approach ball saw Colin Purcell play a great ball across goal but Graham Doyle's first touch let him down and with a great goal chance went abegging.
Come the thirty-eighth minute North End were awarded a penalty after Craig McGuire was brought down but Trevor Berry's kick was excellently saved by Walsh who atoned for his earlier mistake. Two minutes before the break North End regained the lead when Alan Murphy and McGuire combined to set up Berry who finished superbly to give his side a 2-1 interval lead.
There was a real edge to the North End play which was demonstrated in the fifth-second minute. Kyle Dempsey after a fine run was brough down outside the area in front of goal, with Berry lifting the free-kick high into the top right hand corner of the net.
Adamstown continued to play some attractive football and were rewarded six minute later when Ian White finished a low Eoin Cashin to the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Both sides still maintained their search for goals with a number of efforts at opposite end either been blocked or just going the wrong side of the post, but it was North End who successfully protected their single goal lead through the tense closing minutes to lifte the Division 1 title and return to the top flight.
North End Utd: Lee Walker, Stuart Walker, John Foley, Keith Furlong, Colin Bent, Ciran Kelly, Kyle Dempsey, Craig McGuire, Trevor Berry, Alan Colgate, Alan Murphy. Subs: Conor Doyle, Justin Whitty, andy Moore, Adam Lawlor, Philip Tubritt.
Adamstown: Daryl Walsh, Lee White, Graham Doyle, Mark Cowman, Barty Delaney, Paddy Sinnott, Liam Moore, Colin Purcell, Ian White, Philip Doyle, Eoin Cashin. Subs: P.J. Thorpe, John Finn, Tom Walsh. Referee: Damien Donovan.