Stoppage-time winner hands Thornton title in unbelievable season finale

An epic Premier Division title race reached a fittingly dramatic conclusion during Saturday’s final round of fixtures, with Thornton Cleveleys clinching the crown with a 96th-minute winner at Rossendale, writes BEN SMITH with pictures by STEVE TAYLOR.

A brace from Simon Nangle, the first to break the deadlock and the second to level the game at 2-2, had the away side sweating for a significant portion of the game.

But a Jordan Beavers goal and Chad Whyte double (completed deep into second-half stoppage time) would ultimately secure a 3-2 win for nine-man Thornton and the three points needed to confirm them as champions.

Just minutes earlier, CMB, who entered the final day just a point further back in second place, looked to have snatched the trophy when Alex Leigh struck in the 89th minute to seal a 2-1 victory over Wyre Villa, that after Charlie Scholes’ opener had been cancelled out.

Elsewhere, Coppull United closed out the season in emphatic fashion, defeating Turton 7-0.

Greg Brickell scored twice in the win, whilst Taylor Brickell, Cameron Murphy, Nathan Bibby, Lee Richardson and Alessio Degrassi each netted one apiece.

Goals from Rhys Little, Bradley Rooney and Ben McCaron saw Cleator Moor Celtic claim a 3-2 victory over Slyne with Hest, who twice leveled the game through Daniel Ruscillo and Liam Rodgers respectively.

Meanwhile, two goals from Ric Seear sandwiched a Ben Duffield strike as Blackpool Wren Rovers won 3-1 at Poulton, with Danny Morris grabbing the hosts’ only goal of the game.

Jack Burgess, Scott Craven and Sam Lloyd all found the net before half-time as Hurst Green beat Lostock St Gerards 3-0.

Fulwood Amateurs also picked up three points on the final day - the final match under outgoing manager Tony Hesketh.

Ben Trafford and Jonty McDonald were the scorers in a 2-1 win against Tempest United, who halved the deficit late on through Tim Raines.

And closing the Premier Division’s 2023/24 chapter are Burscough Richmond, who sealed third place with a 1-0 win against Milnthorpe Corinthians in which Josh Murray scored the only goal.

There was also one Division Two fixture left to be completed this weekend, with Charnock Richard Reserves and Dalton United playing out a 1-1 draw.

And it was a similar story in Division One Reserve, where Rossendale Reserves and Coppull Reserves brought their respective seasons to an entertaining end as the pair drew 4-4.

Simon Nangle celebrates for Rossendale

Chad Whyte with Thornton's penalty

Man of the match Mark Smith with a flying one handed save

Red card for Rossendale's number six

Scoring the 97th minute penalty

Chad Whyte after his last-gasp penalty

Where next?

West Lancs Show Podcast - Episode 14 - 'Local rivals' Our latest West Lancs Show podcast is now live - and it's a cracker!
STEWART ROWE CUP: Fulwood edge out underdogs on penalties Fulwood Amateurs Reserves capped off a monumental week for the club with victory on penalties in the Stewart Rowe Memorial Cup Final.

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