AFC Emley complete their regular-season fixtures at Knaresborough Town on Saturday aiming to go into the first-ever Northern Counties East League First Division play-offs on the back of a victory.
The Huddersfield side are sure to finish at least fourth, the highest position since they entered the league in 2006, giving them home advantage in their one-off semi-final, which is likely to be on Tuesday against Penistone Church, currently fifth, or Hallam, who are sixth.
Bottesford Town, currently third and 3-2 winners against Emley at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Wednesday, will be the other play-off challengers, with Hemsworth Miners Welfare and AFC Mansfield gaining automatic promotion.
Darren Hepworth’s Emley were in the mix for a top-two finish until they lost 1-0 at Selby Town earlier this month, the first match in which they have failed to score all season.
Manager Hepworth has fitness concerns in the wake of the Bottesford clash, when keeper Adam Lawlor was injured during the warm-up and full-back Iwan Heeley had to go between the posts.
Emley were two down at the break and Hepworth’s problems were compounded when 73-goal top scorer Ashley Flynn failed to reappear for the second half after taking a knock.
The second half was more even but Emley’s hopes of a comeback were dented by a third Bottesford goal after 75 minutes.
Striker Kieran Ryan, playing his first game after a three-match suspension, and captain Michael Tunnacliffe, with a stunning shot from the edge of the area, pulled goals back but Bottesford held out.