A place in the Northern Premier League (Premier Division) is up for grabs at Borough Park with Reds hoping to regain the Step 3 berth they lost in 2019 and Linnets aiming to get there for the first time.
All roads lead to Borough Park for Saturday’s NPL West Division Final (3pm) with a bumper 2,000 crowd expected. A near 400-strong support from Runcorn will be allocated the Derwent End terrace for the afternoon with Workington fans housed in the other three sections of the ground.
Both teams emerged impressive semi-final winners on Tuesday evening, Linnets winning (3-1) at Leek Town for a second successive year and Reds overcoming Clitheroe (2-0).
It will be the fourth encounter between the sides this season, with Linnets knocking us out of the FA Trophy at Borough Park last September before Reds won both league matches. In previous meetings, Runcorn seem to have obtained better results in Cumbria whilst we have a decent record at Stockham Lane.
Linnets finished the regular season in 5th position with 63 points winning 18, drawing 9 and losing 11 matches. Defensively, they have been very solid and only champions Macclesfield have conceded fewer goals than their 38.
The usual play-off format will apply with 90 minutes followed by extra time and penalties if required.
Unfortunately, there will be no parking at the ground with the limited spaces reserved for players and officials. One alternative will be between Allerdale House and the Sports Centre (200-300 metres) from the stadium.
It will certainly be a colourful occasion – Linnets’ vibrant green and yellow strip will guarantee that – but home fans should get their red and white favours out to match the passionate away support.
It will be Workington’s third NPL Play-off final with victory and defeat experienced in the previous two.
Back in 2005, Borough Park staged the promotion decider against Farsley Celtic with Reds obtaining promotion to Conference North after winning the penalty shoot-out decider 6-5 after a tense goalless draw. The crowd that night was 1,725.
Seven years ago, we travelled to Salford City for the final where a crowd of 1,967 witnessed a gallant Workington effort which resulted in a narrow 3-2 reverse.
The Workington squad trained on Thursday with Sam Smith the main doubt ahead of the final.