JAFC Telford United players react to Keaton Ward opener – James Baylis

It took until the 42nd and final National League North game of the season, but a 1-1 draw at home to promotion contenders York City helped the Bucks finish third and away from the dreaded position of the under. -ground, which ultimately saw Guiseley relegated.

Survival went straight to the wire. Telford deservedly led through Keaton Ward’s crier in the first half and looked comfortable, but was caught 15 minutes from time. At this time, Guiseley was still beating Alfreton, although Farsley was losing elsewhere and occupying the drop zone.

Alfreton rallied in stoppage time to beat Guiseley as the scores poured in to a frenzied New Bucks Head crowd of over 2,600 fans. The full-time relief was palpable as the celebrations began and boss Carden, appointed at the end of November, spoke beer in hand of a wide range of emotions.

“I’m thrilled, over the moon, relieved, exhausted, everything you can really imagine,” Bucks boss Carden said.

“When we arrived it was the middle of winter, early dark nights, dark mornings, there wasn’t much to smile about and keep you happy.

“We’ve worked hard to put a team together and defend against anyone in the division.

“At times where points were kind of criticized, stuff like that, it was those points that allowed survival.

“Of course it would have been nice to win more and not have to stress as much as today, but sometimes things happen for a reason and I’m just thrilled for everyone connected with the club.”

The flirtation with the drop zone has been Telford’s closest since moving from the Northern Premier to Stage Two in 2007.

The Bucks failed to win on the road all season under any of three managers (including an interim), but a sometimes arduous campaign finally ended on a high note with a squad almost entirely newly built by Carden mid-season. .

He added: “The last few days haven’t been too bad. Once you get the guys in you see the quality and you’re up again (after a draw at Southport on Monday wasn’t enough to Security).

“All of a sudden you get your confidence back because you know you have good players, so it’s up to me to pick the right XI.

“I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I wasn’t nervous, because I was, it was a huge game for us, a huge day. It was vital that we stayed up.”

Striker Ward, a 21-year-old midfielder on loan at Mansfield, characterizes Carden’s work in the team. Ward was guilty of missing out on two glorious chances to ensure his survival at Southport.

Carden and the Bucks can now look ahead, with the backing of new investor and shareholder Walter Gleeson, to brighter days after the biggest job – ensuring the survival of Stage Two – was called off. After which the manager was drenched in beer in the home dressing room as the players released their emotion at the feat.

“It was a howl,” Carden said of Ward’s goal. “I think we started very well, as a team we moved the ball when, put them under pressure down the side, probed down the middle.

“I thought we were unhappy not to have a penalty on Flowers’ header with the boy who pulled him back.

“You hope it won’t be ‘one of those’ when we hook up again and again.

“They came out in the first five or 10 minutes of the second half, there was nothing in it, then they got up, their boy scores a worldie and you’re like ‘oh my God’.

“People were telling me all the results – and they weren’t telling me the right results! I was like ‘don’t tell me anything anymore!’ but you get wind of the scores and understand what the table looks like.”

Carded added, assuming the drama of a rollercoaster final day: “It’s football, you see City and Aguero’s famous goal, never get caught out in football or let anything catch you out, it’s is what it does, it’s designed that way.”

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