Yate Town promoted to Southern Premier League after play-off final victory
YOUNG striker Ollie Mehew hit two vital goals as Yate came from behind to win their play-off final tie against Cinderford 3-1 and secure elevation to the Southern Premier League.
After being championship contenders almost to the end of the regular season, the Bluebells ended in third, giving them home advantage in their semi-final against Moneyfields.
It took penalties to separate the sides after a 1-1 draw which saw both sides score in the first period of extra time.
Cinderford started the play-off final following a run of excellent form, which included beating second-placed Cirencester in their semi-final.
It was from a corner that they took the lead in the 17th minute of the final, when Lorcan Sheehan's delivery was met unopposed by central defender Nick Rhodes.
The visitors stayed on top, with Ben Watkins having a shot saved after a flowing five-man move and Ross Grimshaw touching over a header from Rhodes that looked destined for the top corner.
But it was Yate who scored next, an Adam Price corner causing confusion in the Cinderford defence and Ollie Mehew deflecting the ball into the net past Alex Harris, after Josh Ford had hammered it goalwards.
Yate took the lead just before the break. Jack Twyman and Mike Bryant worked well to thread the ball through to Mehew and the leading scorer steered it into the far corner.
Bryant shaved the outside of the upright as the home side started the second half brightly, while at the other end Grimshaw handled cleanly as Cinderford sent over a series of dangerous corners.
Ross Langworthy was foiled by some brave keeping from Harris, after outstripping the visitors' back-line, before Yate's vital third goal arrived with twelve minutes left, Price rifling a low drive just inside the post after his free kick had been headed back to him outside the box.
The victory, watched by 1,091 spectators at Lodge Road, means that Yate will play against the likes of Truro, Salisbury and Weston next season.
Preparations are already underway, with a pre-season friendly against Bristol Rovers at Lodge Road already announced for July 6.
Picture: Yate Town players and staff celebrate promotion. Photo by John Lester