Robins crowned champs

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WIGAN Robin Park concluded the league season in blistering form on Saturday as they went to Rochdale Town and beat them convincingly to be crowned First Division champions.

The Robins – who finished the season with eight straight wins – showed no nerves as Phil Howard calmly put the visitors ahead after ten minutes.

With Park dominating in all areas of the pitch they were two ahead after 30 minutes when Howard scored his second – and his 41st of the season.

The only blip came on the stroke of half-time when Nathan Taylor got onto the end of a through-ball, but Luke Faulkner got back to make a superb tackle.

However, from the resultant corner the Robins’ defence went to sleep and allowed Mike Harling to head home.

Immediately after the break there was controversy as Rochdale keeper Joe Brobbin brought down Phil Howard in the box.

The penalty was awarded and Brobbin saw red to be replaced by striker Taylor.

However, Howard’s penalty was excellently saved by Taylor.

Taylor looked a more than competent deputy but there was little he could do when Ben Kay drilled the ball home on 57 minutes.

The Robins played some excellent football in the difficult windy conditions and they rounded the scoring off in the 80th minute when Ryan Small netted his seventh goal in his last four games.

It was now time for the celebrations to begin as the Robins ended a superb season with skipper Jay Foulds picking up the silverware.

After the game club chairman Steve Halliwell said: “This has been a great day for the club.

“The lads have been a credit to the club in winning promotion and I am really chuffed for them.

“You have to recognise what this club has achieved in seven years, having started at Step 7 in 2005.

“We brought a great travelling support of about 50 fans over here, and Rochdale Town have been fantastic to us although they certainly didn’t lie down for us and we had to work hard for the win.

“It’s been a fantastic day.”

Meanwhile back at the Arena, Wigan Robin Park Reserves rounded off a wonderful day for the club when they lifted their championship trophy after beating Padiham Reserves 1-0 thanks to an Adam Storey goal.

Elsewhere in the North West Counties. Ashton Athletic went down 3-2 at Alsager Town in the Premier Division on Saturday.

Dan Smith and Lee Barrett were on target for the visitors.