That was Black’s third game in management, and already the Town faithful now knew that relegation was not going to be an issue this season after all.
March contained six games, four of which were away from home, a vital three points were taken from New Mills, it was key to take points from those at the bottom. Defeat was tasted at Scarborough Athletic, but for a harsh red card for Reece Farnhill and a fortunate goal for the Seadogs as a strong gust of wind took the ball sailing over Chris Backhouse the result could have been oh so different.
April, and the final month of the season is where the club really got going, the transfer window closed, and despite the loss of Jack Siddall and Jack Wakefield Black had a settled squad that had been strengthened substantially with the likes of Frost and Peterson, Ridley and Mackie to name just a few, and just as impressive was the improvement seen in players already here, Simon Rogers and Daniel Monfredi to name just two.
The first game of April was huge, home to Harrogate Railway Athletic, Frost again opened the scoring before Amar Purewall, on loan from Darlington 1883 drew the scores level. Simon Rogers scored the winner with 12 minutes remaining, sparking scenes of celebration throughout the ground.
Away wins at Prescot Cables and Bamber Bridge followed to comfortably secure safety and even more unexpectedly propel the side up the table, the final home game of the season ended in defeat, play-off contenders Glossop winning 3-1 – the season however ended with consecutive victories, first at Harrogate Railway and on the final day of the season at Droylsden. The Reds finishing the season in 17th place, a point and a place better off than 12 months earlier.
Grant Black afforded himself no time off, and by the time of the clubs end of season award party had already secured the majority of the squad for the next season, as well as the signature of a number of new players, most notably Leigh Overton, Ashley Jackson and Leon Henry.
Pre-season was long and hard, Black enjoying his first summer giving the instructions rather than having to follow them as a player. Former Assistant manager of Ossett Town, Clive Freeman, and father of Ossett Town forward Charlie, found pre-season amusing. Black had been a player under Freeman at Buxton for five years, Freeman said “Grant was a great trainer as a player but he hated all the running and now watching him barking out the orders and making players do what he hated so much is hilarious”.
The Reds stuttered in early pre-season as Black looked to kick on to the next level, the Steve Kelly memorial trophy was retained against Hemsworth Miners Welfare and although the score was 2-2 against Frickley Athletic, it was an excellent performance against a side from the division above.
A run of three wins saw first Brighouse put to the sword at Ingfield, Brighouse were the early pacesetters in the NPL First Division North; that defeat the only one they suffered in their opening 13 league games.
A large crowd swelled the coughers and on paper it looked like a disaster, 1-7 at home. But everyone who was there, including the visiting supporters were shocked by the result. It was just one of those days where one side took every opportunity given to them and the other just couldn’t hit the net. There is no disputing the correct side progressed, just the score difference is still hard to believe.
A result like that could so easily have destroyed a squad – but somewhere a lot of positivity was taken from that game. Tadcaster were the visitors three days later, a side on paper that has enough quality to instil fear in any side. They have a Champions League winner in Jon Greening and a number of former top flight professionals too. But what followed was a stunning performance from Ossett Town, a 3-1 victory that could easily have been more.
October started with James Rogers’ favourite game of the year “Colwyn Bay on the 1st October without a doubt. One of the great away trips that will be forever remembered by those that were there. The great performance and convincing 2-0 win. The great and loud support from the fans. And of course the trip home on the Ossett Town party bus. Classic day”