West Yorkshire League: Ripon City settle on new manager

NARG 1504254AMAM1 Ripon City V Shelley. Ripon's Duncan Kelly.  (1504254AM1)
NARG 1504254AMAM1 Ripon City V Shelley. Ripon's Duncan Kelly. (1504254AM1)

Ripon City Reserves’ manager Mick Baldwin has been handed the task of getting the first team back into the Premier League next season.

Baldwin will take over the role of first team manager after enjoying a successful season with the reserve side that gained promotion to the Alliance Division One.

He will now take over from outgoing manager Steve Donoghue who oversaw a 3-2 win against Oxenhope Recreation on Saturday in his last game in charge.

The club’s chairman Sue Dennison admitted that they were ‘disappointed’ to see Donoghue leave the club but she is now focusing on the club moving forward under their new manager.

She said: “We were disappointed that Steve made the decision to go because in no way did we hold him responsible for our relegation. He had an impossible task but the results did get better after he came in.

“Steve inherited massive problems but the committee also have to take responsibility as maybe we waited too long before making a decision.

“But the players also have to take responsibility for their lack of commitment.

“We would like to thank Steve for all his work but we have to move on and concentrate getting out of Division One.”

Baldwin’s impressive record of 18 wins from 26 games in Alliance Division Two was enough to gain promotion to Division One and convince Ms Dennison he was the right man for the job.

In stark contrast Donoghue proved unable to save the first team from a perilous position when he took over from Alistair Hogg in November, despite vastly improved performances.

The latest of these came in Saturday’s win over Oxenhope when Donoghue’s men were forced to twice come from behind to grab victory.

A brace from Duncan Terry as well as a strike from teenager Luca Crompton helped Ripon to their just their fourth win of the season in their last game in the Premier League.

While the game had no bearing on Ripon’s destination next season, the win did mean that they will finish above local rivals Boroughbridge who finished bottom.

Donoghue praised his side for their performance at the weekend and was pleased to end his time in charge of the club on a high.

He said: “It was a really good game and they probably were the best team we’ve played in the last six weeks.

“When we scored the third it was just a case of can we hang on because we haven’t been able to hang on in a lot of other games but thankfully we did here.

“We did everything right and it was pleasing. It was nice to finish with a win but it’s just come a little bit late.

“It would have been easy for us to just think that we were down. It’s a tough game so the players could have made excuses.”

Despite their drop into Division One, Donoghue remains confident that the team will be able to bounce straight back thanks to a core of promising young players in the side.

He said “I think it was a good way to finish because we had a lot of young lads playing and they were absolutely fantastic.

“If we would have had that commitment all season we would have been fine. That team that played on Saturday is a mid -table team but it’s just taken a few games too long.”