THE battle for promotion from the North West Counties League Premier Division heats up tonight with local leading lights Ramsbottom United and Barnoldswick both involved in key games.

Ramsbottom are top of the table and they welcome Runcorn Town to the Riverside Stadium knowing that if they win they will stay at the summit, while Barnoldswick – in third spot – make the short trip to Colne for a Pendle derby to set the pulse racing.

Barlick would have gone to the top had they beaten Squires Gate last Tuesday – and everything was going to plan as they led 1-0 with just three minutes left on the clock before they were stunned by two late Seasiders’ strikes to lose 2-1.

That loss angered Barlick joint boss Ben Hall, who said: “When you are 1-0 up with three minutes to go you should not be losing games.”

They got back to winning ways on Saturday with a penalty shoot-out success over Chadderton in the League Cup and head to the XLCR Stadium to face a Colne side who hit the top 10 of the table with their impressive weekend win at Stone Dominoes.

Nelson are also in action tonight as they travel to Oldham Borough in the North West Counties League First Division.

The Admirals aim to follow up last week’s win over Formby, which was their first game since November 19.