PICKERING Town closed out a disappointing first season back in the NCEL Premier Division with a 2-0 defeat at play-off contenders Rossington Main.

Despite their league positions at opposite ends of the table, the Pikes remained in the game until the prolific Ross Hannah bagged his, and his side’s, second goal with three minutes to play.

Pickering were dealt an injury blow to stand-in captain Nathan Dyer shortly before the break, with the game paused for 45 minutes whilst he awaited an ambulance after a nasty clash of heads.

After receiving treatment at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, he was discharged later that evening.

In the absence of 10 first-team players through suspension or injury, Tony Hackworth named a youthful side for the trip to South Yorkshire, including three of the club’s Under 16s.

Pickering had won just once on the road all season, and were given an early warning when Hannah’s strike fell just wide of Harrison McGuire’s far post.

Just three minutes later, the young goalkeeper bravely halted Hannah’s progress into the box, before making a crucial diving save from Brad Grayson’s free-kick.

Rossington’s Paul Sherburn was next to try his luck at goal from a corner as the hosts’ dominance continued, but could not find the target.

The Doncaster side did eventually make the breakthrough just after the half-hour, Hannah delivering a stunning 20-yard free-kick into the bottom left-hand corner.

Pickering threatened an immediate response when Omar Sanyang was allowed to let fly, but Jim Pollard was equal to it, turning the ball around the post.

The game was paused shortly after, with Dyer left on the floor with a lump on his temple, but did resume some 45 minutes later.

Rossington refused to let up in their attack after the restart, with both Grayson firing narrowly over the crossbar and Sherburn hitting the post before a heavy bounce saw Hannah’s chip land just behind the goal.

The hosts though could have perhaps counted themselves lucky when Pollard appeared to have collected the ball outside the box, but nothing was given by the officials.

Sherburn squandered another opportunity just after the hour before Rossington wrapped up the three points late on, Ben Hunter and Hannah linking up superbly for the latter to kill the game off with three minutes remaining.