PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall has bolstered his side's promotion push with the capture of teenage duo Marcelle Chigamira and Joe Dunnett, writes Ian Appleyard.

Both players are products of the York-based i2i Football Academy and are in the squad for Saturday's home game against Clipstone.

Striker Chigamira, 19, was born in Zimbabwe but moved to Leeds as a youngster and attends York College.

He is close friends with twins Ronaldo and Romario Vieira who are currently making waves at Leeds United.

Dunnett, 17, is a utility player who caught the eye of Doncaster Rovers after a string of impressive early season performances for Garforth Town.

He has recently been on trial with League Two leaders Rovers but was not offered a permanent deal.

Marshall believes the arrival of the duo brings added competition to Pickering's squad entering the final two months of the season.

The Pikes are currently second in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League premier division - five points adrift of leaders Cleethorpes Town with 16 games still to play.

Victory over Clipstone - who are currently a club in turmoil - will reduce the gap to just three points as Cleethorpes are playing in the sixth round of the FA Vase this weekend against Southall.

The two title rivals then square up on Saturday February 25 in a genuine 'six pointer' at Mill Lane.

"We know what we have to do," says Marshall. "If we beat Clipstone and Cleethorpes in our next two games, we are top of the league.

"It's a big incentive because, a few weeks ago, everyone thought Cleethorpes had things wrapped up. All we can do is keep putting pressure on them and then see where that takes us."

Third-placed Bridlington Town are the other club still in the equation but are five points behind the Pikes and 10 adrift of Cleethorpes.

Although the league is Marshall's top priority, he fielded a full-strength side to beat Scarborough Athletic last night in the North Riding County FA Senior Cup semi-final.

Substitute Nathan Kamara was the hero, scoring the only goal of the game late on.

Captain Niall Tilsey was sent off for a first half challenge on former Pikes defender Matty Turnbull. Scarborough's Craig Nelthorpe was also dismissed in the final minute of the game.

The winners meet either Middlesbrough Under-23s or Whitby Town in the final.

Winger Russ Parker, meanwhile, is hoping to be involved this weekend for the first time since damaging ankle ligaments against Bridlington Town on Boxing Day.

Marshall says Parker's return will be another 'big boost' although his path to the side is blocked by the current form of Ryan Cooper. Player-coach Denny Ingram is currently nursing a minor knock.

Clipstone are 15th in the league table but their season has descended into freefall since the departure of chairman Dave Paling and the club's aborted resignation from the league last month.

They have suffered heavy defeats in three consecutive league games against Garforth, Hemsworth Miners Welfare, and Maltby Main and were dumped out of the NCEL League Cup last month by division one side Penistone Church.

"It's sad to see what's happening to Clipstone," admitted Marshall. "The chairman has left, the manager (Billy Fox) has left, and so have a lot of the players. But we have got to stay fully focused on our objectives and come back with three points."

Reserve team coach Ian Cotton is currently in charge of first team affairs at Clipstone who are unlikely to be relegated as they are 22 points clear of the drop zone.

The Pikes's game at Hemsworth Miners Welfare last weekend was postponed due to a water-logged pitch following a mid-morning pitch inspection. It has now been re-arranged for Tuesday March 21.

The Pikes had extended their unbeaten league run to 15 games three days previously courtesy of a 3-2 victory at Worksop Town.

Ryan Cooper settled the contest ten minutes from time after the Pikes had twice been pegged back.

Joe Danby fired the Pikes into the lead on 13 minutes with the only goal of the first half.

Kyle Jordan equalised for Worksop from the penalty spot after 48 minutes but Eddy Birch restored the Pikes' lead after 67 minutes.

When Mitcham Husbands levelled matters with 16 minutes to play, it could have delivered a blow to the Pikes hopes of catching leaders Cleethorpes.

But Cooper popped up to hit a dramatic winner ten minutes from the end.