RADCLIFFE held their nerve to secure promotion to the Premier Division following a 2-1 win against Leek Town in the West division play-off final.

They came from behind and, thanks to goals from Ben Wharton and Tunde Owolabi, Boro will now be looking forward to welcoming the likes of FC United of Manchester and Ashton United to the Neuven Stadium next season after a 16-year wait for promotion.

The final pitted the teams who finished second and third against each other.

Both teams also had the tightest defences in the league, conceding just 34 goals each in 38 games.

Radcliffe had booked their place in the final following a 3-0 win against Ramsbottom United, while the visitors squeezed past Colne 2-1 in extra time.

A nervous first half ended with Leek a goal to the good.

On 32 minutes a long, hopeful ball from Dan Trickett-Smith found its way to Robert Stevenson, who found his way between two centre-halves and plucked the ball from the sky with a deft touch before slotting past

Ollie Martin in the Boro goal.

Radcliffe responded and after Leek keeper Danny Roberts palmed away Scott Metcalfe’s vicious inswinging corner, the chance of the half fell to Wharton.

After good work from Owolabi down the right, the ball was flashed across the face of goal but, although Wharton got the desired touch, a Leek defender was on hand to somehow deflect the ball over the bar.

Jon Macken’s half-time substitution paid immediate dividends, as Matthew Crothers, barely on the pitch 60 seconds, attacked down the right channel and drilled the ball across the face of goal where Owolabi was waiting and gleefully tapped in at the back post.

Inspired by whatever was said at half time, Boro took the upper hand, although chances went begging for a number of players, with Crothers and Craig Lindfield thwarted by some last-ditch defending.

Against the run of play, Leek almost retook the lead, Stevenson sending a swinging cross-shot against the angle of the bar and post.

Moments later, Radcliffe also hit the frame of the goal, Owolabi nicking the ball off Jack Sanders’ toe but seeing his shot agonisingly come back off the upright.

The goal that would seal promotion came from the penalty spot midway through the half.

Kyle Harrison was the man felled in a chase for the ball by Lewis Short and Wharton converted from 12 yards, low to the keeper’s right.

Hearts were in mouths soon after when Stevenson went down under a challenge from Harrison but the referee waved away Leek protests.

There was late drama as Leek threw everything they could at Radcliffe.

The visitors’ captain, Niall Green, went painfully close but thudded his finish against the post following a goalmouth scramble.

And in the final seconds Metcalfe’s perfectly-timed challenge prevented Tim Grice from rescuing Leek and Boro saw out the time to book their place in the Premier Division.