RADCLIFFE are back in the Northern Premier League, now the Evo-Stik Premier, following their memorable play-off success under Jon Macken.

Though Atherton Collieries won the Evo-Stik West title Macken led Radcliffe up with a 2-1 win against Leek Town in the final.

Under the former Manchester City striker Boro made the club’s greatest start to a season since 1982/83, winning the first seven games of the season and occupying at least a spot in the play-off places throughout the season.

It all started with a 2-0 win at newly-promoted Widnes, Ben Wharton and Elliot Rokka scoring to secure the club’s first opening-day win since 2004.

A 5-0 demolition of Trafford at Shawe View was the highlight of the month, pushed close by the FA Cup clash at Prestwich Heys, which was given national attention with a live BBC broadcast as Wharton hit both goals in a 2-0 victory.

There was more cup action in September, when a defeat on penalties at Premier Division side Lancaster City in the Integro League Cup after a battling 2-2 draw was hard to take.

But Radcliffe progressed in the FA Cup with a tight 1-0 win against Stalybridge before falling to a 2-1 home defeat to National League North side Curzon Ashton.

Boro suffered a loss of league form as autumn drew in, with home defeats to Glossop and Skelmersdale United.

October contained three draws in the league and a controversial exit from the FA Trophy in a 3-2 defeat at home to Cleethorpes.

The month’s sole victory came at Irlam in the Manchester Cup, a hat-trick from Shelton Payne the highlight of a frustrating few weeks.

Boro got back in the groove again in November with five straight wins to fire the club back to the top of the league table and make progress into the semi-finals of the Manchester Cup.

December saw the Radcliffe family suffer tragedy off the field as, following the Lancashire Cup quarter-final at Ashton Athletic several members of club staff were involved in a car accident travelling home.

The club was left devastated by the passing of club photographer Peter Lee. On an emotional day at the Neuven Stadium the club and many from the world of non-league football paid their respects and the team delivered a 2-1 win against Chasetown in hugely difficult circumstances.

A 7-0 win at Clitheroe followed with Tunde Owolabi scoring a 25-minute hat-trick.

A seven-match winning streak in the league was ended on Boxing Day with a 2-1 defeat at neighbours Ramsbottom United.

The new year started with two convincing wins, at home to Trafford and Newcastle, but defeats at Leek and at home to Mossley stalled the title charge, further points being dropped with a controversial last-minute penalty awarded to Prescot Cables at the end of the month.

In February Boro’s scheduled Manchester Cup semi-final at home to FC United of Manchester was changed due to the Rebels’ exclusion from the competition for off-field irregularities, old foes Mossley taking their place.

And Mossley made the most of their chance with a 3-2 win at the Neuven Stadium putting them into the final

A great win at Droylsden proved to be a false dawn after losing at home to Leek and away at Market Drayton which then left Radcliffe nine points off the pace at the top. Macken’s squad refused to give up, however, and went on a seven-match winning streak to cut the gap to Colls to one point.

The wins kept coming in March, with Droylsden despatched 2-1 and Kendal beaten 4-0, Wharton hitting three goals.

Two massive games followed and a Callum Grogan goal at home to third-placed Runcorn Linnets was followed by a top-of-the-table clash at Atherton.

Radcliffe collected the points in a vital 1-0 win with Owolabi the goal hero as Boro secured a double over the eventual champions.

Colls went on to win the championship, leaving Boro to embark on one of their biggest weeks, facing local rivals Ramsbottom in the play-off semi-finals.

In one of their best performances of the season Radcliffe comfortably dispatched Rammy 3-0 with a towering Scott Metcalfe header putting them in charge at the break.

Owolabi slotted in the second after a fine ball from captain Kingsley Williams and Wharton lobbed Rams keeper Sam Ashton to seal victory and a place in the final against leek.

A huge crowd of 1,141 came to watch history unfold at the Neuven Stadium, where Boro hosted the only side in Evo-Stik West to have beaten them home and away.

Leek led at the break through Robert Stevenson and, at half time, news came through that Brighouse were winning in the East Division final, which meant Radcliffe would be promoted if they won.

Half-time substitute Matthew Crothers made an instant impact, as his low cross found Owolabi at the back post to tap home for his 26th goal of the campaign.

A flurry of chances came and went for Boro, as Grogan, Crothers and Owolabi all had opportunities to find the winner.

But the vital goal came in the 63rd minute. Kyle Harrison was brought down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty.

Amid huge pressure, Wharton stepped up and found the bottom corner.

A tense ending to the game, with five minutes added on, saw Leek cause numerous scares but Radcliffe saw out the game to spark fantastic scenes and seal promotion in the club’s 70th year.