ARDLEY United are confident of remaining in the fifth tier of non-league football despite finishing in the bottom three.

The north Oxfordshire side drew 2-2 with high-flying Bishops Cleeve in their final Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division game of the season on Saturday.

But wins for Longlevens and Tuffley Rovers on Monday saw Ardley slip below the line on goal difference.

Craig Adey’s side now face an anxious wait for the official Football Association ruling on how many teams will be relegated.

But with the Premier Division already cut to 19 teams this season following Oxford City Nomads’ withdrawal and further restructuring expected, Ardley chairman Ian Feaver is positive about staying up.

He said: “We’ve heard there will be one, if not maybe two, going down.

“Until we get that official you never know, but my understanding is we’ll be OK.”

Ardley, who won the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup earlier this month, only lost two of their last seven games, but were sucked into the bottom three.

Feaver added: “Our results over recent weeks have been really good, it’s just the teams below us have continued winning to be safe as well."

Tobias London and Twariq Yusuf scored in the draw with fourth-placed Bishops Cleeve.

Feaver left the game feeling optimistic about next season.

He said: “Bishops Cleeve needed to win to have any chance of the title and they could not better us – that shows how far we’ve come.

“Our squad is very young. Our start was not great and it affected the whole season, but we got better and better and that culminated in us winning the cup and taking a few scalps recently.

“Our young players have adapted to this league and we’re feeling very good about next season.”

There is a hint of experience in the side, with Troy Bryan the longest serving player.

His ten years at the club is being marked with a testimonial on Saturday (3) where the current team will face an Ardley XI managed by Kevin Brock.

All proceeds from the game will go to SSNAP (support for the sick newborn and their parents).

Feaver was full of praise for Bryan’s contribution.

He said: “What he has done for the club has been amazing.

“He’s very highly respected amongst all the clubs in the league, recognising him as one of the best footballers at this level.

“But those that have worked with him will also know him as a thoroughly decent human being.”