It finished honours even in the relegation scrap at Bracken Moor as Stocksbridge Park Steels and Frickley Athletic battled out a 1-1 draw in a game that both sides needed to win yet feared to lose, which saw both managers Gary Marrow and the visitors Peter Rinkcavage up against their former clubs
It was about the right result with the visitors edging a nervous first half, while the momentum was with the home side after the break once Jack Muldoon had cancelled out Ashley Longstaff’s cracking opener. Muldoon forced an excellent save out of Athletic goalkeeper Ben Simpson with an effort inside the first five minutes, while Brian Cusworth, making his debut for Frickley after signing from Sheffield, headed against the post.
The deadlock was broken when Longstaff turned on the corner of the 18-yard box to send a terrific effort into Ben Scott’s top left hand corner against his former club.
Andy Ring was only just wide with a looping header inside the first minute of the second half as Steels made a bright start, which was rewarded with the equaliser on 62 minutes. Ring floated in a cross that was met by Muldoon with a header that crept just inside Simpson’s right hand post. Stocksbridge were reduced to 10-men with eight minutes remaining with one of the worse decisions referee Mr Newman is likely to make. Stuart Ludlam, who had already been booked, clearly won the ball in a tackle on Ashley Burbeary, only for the match official to hastily produce a second yellow card. It caused a fracas between the two benches. Both sides could have won it late in with Cusworth glancing a header just wide of the post in the 89th minute then with the last kick of the game Ring saw his 22-yard volley go inches over. It left Steels two points above the drop zone, whilst Frickley remain in the bottom four, a point from safety.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Worksop Town saw their promotion hopes take a knock with a 2-1 defeat at FC United of Manchester. FC took the lead a minute before the break when Mike Norton headed in a Matt Wolfenden cross. Tigers levelled on 61 minutes as debutant Luke Beckett smashed the ball into the roof of the roof of the net from a Mikel Suarez knock down. However, United regained the lead 60-seconds later when James Cotterill turn a cross into his own net.
Matlock Town slipped to third after a 1-0 defeat at Kendal Town where David Foster headed the only goal of the game. Buxton stepped up their play-off challenge coming from a goal down to beat leader FC Halifax Town 2-1 at the Silverlands.
The title favourites looked to be on their way to a 22nd league win when Tom Baker fired them ahead with a penalty on 69 minutes after a foul on Jamie Vardy. But Sam Johnson came off the bench to nod home the equaliser on 76 minutes then blasting home the winner from close range five minutes later.
Retford United crashed to a 4-1 defeat at relegation threatened Mickloever Sports where the game was settled in a spell either side of the break when Sports rattled in four. Substitute Jordan Turner pulled one back for the Badgers.
In Division One South, Sheffield FC slipped to a second successive home defeat and third on the going down to 3-2 against Rushall Olympic. It came just three days after Grantham Town had performed a 2-1 smash and grab at Dronfield. Nick Amos headed Rushall into a lead but Chris Adam’s quick thinking at a free-kick saw the midfield curl a fine effort over the stranded keeper for the equaliser. However the visitors regained the lead with a Matt Lewis penalty with Danny Ashton extending the lead three minutes later at the far post. Ant Lynam pulled one back with a deflected free-kick but the visitors hung on for the win. Alfreton Town romped to a fifth consecutive league victory thrashing Corby Town 6-0 to move to within a point of leaders Blues Square North leaders Nuneaton.
Tuesday - Premier Division: Colwyn Bay v Worksop Town, FC Halifax Town v Stocksbridge Park Steels, Matlock Town v Buxton. Division One South: Sheffield FC v Stamford.
Thursday - Premier Division: Worksop Town v Retford United.