Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC will look to the FA Cup this weekend to kick-start their season.
Steels and Club have lost their opening two league games following defeats on Tuesday that saw 10-men Steels beaten 2-1 at home by Gresley whilst Sheffield suffered a 2-0 reversal at one of the promotion favourites, Shaw Lane AFC.
Stocksbridge face a trip to NCE League Premier title favourites Handsworth Parramore. Manager Chris Hilton said: “It’s been a difficult start; I just can’t put my finger on it at the moment. It’s more or less the same group of players that finished well last season yet we are playing like we hardly know each other. We’ve conceded five goals in two games - we’ve given them away.
“Our problem is getting everyone fit. Corey Gregory is suspended but is struggling with injury while Adam Hinchliffe is a couple of weeks away yet.”
Hilton felt his team could have beaten Gresley. “I thought if we could have got in front we would have gone on and won the game even with 10 men,” he said.
“It was poor from both teams in the first half. We started the second well then conceded a penalty and are down to 10. We responded well, looked hungry then got the equaliser through Scott Ruthven, who deserved his goal. But we then switch off and concede a soft goal, which is not like us.”
Hilton knows the Handsworth game will be far from easy. “ It’s going to be tough, they’ve got Evo-Stik players and won all four games; they’ll be full of confidence. They will be wanting to put one over us and they start slight favourites. But if we play like we’re capable of then we can go their and get the right result.”
Sheffield FC go to Ramsbottom United who were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season. They beat Goole AFC 3-1 at home in the opening day but slipped to a 2-1 midweek defeat at Kendal Town. Club are looking for their first win of the season following the defeats against Romulus and Shaw Lane. “Its not been the best of start but we knew the first month was going to be tough” said boss James Colliver. “We had eight debutants against Romulus and were perhaps a little nervous. But we grew into the game and probably should had come away with a point. We set our stall out against Shaw Lane and created three of four good chances in the first half and could have gone in leading. They came out strong in the second half and scored early with a good piece of play. Then we were caught out late on when we’re pushing forward. We put in a decent performance and matched their work rate. It’s a new project, we have a lot of new players who are bedding in, it just needs everyone to be patient. We’ve picked up a few knocks so we could be stretched, nevertheless we’ll go to Ramsbottom looking to give a good account of ourselves. A good cup run can be very rewarding, we’ll be doing our best to get into the next round.”
Midfielder Liam Greenfield is ruled out, Sam Finlaw and James Cottingham both have knee injures. Lee Gregory has a back complaint.
There is some good news though with striker Alec Denton set to return after fracturing his jaw
Shaw Lane AFC will be aiming to make it three wins from three when they host Division One North side Colwyn Bay. The visitors go into the tie boosted by a first win of the season in midweek, a 3-1 victory over Hyde United.
FA Cup Preliminary Round: Handsworth Parramore v Stocksbridge Park Steels, Ramsbottom United v Sheffield FC, Shaw Lane AFC v Colwyn Bay.
Premier Division: Coalville Town v Buxton, Matlock Town v Nantwich Victoria,Stafford Rangers v Frickley Athletic.