Sheffield FC kick-started their promotion push after ending a run of six games without a win with a crucial 3-2 win at play-off rivals Leek Town and in doing so completed a league double over their Staffordshire hosts.
Mark Shaw’s men hung on to the final play-off spot and have a three-point cushion over Loughborough Dynamo in sixth who have played two games more. And Club put the pressure on Leek by opening up an eight-point cushion over their hosts who have three games in hand.
Sheffield went a goal behind after two minutes when Christian Millar headed in a left wing cross. But Sheffield hit back on 11 minutes through Conor Higginson’s deflected effort. Higginson struck again on 26 minutes slamming the ball home from the edge of the box after Matt Varley’s throw had been half cleared.
Andy Gascoigne missed the opportunity to extend the lead, firing wide from the penalty spot after Leek skipper Matt Haddrell had been sent-off for handling on the line.
Higginson twice went close to completing his hat-trick but Club were rocked when ten-men Leekequalised after 66 minutes as Tim Grice headed home from a cross.
However, Sheffield deservedly grabbed the winner six minutes from time when from another Varley throw saw Warren Burrell drive the ball home at the far post.
Frickley Athletic suffered a first defeat in eight outings going down 3-1 at the Tech-5 Stadium against Premier Division leaders Chester FC.
The visitors had the ball in the net on the half hour mark but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Blues keeper Steve Dickinson. However, Chester did go in front on 63 minutes when the unmarked Christian Smith tapped in a cross at the far post. But Frickley levelled straight from the re-start, Peter Knox firing home from 10-yards.
Chester re-took the lead on 71 minutes through Iain Howard and they sealed the points with the third 11 minutes from time, George Horan heading home from 12-yards.
Worksop Town failed to score for the third game in a row as they went down 1-0 at home to Northwich Victoria.
It was harsh on Simon Clark’s men who had dominated for long periods particularly in the second half. James Jackson fired a good chance straight at the keeper inside the first five minutes then Chris Wood headed over from a free-kick when he ought to have hit the target.
But three minutes before the break Ryan Wade fired home against the run of play to give the visitors the lead.
Tigers pressed for an equaliser in the second half with Luke Shiels seeing his goal-bound header cleared off the line, and then Massiah McDonald was denied from six yards by a brilliant reflex save.
Buxton boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win at bottom of the table Burscough. Bradley Barraclough headed the Bucks into a 68th minute lead with substitute Neil Steven doubling the advantage nine minutes later thumping in a shot that went in off the underside crossbar. It proved to be the winner as Burscough pulled one back five minutes from time through a Phil Clarke penalty
Tuesday - S&H Senior Cup quarter-finals: Frickley Ath v Stocksbridge PS, Sheffield FC v Handsworth.
Wednesday - S&H Senior Cup quarter-finals: Hemsworth MW v Penistone Ch, Worksop Tn v Staveley MW.