Sheffield reach the play-offs

Two-goal hero: Andy Gascoigne fends off a challenge from Romulus' Walker.   picture: BARRY RICHARDSON
Two-goal hero: Andy Gascoigne fends off a challenge from Romulus' Walker. picture: BARRY RICHARDSON
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There was a double celebration for the two City Evo-Stik League teams as Stocksbridge Park Steels retained their Premier Division status despite a 3-1 home defeat against Kendal Town, while Sheffield FC marked their 11th birthday at the Coach & Horses ground with a resounding 4-1 win over Romulus to book their place in the Division One South play-offs.

After early nerves Conor Higginson gave Club a 36th minute lead on a quick counter attack with a bursting run from the halfway line before hitting home a dipping volley from just outside the area.

Andy Gascoigne gave Club breathing space with the second on 72 minutes rifling home from 20-yards and they had their foot firmly in the play-offs when Gascoigne made it 3-0 from the penalty spot=.

Romulus reduced the deficit on 90 minutes through Charisma Agbonlahor but Sheffield had the final word when substitute Jason Bradley netted with a speculative effort.

With Stocksbridge requiring just a point to avoid relegation at Bracken Moor, Chris Willcock’s men evaded dropping into the bottom four thanks to results elsewhere.

Steels got a fine start when defender Richard Haigh struck home a volley on the turn from 16-yards. Scott Hogan was denied a second two minutes later, goalkeeper Tom Newton getting down to push the his firm drive wide.

Ben Scott came close to a spectacular goal on 24 minutes when the Steels goalkeeper took a free-kick from inside his own half that forced his opposite number to tip over the bar at full stretch. The game changed just before the half hour mark when a long punt up-field saw Gary McKevatt get in behind the defence to lift a shot over Scott.

It got worse for Steels when Kendal went 2-1 up four minutes before the break, Alex Taylor tapping in from close range. The visitors extended the lead on 70 minutes with a spectacular long-range effort from fullback Danny Williams.

The goal had Stocksbridge starring relegation in the face. But news that Chasetown had been held to a 4-4 draw at bottom of the table Burscough and that Frickley Athletics’ 4-3 victory over Stafford Rangers was not enough to over haul Steels on goal difference, meant Steels survived the drop.

Frickley went into their game knowing that not even a victory would keep them out of the bottom four. They raced into a 3-0 lead with three goals in seven minutes through Stuart Ludlam, Danny South and Bradley Grayson.

Mark Kinsella pulled one back direct from a 25-yard free-kick but Frickley restored their three goal cushion when South tucked away his second. With the home side chasing a fifth goal which would have seen them climb out of the bottom four on goal difference they were punished late on as Stafford pulled one back through a Mark Gray 90th minute own-goal with Rob Stevenson grabbing a third deep into stoppage time. Frickley could yet avoid relegation should Northwich Victoria lose their appeal against expulsion from the Evo-Stik NPL.

Worksop Town rounded off their season with a creditable goalless draw at Hednesford Town who gained the point required to secure a play-off place.

Matlock Town’s poor away form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Rushall Olympic where Kyle Brady rifled home inside the last minute

Buxton were beaten 1-0 at home by Whitby Town to a Tom Portas yard drive.

Fixtures

Today - Div One South play-off semi-final: Ilkeston FC v Sheffield FC.

Sheffield Senior Cup semi-final: Penistone Ch v Worksop Town (7.30).