Sheffield FC strengthened their position in the Division One South play-off places with a narrow 1-0 victory over ten-man Hucknall Town in a tight and tense affair at Dronfield.
In the Premier Division, Stocksbridge remain embroiled in a relegation battle following a 3-0 defeat against promotion-chasing Chorley that saw Steels beaten for the first time in 11 league games at Bracken Moor.
Club have hit good spell of form at the right time with victory over Hucknall being their fourth in the last five games, whilst making it just one defeat in the last 10 league games.
It leaves Mark Shaw’s men fourth in the table and with an eight-point cushion over Belper Town who are just outside the play-off positions with four games remaining.
The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot on 24 minutes awarded for handball and which saw the visitors reduced to 10-men with Andy Gascoigne duly converting from the spot for his 20th goal of the season.
Either side of the goal Jason Bradley saw his header pushed over crossbar with Nathan Modest’s strike suffered the same fate, while Gascoigne had an effort scrambled off the line.
Sheffield were forced into a change at half-time with goalkeeper Josh Mimms staying off after picking up an injury leaving midfielder Matt Roney to take over in goal with no keeper on the bench. Indeed it was Sheffield that went closest to adding to their lead with Hucknall keeper doing well to parry Conor Higginson’s firmly struck shot.
Stocksbridge remain two places and one point above the drop zone after the defeat against an impressive Chorley side on a day when Chasetown were the only winners amongst the bottom seven.
Steels got off to the worst possible start when Andy Teague headed in from a fourth minute corner to give the visitors the lead.
Matt Telling saw his firmly struck effort blocked by an outstretched leg that looked to be heading for the bottom corner. However, from a Stocksbridge free-kick Chorley broke away to add the second on 27 minutes through Ciaran Kilheeney’s header after Ben Scott had made a great save palming away a Chris Denham drive.
Chris Willcock’s men carried a bigger threat after the break with Declan McGivern and Scott Hogan both heading over the bar when well-placed. But the home side really ought to have pulled one back on 71 minutes when awarded a penalty for handball. But Richard Stirrups spot-kick lacked power and was comfortably saved by keeper Russell Saunders. Chorley wrapped up the points four minutes from time when Kilheeney ran clear to score his second and Chorley’s third.
Worksop Town gained their first home league win of 2012 beating neighbours Matlock Town 2-0 at Sandy Lane which lays to rest any lingering fears of getting dragged into the relegation battle.
The Tigers nudged ahead on 18 minutes through Lee Beeson’s penalty after Jamie Jackson had been brought down by Adam Yates as the striker burst into the area.
Jackson twice went close to adding a second while Massiah McDonald headed over just before the break as Worksop went in search of a second.
Owain Warlow rattled the underside of the crossbar from a free-kick on 54 minutes before the Tigers finally got the second three minutes later, Beeson curling a fine free-kick into the bottom corner. Worksop almost grabbed a third late on when McDonald’s header rattled the crossbar with former Tigers keeper Jon Kennedy well beaten.
Buxton stay a point above the drop zone despite a 3-1 home defeat against promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue. Tom Greaves gave Bradford a 20th minute lead with Richard Marshall doubling the advantage two minutes later. The Bucks pulled one back eight minutes before the break when Neil Stevens rifled home a loose ball inside the area. The game remained in the balance until Ross Daley added Bradford’s third two minutes from time.
FIXTURES - Tuesday, Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup semi-final: Frickley Athletic v Sheffield FC.
Wednesday - Evo-Stik Premier Division: Buxton v Stafford Rangers, Worksop Town v Burscough.