Both Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC gained much needed wins at the weekend.
Steels beat Goole AFC 2-1 in their first home game in two months, while Club were grateful to a late goal in a 1-0 victory over bottom of the table Brigg Town.
Richard Stirrup marked his return to Stocksbridge by scoring both goals - just 24 hours after signing from Sheffield - in a game which also saw goalkeeper Sam Andrew making his home debut.
It took Stirrup just 17 minutes to make his mark tucking the ball away at the second attempt from a Kler Heh cross. Andrew did well to push a free-kick onto the angle of the post and crossbar but Steels dominated the first half and should have gone in at the break with more than one goal to show for their efforts.
Brad Grayson steered a shot just wide of the post from a Heh cross, then Stirrup was denied a second by the keeper after getting in on goal, while Lee Garside forced another good save from the Goole keeper with a far post header although the striker really should had made it count.
Four minutes into the second half Stocksbridge finally double their lead as Stirrup out muscled a defender from a ball into the box to place a shot wide of the keeper.
The midfielder was close to completing his hat-trick just past the hour with a low driven 20-yard effort.
In a spell of Goole pressure Andrew touched a terrific strike from Derry Robson onto the crossbar, while at the other end his opposite number was in action again; pushing Grayson’s angled effort round the post.
Goole made it a nervy finish when Robson turned in a low cross from close range nine minutes from time - but Chris Hilton’s men held out for a deserved win.
Sheffield completed the league double over a Brigg side anchored to the bottom of Division One South and already looking condemned to relegation with a 12-point gap to safety.
Having conceded seven goals in each of their last two outings, the visitors got numbers behind the ball in order to frustrate Jordan Broadbent’s men and came within five minutes of snatching an unlikely point in a largely one-sided contest
With time running out a long throw from Kieran Walker was headed on at the near post by Warren Burrell for Jamie Hadfield to nod in from close range.
It was no more than Sheffield deserved after they had been continually thwarted.
Jody Barford in the Brigg goal made a point blank save from James Gregory; while Hadfield, Longstaff and James Knowles all had efforts cleared off the line.
In the Premier Division, Matlock Town gave their survival hopes a boast as Jamie McDonagh’s 29th minute effort earned a 1-0 win at leaders Skelmersdale United. Frickley Athletic went down 1-0 at title chasing Ilkeston FC and Buxton slipped out of the play-off places following a 3-2 home defeat against Blyth Spartans.
Tomorrow’s fixtures, Division One South: Gresley FC v Stocksbridge Park Steels, Sheffield FC v Mickleover Sports.