The CBC Premier’s top three, Civil Service, Stannington Village and The Vine, all won to keep the title race boiling nicely.
Leaders Civil Service entertained in-form Redmires and despite being on the back foot for much of the first half, Service took an interval lead when Ben Brown’s shot was blocked and Gregg Dumpleton pounced to score his first goal for over two years.
After the break Service doubled their lead when Gavin Wills smashed home a25-yard free kick and although James Kirkham pulled one back Service held on to stay three points clear.
Stannington Village found hosts Bulls Head in their best form for weeks and they needed to be at their best to take the points. Robin Elliott had a header tipped over and it was almost half time before Stannington got their noses in front when Lee Johnstone sent Sami Eric down the wing before he cut inside to provide the perfect pass for Gavin Davis to score. Stannington secured the points in the second half when Dean Jepson got onto the end of Bill Green’s long throw to steer the ball past the Bulls Head keeper.
The Vine kept up with the top two with a 4-1 victory over Hemsworth Villa. Matt Ellis opened the scoring and grabbed his second after Rikki Davidson forced a great save out of the Villa keeper. Liam Allott then beat two men before crossing for Brent Heeley to score the goal that kept up his record of scoring in every one of his nine seasons with The Vine. Villa tried to respond and after Chris Waddle had hit the bar they pulled one back when Jack House was brought down in the area and he picked himself up to score from the spot. Vine made sure as man of the match Allott beat his man on the edge of the area before drilling home his side’s fourth.
Stocksbridge Park Steels were held 2-2 by Ecclesfield Players Lounge for a second consecutive week despite going 2-0 up through Scott Birch and Mark Woodcock’. But Ecclesfield’s Mark Groves hit the bar and Danny Turner missed two good chances before Tom Bartholamew and when man of the match levelled matters.
The Park stayed on the fringes of the title race as a Mark Townsend treble helped to them to a 5-2 victory over Woodhouse Angel. Townsend headed home Aaron Walker’s cross to put The Park ahead and Townsend doubled that lead when he met Ryan Campbell’s cross. Matt Parks quickly pulled one back for Angel, but just a minute later Campbell was the provider again for Jordan Belcher to restore the two goal lead. After the break Nathaniel Foster hammered home to make it 4-1 and although Gareth Simons scored a second for Angel from the penalty spot it was The Park and Townsend that had the final say when he completed his hat-trick from the spot after they had been awarded a penalty.
Handsworth Turf drew first blood in the derby against Handsworth Old Boys, but Mario Esposito was the Old Boys’ two-goal hero as they hit back to take the bragging rights with a 5-1 win. Esposito goals either side of one from Shane Rollinson gave the Old Boys a 3-1 half time lead and although Eaton nearly grabbed a second when his header hit the post and Kieran Gallagher twice went close, further goals for Paul Turner and a Chisanga Nshindano penalty saw the Old Boys comfortably home and five points clear of the relegation zone.