Civica chip away to spring leek

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It’s odds on that the title race will go down to the wire for Sheffield Hallam Civica.

But it may well be over for Doncaster.

The Abbeydale side bagged a vital three points in a 2-1 victory at fourth-placed Leek to maintain their top-of-the-table challenge in the North Conference.

They remain a point behind Durham University with two games to go while the third team in the championship mix, Doncaster suffered a surprise defeat against relegation-threatened Barford Tigers.

Already relegated Ben Rhydding are the final visitors to Abbeydale on Saturday and Civica will be looking for a strong performance and a maximum points return to take the title into the final weekend. They end their season with a trip to struggling Belper while Durham travel to Olton and West Warwicks this weekend and finish with a home clash against Harborne.

Surprisingly, the expected ‘trench warfare’ in the Leek encounter didn’t materialise and Civica restricted the home side to rare counter attacks in the first half. Unfortunately they missed numerous chances before Phil Roper finally hit the net in the 24th minute to take a well deserved lead.

Cue floodgates? Afraid not. Confusion over a sideline hit allowed Leek space around the back of Hallam’s defence and a simple two-on-one brought the equaliser.

Six minutes into the second half Civica regained the lead when a well-worked move was finished off by Will Hearne.

They continued to dominate play and possession but just couldn’t apply the killer touch. Thankfully neither could the home side and it was Sheffield’s day.

Sheffield Hallam Ladies may have missed out on promotion but they could well be the team to decide who goes up.

They made their point at Ben Rhydding who along with Whitley Bay & Tynemouth and Liverpool Sefton lead the division with only one point separating the three, Hallam gained a deserved 1-1 draw after Michelle Daniels had put them ahead, and have to play Rhydding again in a rearranged match at Abbeydale on a date yet to be confirmed. They also have to travel to play Sefton.

On Saturday Hallam travel to play at bottom end club Chester.

Keeper Sarah Pool pulled off her first ever penalty stroke save to help the Seconds complete the double over Norton 1 with a 4-3 win. The goals were shared by Cesca Woodland, Claire Winter, Becks Coey and Emma Mackie.

They face Division 2 East leaders Leeds University at Abbyedale on Saturday (11.30am).

The Thirds slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Bingley Bees while the Fourths went down 7-1 to Division 4 leaders Sheffield University Bankers 1.