Church beaten justonce in 20 outings
Penistone Church climbed up to sixth in the Premier Division following a 2-2 draw at Bridlington Town that stretched their run to just one league defeat in the last 20.
Church have never looked out of place since achieving promotion to the top flight via the play-offs last season, the highest the club have ever played in the football pyramid.
It shows that success can be achieved without a huge budget, which is down to the hard work of manager Ian Richards and assistant Duncan Richards have put in.
So its perhaps little wonder that other clubs would like to lure Richards away from Church View Road.
Penistone were so close to claiming a sixth away league win of the season when Tom Brennan’s ninth minute goal was added to by Nathan Keightley early in the second half.
However, The Seasiders got one back just past the hour through Andy Norfolk before substitute Jake Day rescued a point with just three minutes remaining.
Nevertheless assistant boss Duncan Richards was full for the efforts of his players on what had been a difficult long journey after getting held up in traffic on-route.
“The lads were fantastic especially in first half,” said Richards. “ We came in 1-0 up and fully deserved it. The second half became a bit stretched, we weathered the storm for first ten minutes then got the second goal and looked comfortable
“The last ten minutes they put Day on up front and went more direct. We dealt with most of it but just gave away a sloppy goal.
“We told the lads afterwards to come here on a Tuesday night after a long journey and get a point away at Bridlington on a tough pitch was a credit to them all and the effort they put in.”
Richards say they are expecting another stern test away at Maltby Main on Saturday. “It’s always tough at Maltby on a difficult pitch against a physical side. We’ve got a couple lads missing so it a good chance for squad players to stake their claim for that shirt.”
Hallam saw their play-off hopes receive a boost this week without kicking a ball.
The Countrymen, who have won the last six in an eight match unbeaten run, have been left frustrated after Saturday’s game against Division leaders Knaresborough Town was postponed with the Sandygate Road pitch waterlogged pitch, with Tuesday home game against AFC Emley suffering the same fate.
However, play-off rivals Glasshoughton Welfare did managed to get their home fixture with mid-table Campion on Tuesday played, which they ended up losing 3-2.
It meant that Welfare - who occupy the last play-off spot -failed to extend the two-point lead over Hallam who now have two games in hand.
The NCE League has confirmed that the decision has been made to extended the season by a week until Saturday, May 5, after being granted approval by the FA.
It follows due to the recent snow and heavy rain during March with three of the four weeks during the month being almost completely wiped out.
With just four weeks to go until scheduled closing date of April 28 for Premier Division and April 21 for Division One teams due to the play-offs.
Many clubs were facing a almost impossible fixture backlog.
Worse affected are Hall Road Rangers and Liversedge whom both have 13 games to fix in, while relegation battling Parkgate and title chasing Pontefract Collieries have 11, with the latter’s partly down to the run FA Vase run.
An extension would certainly help play-off chasing Hallam’s cause who have eight games left to play five of which are at Sandygate Road where cricket comes into the equation.
Although play-off rivals Winterton Rangers who only halve four games to play, may will think it gives Hallam an advantage.
But in the end common sense has to prevail as asking teams to play as many as four games a week is frankly ludicrous.
The extension means the Division One play-off dates have also been pushed back by a week with the semi-finals to be played on May 1st/2nd and the Final on Saturday May 5.
Meanwhile, Rainworth MW will be searching for a new manager in a few weeks time.
It comes after Craig Denton announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season following a year in charge at Langwith Road.
Premier Division: Albion Sports v Handsworth Parramore, Athersley Recreation v Thackley, Maltby Main v Penistone Church, Rainworth MW v Parkgate, Staveley MW v Barton Town, Worksop Town v Hall Road Rangers.
Division One: Brigg Town v AFC Emley, Ollerton Town v Armthorpe Welfare, Retford United v Hallam, Rossington Main v Yorkshire Amateur, Swallownest v Shirebrook Town, Worsbrough BA v Dronfield Town.