Stocksbridge Park Steels control their own fate - Sheffield FC determined to climb off the bottom
Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton is delighted that control of clinching a place in play-offs place is down to themselves and not reliant on others ahead of Saturday's home clash against Newcastle Town.
Steels go into the game eighth in the table and six-points behind sixth-placed Leek Town with four games in hand.
“It’s in our own hands that’s all we ever wanted going into the last month of the season” said Hilton. “It won’t be easy; it will take some heroics but we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance.
“We’ve got to win the games against Newcastle on Saturday then at Kidsgrove on Wednesday and keep the run going.”
Steels stretched their run to just one defeat in seven league outings following a 2-1 win at Loughborough Dynamo. “It wasn’t a good performance from us” said Hilton. “We were the better team in the first half but it became more open in the second as the weather deteriorated. We got a break with the penalty to win the game.”
Goalkeeper David Reay is serving the last of a three-match suspension. Full-back George Grayson is also out after surgery. But Luke Mangham is back after a long term knee injury and is likely to get more game time, while Hilton has brought in young central defender Connor Cutts from Handsworth Parramore.
In his first game in charge since taking on the role of caretaker boss at Sheffield FC, alongside being a director. Chris Dolby had mixed feelings after seeing his bottom of the table side earn a point from a 4-4 draw with relegation rivals Market Drayton Town on Tuesday. “If you score four goals at home you expect to win but mistakes cost us,” said Dolby who replaced the sacked Mark Shaw a week ago. “It could had been easy for them to throw the towel in when we went behind with the run we had been on. But credit to them they dug in and got a result. They gave me absolutely everything; you can’t ask for more than that.
“We should have had all three-points. We were aggressive in getting the ball forward quickly and putting good balls into their box.”
The draw left Club a point behind Romulus - who drew 2-2 at Belper Town - with games in hand and stay two behind third-bottom Market Drayton.
Dolby says he’s seen enough to believe they can climb away from trouble.
He said: “We are in a position we don’t want to be in. I look at the players we’ve got and think we’re good enough to get out of it.
“We’ve 11 games left now and I know its an old cliché but every game is a cup final.
“We’ll go to Gresley on Saturday and have a real go at them. They’re down their with us so its another game where we need to get something from.”
Gresley, who won 2-0 at Dronfield in December, have suffered badly with postponement since the turn of the year having had eight games called off, thus having played just six times winning three and losing three.
Promotion chasing Frickley Athletic can give Sheffield’s relegation battle a boost by taking all-three points at strugglers Romulus.
After a recent blip in form, Shaw Lane need to beat Nantwich Town at Sheerian Park to keep alive their outside hopes automatic promotion.
Premier Division: Buxton v Hednesford Town, Rushall Olympic v Matlock Town, Shaw Lane v Nantwich Town..
Division One South: Gresley FC v Sheffield FC, Romulus v Frickley Athletic, Stocksbridge Park Steels v Newcastle Town.