Non-league: Shaw Lane hunt title as Steels look to finish on cloud nine

Stocksbridge midfielder Adam Hinchliffe expected return from injury for the final game of the season
Stocksbridge midfielder Adam Hinchliffe expected return from injury for the final game of the season
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Stocksbridge Park Steels are looking to end the season on cloud nine by continuing their unbeaten run this weekend.

Saturday sees the close of the campaign for Steels and Sheffield FC while Shaw Lane Aquaforce will be hoping it is their final fixture two if they can pip Stafford Rangers to the title and avoid the play-offs.

Shaw Lane head to mid-table Rugby Town knowing a win could see them snatch the championship and solitary automatic promotion place on goal difference, if Stafford lose at third place Coalville Town.

A stoppage time winner against bottom side Tividale on Tuesday night kept the Ducks in the hunt but they will be consigned to the play-offs if Stafford pick up a point or more.

The play-offs are beyond Steels, who host Belper Town with Chris Hilton’s side looking to finish nine games unbeaten.

Scott Ruthven’s strike earned a 1-0 win at Chasetown in midweek to take Steels to a total of 20 points from 24 available and guarantee at least a seventh place finish.

“I’m really pleased with how things have gone over the last couple of months and the season as a whole,” Hilton said. “We’ve ticked all the boxes this season and pushed on faster than I thought we might.

“We’re right unbeaten and I want to keep the run going and finish the season with a home win. If we do then we’ve got a chance of finishing sixth.

“We’ve had a tough last couple of months where we’ve played a lot of games. We’ve had a strong finish with the players learning how to manage games and see them out much better.

“It’s pretty much a young side that will gain from experience of having had a full season under their belts. There is still work to do but we’re heading in the right direction.”

Hilton was pleased with the win at Chasetwoen, who threw caution to the wind in their bid to keep their play-off hopes alive.

He said: “They needed a win to get in the play-offs but we’ve not gone there to make the numbers up.”

Midfielder Adam Hinchliffe is expected to return from injury, while Liam McFadyen and Jack Poulton will be back in the squad after being unavailable in midweek.

As Shaw Lane found in midweek, Sheffield can not expect an easy ride from basement boys Tividale on Saturday.

The West Midlands side have won only five games all season and were relegated earlier this month but have demonstrated a real willingness to fight until the end of the season.

They earned a point at Sheffield earlier this season after Club let slip a 3-1 lead at the break.