What a turnaround in fortunes there has been at Sheffield FC over the past six weeks!
After an indifferent start to the season, Club have not been beaten since drawing at Basford United in October and will go into Saturday’s home clash with Gresley FC looking to make it 12 without defeat after coming from behind to beat Loughborough Dynamo 2-1 on Tuesday.
Manager James Colliver said: “The lads deserve it, its not about me it’s about the players they have been immense,” he said.
“There is a good vibe around the place and a feel good factor behind the scenes. The players interact with volunteers at the club and there is a real togetherness. There is now a sense of pride in the players in wanting to play for such a prestigious club. When your winning you’re on a high but we know there is still a lot of work to do and there will be twists and turns before the end of the season.
“You’ve got to believe in what you’re doing and the lads have believed in me and we’re now getting consistency.”
Colliver was delighted to beat Loughborough said, “It was a great game for the neutral, it was end-to-end, played at a high tempo. Because they’re down near the bottom a lot of people might had thought it would be easy, but you don’t get easy games in this league.
“Loughborough made us work hard for the three-points. We had some good performances, Hafeez (Hamzat) came in and never put a foot wrong. Pat (Lindley) worked really hard, deserved his goal and got man of the match, while out new signing Kieran Watson came on and made a good impact.”
Colliver said Gresley: “will be another difficult game. We played them at their place not long ago. We needed a late equaliser. They had two wingers that caused us problems and were very direct so we know what to expect.”
Lee Cooksey returns to the squad after missing the midweek victory over Loughborough while Pat Lindley has a slight hamstring but should by okay.
Sheffield’s form has not gone unnoticed with the club winning the November Division One ‘Club of the Month’ award and also earned the divisional ‘Fair Play’ award.
Stocksbridge Park Steels are through to the first round of the FA Trophy for a second successive year after pulling off a 3-2 replay victory at National League North side Stalybridge Celtic. It means that Steels now face another National League North side this weekend when they travel to Nuneaton Town who overcame FC United of Manchester 5-1 away on the same evening.
“I’m over the moon and we have one happy chairman,” said Hilton. “The target was to emulate last season’s run when we reached the first round for the first time in our history. The boys now want to go one better.”
Nat Crofts and Matt Reay with a header put Steels 2-0 up and although Celtic pulled one back, Adam Hinchliffe with a stunning 35 yard effort sent Stocksbridge in leading 3-1 at the interval. Celtic reduced the arrears but Steels dug deep.
“We could have been 4-1 or 5-1 up at half time, their keeper pulled off some good saves,” said Hilton. “We came under some pressure after they got one back but you would expect that, after all they are two divisions above us but we managed the pressure very well. We won away from home again and scored three good goals, you have to be happy with that. What left a little sour taste in the mouth is that they gave us no credit for the victory with some of the supporters referring to us as a ‘pub side’ which is disappointing.”
Hilton feels being drawn away once more could suit them said, “We’re happy away. For some reason its just not happening for us at home. Nobody will expect us to win at Nuneaton but we’ll go and give it a real go. If we work and get that little bit of luck you need in cup ties, you never know.”
He added: “We know it will be tough they’ve just got a new manager whose won both games since taking charge.”
Joe Lumsden misses out through suspension, while new signing Brodie Litchfield is cup tied
Shaw Lane AFC are in Trophy action on Sunday when the Ducks host high-riding National League Lincoln City.
FA Trophy First Round: Nuneaton Town v Stocksbridge Park Steels, Solihull Moors v Matlock Town.
Premier Division: Buxton v Skelmersdale United, Frickley Athletic v Ilkeston FC,
Division One South: Sheffield FC v Gresley FC.
FA Trophy First Round: Shaw Lane AFC v Lincoln City (1pm)