Sheffield FC head for the play offs – Stocksbridge Park Steels will be satisfied with 14th place or above
Sheffield FC could seal a place in the play-offs this weekend when they host Cleethorpes Town in their penultimate home match of the season.
Club currently sit fifth in the table with 62 points, the same number as the two teams above them Brighouse Town and Ossett United, with the trio having a six-point cushion over Tadcaster Albion, who are just outside the play off place.
Cleethorpes, in seventh and seven-points outside the top five, kept their play-off hopes alive with a 3-0 win at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday evening.
However, Gavin Smith’s side go into Saturday’s clash knowing three-points would mean that Cleethorpes cannot overhaul them, and furthermore defeat for Tadcaster at Frickley Athletic wouid leave them nine points behind with three to play.
“Its a big week, with us playing Cleethorpes,” admitted Smith. “We had a good win last weekend at Gresley, so we go into the game in good shape. It was pleasing to get some goals last weekend and also keep a clean sheet, that’s always important because if you do that you’ve got a great chance of winning football games.
“Tadcaster and Cleethorpes still have a chance of making the play-offs but I feel Cleethorpes have to beat us on Saturday to have any chance. We know it’s not going to be an easy game for us, they’re on a roll after a great win for them at Stocksbridge.”
Although Sheffield have put themselves firmly in the driving seat, Smith says he is taking nothing for granted: “Its very tight at the top and I feel there could still be another twist yet. But with four games to go, two wins should see us in the plays offs”
Sheffield have been in solid form at home winning 12 and drawing two of 17 games and have already beaten Cleethorpes 4-3 away back in September when Mitchell Dunne hit a late winner.
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Stocksbridge Park Steels travel to next to bottom Carlton Town knowing three-points would mathematically ensure their safety.
A run of four wins on the bounce previous to the midweek home defeat to Cleethorpes has all but ensured their Evo-Stik safety with Steels 12-points clear of the bottom two barring a freak set of results.
“We’re not mathematically safe but I think realistically we are,” said Steel boss Chris Hilton. “That doesn’t mean we will take our foot off the pedal, if we finish where we are (14th) or higher then it’s been a good end to the season, particularly when you think where we were a couple of weeks ago in the bottom two. Its been a big couple of weeks for us and the lads have been tremendous.
“I thought the game against Cleethorpes was a match too far after all the effort and work rate the players had put in. I’ve no complaints over the result, they were better than us on the night.”
Carlton are three-points adrift of safety and are on a shocking run of form having lost the last five on the spin, which has seen heavy defeats against Pontefract (6-2) and 6-0 at Frickley in the last outing. Stocksbridge won the reverse fixture back in September 1-0 thanks to a late Ben Rhodes strike.
Premier Division: Marine v Buxton, Matlock Town v Witton Albion.
East Division: Carlton Town v Stocksbridge Park Steels, Frickley Athletic v Tadcaster Albion, Sheffield FC v Cleethorpes Town.