Stocksbridge Park Steels look to keep pace with promotion chasers

Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton has called on his side to keep pace with the promotion chasers in the BetVictor South East Division.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 10:29 am
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 4:36 pm
Ed Hall

Sixth-placed Steels host league leaders Carlton Town at Bracken Moor on Saturday fresh from a rousing 5-2 win over high-flying Ikeston.

Hilton hopes his side remain sixth or better by the end of the month as they look to turn a positive start into a very strong one.

“We said November would be a big month for us with the teams we have to play,” Hilton said.

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Stocksbridge goalkeeper Ed Hall could miss visit of leaders Carlton Town with knee injury. Picture: Gillian Handisides

“We’re sixth at the moment and if we are still in that position or better at the end of the month then I’ll be delighted.

“It’s been a good start but we’re only in November so that’s all it is – a good start. We have to make sure we keep working and improving.

“Carlton a good side and are at the top of the league for a reason but we’ll go out as we normally do, put in performance and try to win the game.

“Our home record is not that great but it’s not bad either. It’s not as good as I want us to be at Bracken Moor.

“That said we’ve played some of the big hitters here already and been beaten just once in the league.

Hilton was naturally delighted with the performance at Ilkeston. He said: “It was a great three points. We were clinical in front of goal and could have had a few more but their keeper made some great saves.”

Full back Jordan Lemon is available again after serving a suspension, but goalkeeper Ed Hall is struggling with a knock to his knee, leaving Hilton considering bringing in a keeper on loan.

Sheffield FC are on the road once more with a trip to third from bottom Wisbech Town as they as they look to continue their good away form.

Club have taken seven points from the last nine on their travels in an unbeaten run of five matches.

However, manager Gavin Smith warned they will not be taking anything for granted despite Wisbech having won just once at home.

“We got beat there 3-1 last season when they were struggling so we know we‘ll need to be on top of our game,” Smith said.

“We want to be going there and getting the three points, which I think should get us back in the play-offs.

“They will be direct, but if we can play the ball around like we know we can get the first goal then we should go on and win the game.”

Smith admitted recent departures have hit them but believes the squad is still good enough to push on for a play-off place.

“If you look at the players that have left, the majority are forward players,” he said.

“We’ve still got a strong squad, but we have lost a lot of attacking options.

“We’re missing the bit of quality in the final third. The youngsters that have come in have done well but it’s a big step up.”

Smith was happy with the point at Spalding in the last outing particularly after being reduced to ten-men for the last 20 minutes.

“I thought we just shaded it but after Rob (Darkin) was sent off, which I felt was very harsh,” he said. “You have to say it was a good point in what was a scrappy game.”

Wisbech are without a league win in and five and were thumped 5-0 at Kidsgrove in the last outing.

In the Toolstation NCE League, Handsworth return to action for the first time in almost a fortnight when they host rock bottom Athersley Recreation.

It gives the Ambers the opportunity to put behind them the second half collapse against Liversedge in the last outing when they led 3-0 at the interval only to end up losing 4-3.

Athersley have lost their last five matches and are anchored to the foot of the table with just four points to show from 12 games.

Hallam face a big test of their promotion credentials at third-placed Selby Town as Steve Whitehead’s men, tenth in the table, look to close the five point gap on the top four while avoiding a third defeat on the spin.