Stocksbridge Steels’ manager keen to crack on next season

Stocksbridge Park Steels’ strong finish to the season was all down to the players’ hard work and commitment says manager Chris Hilton.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 12:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 2:37 pm
Stocksbridge Park Steels young defender Reece Fielding with manager Chris Hilton (left) and assistant Lee Thompson. Picture by Gillian Handisides

Steels finished the season a respectable 13th in the East Division after picking up 17 points points from the last 27 available after finding themselves in the bottom two in early March.

“The lads have been brilliant over the last two months” said Hilton. “As a management team we can prepare them in the right way, work on formation and tactics but once they cross the white line it’s down to the players. With five wins and two draws from the last nine games you can’t ask more and hopefully we can carry that forward into next season with a few additions.

“Everyone has pulled together when things weren’t going well its important to have a good people behind you. The chairman has also been very supportive, there has never been any pressure even when we were going through the bad times, so it’s been pleasing that we’ve repaid their faith by keeping the club in the Evo-Stik League. It’s been a difficult season but also a good one as we got out of relegation and the club stuck by me, you certainly learn more through the tough times.”

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Hilton will meet with the chairman soon. He said: “I’ll see what budget that’s available. I’m not looking to go anywhere, I’m happy at the club so hopefully we’ll sort things out and I‘ll be given the tools to work with.”

*Steels defender Reece Fielding picked up both the ‘Managers Player’ and ‘Players Player’ award.

Sheffield FC’s season ended with a 3-1 defeat against Brighouse Town in the play-off semi-finals on Tuesday after Marc Newsham had given Club the lead with his 22nd goal of the season.

Sheffield knew beforehand that had they gone on to win the play-offs they would had been denied promotion under the PPG system with only five teams out of the seven winners at Step Four level advancing due to restructuring, which in truth made it rather farcical for the ‘World’s First Club.’

It was not an ideal situation and perhaps one that could had been thought out much better though the position had been made clear, even if like mud, at start of the season.

Manager Gavin Smith didn’t let that distract from what has been an excellent season when he summoned it up by saying, “You have to remember how far we have come in such a short time”.

Indeed Sheffield’s fourth place finish was the best since 2011/12 when they also finished fourth only to get thumped 7-0 at Ilkeston FC in the play-offs a result hat cost then manager Mark Shaw his job.

There is little chance of the same fate falling on Smith whose team got improved as the season progressed and will surely only get better next term with a few additions.

*Frickley Athletic have parted company with manager Martin McIntosh, who only took over in December.

In a statement the club said “Martin has done a fantastic job in stabilising the team, bringing in some quality players and playing an instrumental role in managing the club through what was a challenging period.”