Crucial test facing goal-crazy Hallam

Hallam's Phil Roper
Hallam's Phil Roper

Goal-happy Sheffield Hallam are getting ready for the battle of the hotshots.

A 7-1 thumping of Belper brought their tally over the past four games to 24 even though they only scored one against Durham a fortnight ago.

The bottom five clubs in the North Conference have collectively conceded 35 goals against Hallam in five games with 10 goals going the other way. Quite impressive and very necessary if they are to win the league but it’s the matches against their main rivals that are all important.

Of these, they’ve beaten Doncaster 3-0 at home and Leek 4-2 away but lost 3-1 at home to third-place Durham University.

Hallam travel to second-place Brooklands MU, the only team they haven’t yet played and this is possibly the crucial match.

The Abbeydale side lead the way on 21 points followed by Brooklands and Durham, both on 19 points.

Brooklands were relegated from the Premier Division last season and constitute the biggest threat to Hallam’s top spot tenure as they have also been in goal-scoring form netting 33 in eight matches, with 14 conceded.

Victory in Manchester would put a five point gap between the two sides and should Durham fail to beat fourth-place Leek, Hallam would have some clear ground at the top. Defeat would see Brooklands and possible Durham go above them in the table.

Hallam had to wait until the 17th minute for their first goal against Belper via a drag flick from leading marksman Phil Roper. Eight minutes later David Smith slotted home from close range and the 2-0 scoreline stood at half-time.

It wasn’t long before the floodgates opened as Roper added his second and 14th of the season, Danny Berry plundered the fourth and Matt Gough’s deflection kept the scoreboard moving.

Belper bagged their lone goal with 10 minutes to go but there was a flurry of activity in the final two minutes as three players were yellow-carded in the space of 30 seconds, two from Belper and Gareth Furlong from Hallam.

Almost from the restart Rhys Gowman notched number six and Tristan Gilbody made it seven with 30 seconds left.

Despite goals from Adam Harriman, Alex Humphries and Tom Feasby Hallam seconds went down 4-3 against North Division 1 second place side Alderley Edge.

On Saturday it’s the turn of leaders Leeds to visit Abbeydale (3pm) in a match that Hallam need to win.

The Thirds saw off Kingston-upon-Hull 2-1 courtesy of goals from Pitfield and Hugh Bagley while the Fourths beat South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Thirds 4-1 with gols from James Harrison, Ray Wright, Andy Richards and Harry Williams. It’s the big one for second place Hallam on Saturday when they host leaders Bradford at Abbeydale.

The Fifths beat cross city rivals Sheffield University Bankers 4-2 thanks to a double from James McClure and one each for Chris Battison and Phil Nunn.