Non-league: Lifting pressure led to Stocksbridge Park Steels’ remarkable resurgence

Sheffield FC boss James Colliver. Picture: Ben Webster
Sheffield FC boss James Colliver. Picture: Ben Webster

Stocksbridge Park Steels are back in play-off contention after beating city rivals Sheffield FC in midweek.

Boss Chris Hilton had written off Steels’ play-off hopes late last month but four consecutive wins – including Tuesday’s 2-1 triumph over Club – have left them two points outside the top five with a game in hand.

And he believes lifting the pressure off his players’ shoulders has brought on their impressive resurgence.

“It think because the pressure was off us a little, the players have relaxed and played the football we know they’re capable of producing,” Hilton said.

Steels head to play-off rivals Lincoln United on Saturday before facing another top five chaser Rushden and Diamonds in midweek.

And Hilton’s admits his primary instruction will be to avoid defeat in the vital double-header.

He said: “It’s important we don’t lose either game.

“We’ll be going there to win both games but if we can get a point from each, that’d be good as we won’t have lost any ground on them.

“If we can pick up a win and a draw, that would be brilliant.

“But like I’ve always said we’ll take on game at a time.”

Sheffield FC will look to put behind them the disappointment of derby defeat when they host struggling Northwich Victoria in their penultimate home game.

Manager James Colliver felt Club should have triumphed over Steels and believes they will have no problem seeing off Northwich if they match their midweek performance.

He said: “We have to take the performance and work rate from midweek into the game with Northwich.

“If we do that, I’m confident we’ll get the win.

“I know it’s an old cliche but there are no easy games in this division.

“We’ve got four games left and we want to pick up as many points from those games as we can and make sure we finish on a high.”