Staveley face the biggest game in their history on Saturday when they entertain Rye United in the fourth round of the FA Vase.
The Koolsport North Counties East Division One leaders, with a run of 20 wins, three draws and one defeat behind them, are in confident mood but their Sussex County League opponents are also on a high as they come to Inkersall Green with a 14 match unbeaten run.
Staveley have beaten Atherton (4-1), Ramsbottom (1-0), Pickering (1-0) and Leeds (4-1) in the Vase so far while Rye, who have only lost twice in the league, have won all their five ties away from home.
There should be a big crowd and I’m expecting a tip-top tie that could go either way.
In the League, goals from Damms, Coy and Jones gave them a 3-1 win at Shirebrook Town and Dams and Tahar found the net in a 2-1 success at Grimsby Borough. Tahar was again on target, along with Thornton, in Tuesday’s 2-1 home win over Leeds Carnegie which extended their lead at the top to seven points.
Staveley host Glasshoughton Welfare next Tuesday.
Handsworth started their week with a 3-1 home victory over second-placed Yorkshire Amateurs with new signing Mick Godber scoring twice on his debut as Fretwell completed a good night. Then, in stark contrast, they crashed to a shock 1-0 defeat at Glasshoughton Welfare to make it six away losses out of 10 but they stay fifth in the table after four of the top six teams all lost. They visit Leeds Carnegie on Saturday and bottom club Appleby Frodingham visit Olivers Mount next Wednesday.
In the Premier Division the weather helped no one at Sandygate as visitors Parkgate beat Hallam 3-2 but for the second time in four days I saw a Chesterfield referee have a dreadful game that almost ruined a good afternoon. Parkgate took a two goal lead through Lipka and Griffin but a ‘ridiculous’ penalty, converted by Jordan, gave Hallam a lifeline and Reynolds equalised in the second half before a scrambled goal by Swindells gave Parkgate the points.
They remain in second place while a gallant Hallam, for whom new Sheffield Club signing Ryan Davis was outstanding, remain next to bottom.
Then on Tuesday Hallam entertained bottom club Liversedge in a game that was crucial to both sides and despite goals from Asquith and Longhurst, the home side crashed to a 4-2 defeat that left them at the foot of the table and with a massive mountain to climb to avoid relegation.
Hallam host Hall Road Rangers on Saturday.
Meanwhile Parkgate’s promotion credentials will be severely tested over the next few days. They feature in the Game of the Day on Saturday when leaders Farsley Celtic come to Green Lane followed by the visit of in-form Maltby Main next Tuesday in what should be a great derby battle.
Maltby’s great run continued last Saturday when a goal on 80 minutes by Warren gave them the lead over Long Eaton United only for their rivals to equalise three minutes from time. It’s now eight matches without defeat for fifth-placed Miners who visit Brighouse Town on Saturday before next week’s Parkgate showdown.
Dinnington Town suffered a double blow when leading scorer Michael Blythen signed for Retford United and then their game with fellow strugglers Arnold Town was called off. They entertained high flying Tadcaster Albion on Tuesday and despite a magnificent display by keeper Luke Hands, they slipped to a 3-1 defeat with Hobson scoring their consolation goal. It’s crunch time on Saturday when bottom club Liversedge are the visitors.
The Evo-Stik League continues to haunt our two clubs as Sheffield FC slumped to their biggest league defeat of the season and Stocksbridge Park dropped into the relegation zone.
Club’s new signing Nathaniel Foster hit their lone goal in the 4-1 home defeat against Rainworth Miners Welfare and to add to their woes Gascoigne was sent off.
Then on Tuesday night I travelled with them to Durham City for a second round League Cup tie in which eight of their 14 man squad were from the Under-19s. The 3-1 defeat was harsh - Gascoigne got their goal - but the main talking point was Durham’s plastic pitch and how much longer will it be before the FA outlaw them?
On Saturday Sheffield travel to Quorn FC and entertain Kidsgrove Athletic next Tuesday.
Stocksbridge suffered an unlucky 4-3 defeat at Nantwich Town where they had defenders Hawes, Haigh and forward Stirrup all carried off before half-time but goals by Marrison, two and Stirrup gave them a fighting chance which slipped away minutes before the end.
They now have a desperate relegation fight on their hands after four games without a win and it all starts on Saturday when they visit Burscough while Matlock Town are the visitors next Tuesday.