The first Saturday of 2012 was an outstanding success for our clubs with eight wins, one draw and only one defeat.
Around 1,250 fans watched nine games in the Baris North Counties East League’s Premier Division and close to 550 took in eight Division One encounters.
All five of our Division One teams had that winning feeling in the NCEL as Hallam led the way with a comfortable 4-1 victory at bottom club Appleby Frodingham. They went behind inside 20 minutes but hit back to register a winning double as Liam Morris hit two to take his tally to 13 while Moxam and Getleff completed the rout.
They return to Sandygate on Saturday to face neighbours Worsbrough Bridge who pulled off the surprise of the day when they beat second placed title favourites Glasshoughton Welfare 2-1.
Bridge were a goal down at half-time but turned it around with goals from Podmore and Turner to make it one defeat in 10 league outings, all this despite new signing Theo Ringrose being transferred to Worksop Parramore.
Not to be outdone, Dinnington Town travelled to top-of-the-table Pontefract Colliery and avenged an opening day of the season 5-1 defeat, with a shock but highly deserved 2-0 victory. Cartledge and Smith, with his third in four games, hit the net and blew the title race wide open.
They bid to make it five games without defeat when they entertain fourth-placed neighbours Handsworth and then visit third-placed Albion Sports, who have yet to lose at home, next Tuesday.
Handsworth go to Phoenix Park in excellent form after their 4-0 thrashing of Yorkshire Amateurs Cockerill, thanks to a first goal of the season from Nshindano and a Smith double to take his tally to 15 for the season so far.
They host Premier Division high fliers Winterton Rangers in the Presidents Cup semi-final next Wednesday.
After four games without a win, Worksop Parramore got their promotion bid back on track with a 2-0 victory at AFC Emley courtesy of a brace from Tom Nolan inside three minutes to take his total to 15. They remain fourth but have no game this coming week.
The Muglet Lane Premier Division derby saw Staveley take a two goal lead through Barraclough and Thornton but after the break they had to withstand a lot of pressure before coming through 2-1 against next-to-bottom Maltby Main. Scot Mellon was on target for the home side who could have gained a point. Maltby travel to face Arnold Town on Saturday while Staveley visit bottom club Selby Town.
Parkgate’s great run continued after goals by Worsfold, his 17 of the season, Barlow two and an own goal, gave them a crushing 4-2 victory over Nostell Miners Welfare. It took them up to fifth in the table and on Tuesday they visited Arnold Town looking to make it nine games without defeat but it was not to be as they suffered a shock 4-3 loss. Arnold led throughout the game, with their winner coming in the third minute of injury-time after Swindells, Worsfold and Griffin had pulled the game level three times.
In another double-header week Parkgate go to Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday followed by next Tuesday’s third round League Cup date at Green Lane against Hall Road Rangers.
Sheffield FC made it four games without defeat with a 3-2 win at Hucknall Town as in-form Gascoigne, Modest and Barnett found the net. But it all came tumbling down on Monday when I saw them crash to a 4-1 defeat at third placed Ilkeston Town.
The first half was the best I have seen in a long time as both teams attacked throughout and although Woolley scored a great equaliser from a free-kick, Sheffield trailed 2-1 at half-time when they should have been in front. Sadly in the second half they simply didn’t play and suffered their biggest defeat of the season and apart from their outstanding player Woolley, Whatsize, Turner and Varley it was the worst 45 minutes I’ve seen from a Sheffield side in many years.
Club now face two big home tests against promotion-seeking teams that could decide their play-off hopes. They start with sixth-placed Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday and I’ll be there next Tuesday, when fifth-placed Stamford are the visitors.
It was a game of two halves for Stocksbridge Park in their gale force win affected home clash against Marine. They trailed by a goal at half-time but they battled back and substitute Ryan Harrison equalised with a minute of injury time remaining. It was a point they deserved but it still leaves them two points away from safety and with Adams, Glarvey, Blythen and Lloyd all leaving the club, it seems they still have a mountain to climb. Stocksbridge now face two tough weekends on their travels, starting with Saturday’s trip to Ashton United.
I’ll be at Sandy Lane on Saturday when Worksop Town face Conference League side Newport County in the FA Trophy second round.