Sheffield Hallam Men’s seconds continued their push for promotion from North Division 1, with a 2-1 derby victory over neighbours Sheffield Bankers.
Billy Root, the younger brother of England cricket star Joe, netted Hallam’s equaliser, cancelling out an opening strike from Bankers skipper Rob Bloss.
Three minutes later, Hallam turned the game on its head when Adam Fletcher smashed home a rebound from a penalty corner, to give the hosts victory.
A tense local derby at Abbeydale saw a cautious first five minutes from both sides, with much of the action in midfield.
Bankers took an early lead after just six minutes, when Bloss picked the ball up on the penalty spot.
He neatly side-stepped Hallam ‘keeper Simon Hujwan, before pushing the ball home from close range.
Hallam responded well to the setback, and settled into a good rhythm.
They began to probe the Bankers’ defence down both wings, and got their reward on 13 minutes when Root neatly deflected a hard-hit Jim Tasker pass from outside the circle over Bankers ‘keeper Clem Teagle and into the net.
Barely three minutes on the clock had passed when Hallam took the lead, from their next penalty corner.
The ball rebounded off Teagle and Fletcher made no mistake, smashing it home.
Bankers began the second half in determined fashion, and began to stretch the home side.
Inside three minutes of the half, Hallam’s Dave Knapton received a green card warning for stick tackling an opponent.
The warning was ignored by team-mate Tasker, who received a five-minute yellow card suspension for a similar offence just three minutes later.
Bankers looked to take advantage of their numerical advantage, and Hujwan was forced to make a number of telling saves while his side were a man light.
Once back to full strength Hallam regained some of their composure, but were still finding Bankers hard to handle.
Hujwan, aided by England Under-21 international Brendan Creed, was once again called into action to repel the danger.
Hallam’s one-goal lead was always under threat and only some wayward finishing prevented the Bankers from drawing level, on more than one occasion.
With ten minutes to go, Hallam’s Will Blyth became the second player to be yellow carded, reducing the home side once again to ten men.
But once again the below-strength Hallam defence proved it could cope, keeping the marauding Bankers forwards at bay.
There was some light relief for them with eight minutes to go when Bankers’ Matt Gooden was given a five-minute yellow card, but the visitors continued to press and good defensive work by Hallam’s back three proved crucial in maintaining their one goal lead.
Bankers’ last attack was broken up by Creed and the final whistle was greeted with a sigh of relief from Hallam, who strengthened their grip on third place as the battle for promotion to the North Premier Division hots up.
Bankers, meanwhile, remain fifth in the Division One table, six points behind their rivals having played two games more.
Hallam are two points behind second-placed Bowdon - their next opponents - and they have two games in hand.
League leaders Formby are six points ahead of Hallam.
n Hallam: Hujwan, Fletcher, Sutherland, Creed, Price, Anderson, Jamieson, Blyth, Tasker, Dumbavand, Williams, Root, Nolan, Sorsby, Walklin, Knapton.
n Bankers: Teagle , Platts, Large, Bloss, Coulson, Gooden, Davies, Osbourne, Kettley, Burnett, Fletcher, Beckett, Rowley, Wright, Inglis.
Elsewhere, Bankers’ men’s seconds outclassed their counterparts from Doncaster, winning 11-1.
The women’s firsts beat Hull 4-2, and the seconds drew 1-1 with Thirsk.
The men’s thirds beat Leeds 1-0 thanks to a wonder goal from Oliver Thorley, and the seventh side won 7-0 to stay top of their division.
The women’s third team went down 4-1 in a hard-fought tussle against Hallam fifths.
n Sheffield Hallam Men’s first team get back into Now: Pensions National League Premier Division action on February 8, when they travel to play old boy Phil Roper’s Wimbledon side.
During their winter break from the league, the team have been in national indoor action and narrowly failed to get promoted to next season’s Indoor Division One.
A hat-trick from Mark Mobbs helped Hallam’s third team to a 7-1 success over City of York. Further goals came from Duncan Longson (2), Nick Sims and Tim Baker.
The fourths enjoyed their first win since early November, beating Grimsby 2-1.
Chris Battison and Ryan Young were on the scoresheet.