Sheffield Hallam’s hopes of sealing Premier Division survival took a blow last weekend when they lost to both Hampstead & Westminster, and league leaders Beeston.
Any kind of return from these two tough games would have been welcome, but it wasn’t to be as Hallam slipped to 3-1 defeats in both games.
Perversely, Hallam put up a better showing against the giants of Beeston, after taking a 13th-minute lead.
They managed to hold it, too, until the 49th minute, when Beeston’s James Blackwell finally broke through with an equaliser.
Tim Whiteman and Sam Ward went on to make it 3-1 to Beeston, to ensure they stay top of the table.
Hallam held out more hope of salvaging something against Hampstead, but their cause wasn’t helped when they were caught napping after six minutes and went behind.
As Hallam became more frustrated, five-minute yellow card sin-bin offences by Liam Ansell and David Goodfield left Hallam with nine players on the park - and the visitors took full advantage, with Richard Bond doubling their lead.
The previous week, Hallam had overcome a 2-0 defecit to beat Loughborough 3-2 but a similar result was always unlikely.
Oliver Didham ended any realistic Hallam hopes when he scored another narrow-angle goal on 45 minutes, although Hallam did pull one back 13 minutes later when Mike Shaw converted one of only two penalty corners won during the game.
Hallam’s next opponents Cannock - who they face on Sunday at Abbeydale, at 1.30pm - produced the result of the weekend, hammering Hampstead 8-3.
In doing so, they moved three points ahead of Hallam, with a far superior goal difference.
Any hopes the Hallam second team had of promotion were squashed at the weekend, as Bowdon beat league leaders Formby.
So despite their 4-2 win over Urmston, Hallam are now only playing to finish above of local rivals Sheffield Bankers in the table.
The win moved them to fourth, level with Bankers but behind on goal difference.
Bankers still have to play the top two, however, so Hallam look good value to finish third.
Across the city, Bankers’ firsts beat Leeds 5-4, thanks to a brace from Matt Godden and strikes from Chuck Inglis . Nick Fletcher and Steve Palmer.
Bankers’ seconds could only muster a 2-2 draw against their Leeds counterparts, thanks to a double from Chris Downham. New Aussie player Harry Byrnes, despite a lack of match fitness, made a satisfactory debut.
In the only other game of the day, Bankers’ thirds lost 5-2 at Old Malton.