Massive disappointment for table-topping Sheffield Hallam as they flunked their toughest-match-of-the-season examination against Durham University.
Hopes of a sixth consecutive win and a clear lead at the top of the Men’s North Conference came crashing down as they slumped to a 3-1 home defeat against one of their main promotion rivals.
Durham, who won the division last season but failed to gain promotion to the elite Premier Division in the end of season Play-Offs, stunned the Abbeydale side as they raced into a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
However, Hallam’s fitness and ability to keep going at pace for the whole match saw them put the visitors under contant pressure, which resulted in 11 players back and shelling the ball anywhere down the pitch to break up the merciless attacks. Durham’s keeper was outstanding in the final quarter although he was finally beaten by Mike Shaw, via a penalty corner, four minutes from time.
Unfortunately it was too little, too late.
The only consolation was that Hallam retained top spot on 15 points, with Brooklands MU, held to 3-3 draw at Leek, in second place on 13 points on goal difference from Durham.
There are no matches this weekend but Hallam travel to bottom club Barford Tigers on November 6 followed by a home game against Belper before they face Brooklands in Manchester.
Squad: James Cachia (GK), Mike Shaw, Martin Ebbage, David Smith, Alex Bailey, Danny Berry, Scott Sanderson, Duncan Longson, Tristan Gilbody, David Goodfield, Matt Gough, Will Musgrave, Phil Roper, Alex Humphries, Gareth Furlong, Tom Barrett.
No such problems for the second team as they put four past Chester without reply courtesy of goals from Joe Bradley, Stephen Livingstone , Steve Gilpin and Tom Feasby.
The victory took them to third in North Division One.
The Thirds moved into pole position in the Yorkshire Premier with a 4-1 win over newly-promoted Hull University. Miller, Tim Elliott, Christy Walkin and Chris Debney were the men on target.