Non-League: Chris Hilton signs contract as his Stocksbridge side push for the play-offs
Stocksbridge Park Steels have secured manager Chris Hilton on a contract until the end of the 2016/17 season.
Hilton took over in the summer of 2014 following a hugely successful spell with NCE League side Worsbrough Bridge Athletic.
This season, the club is on the fringe of the play-off places and reached the FA Trophy first round proper for the first time in the club’s history, netting them a cool £14,000 in prize money.
“We have a very good relationship with Chris and we share the same aims,” said chairman Allen Bethel.
“We’ve had a good season irrespective of whether we get in the play-off or not. Everyone can see the improvement in the team has made under Chris.”
Hilton added: “Its always appreciated to be wanted at a club, so I was only too happy to sign when I was offered a contract,” said Hilton.
“I’m enjoying my time here; everyone from the chairman to the secretary and the committee have been very supportive since the day I walked in the door.
“I said when I arrived here it would taken time to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion.
“We are by no means the finished article, we’re still very much work in progress. But I firmly believe we are on the right track and with everyone pulling together, we can hopefully get this club back to the Premier Division.”
Their push gained three more points last weekend when they beat Newcastle Town 1-0 at Bracken Moor.
It certainly wasn’t the most fluent of performances, although Steels certainly created enough chances to have won the game comfortably.
Newcastle had arrived in decent form with one defeat in the last four, a narrow 2-1 reversal at runaway leaders Stafford Rangers, and were happy to get men behind the ball, frustrate Steels and catch them on the break.
It was a ploy that almost paid off until Scott Ruthven deservedly put the home side in front 20 minutes from time for what proved to be the winner.
In fairness the goal had been coming with Stocksbridge building up a head of steam. Spencer Maw slipped a delightful ball through to Ruthven who took it in his stride before neatly tucking home.
Ruthven had been unlucky not to give Steels a first minute lead when his instinctive shot from a Josh Meade cross had the keeper stretching to push the the ball round the post.
David Reay had to be alert moments later to palm a wind assisted cross over the bar.
After Ruthven finally gave Steels the lea, Newcastle had a little spell of pressure but there were no late alarms for the home side and Stocksbridge might have added a second in stoppage time when a scramble in the area saw Corey Gregory and Joe Lumsden both have shots blocked.
n Stocksbridge couldn’t make it two wins in four days as lowly Goole AFC left Bracken Moor with all-three points in a hard fought 2-1 victory.