Once again the weather was the winner last weekend with only one match being played, but it gave fans time to reflect on a month that saw our clubs play 41 league games and take only 64 points out of the 123 on offer.
It also saw our clubs involved in four big-name signings to help their dwindling squads, who face a staggering 55 league games and five cup ties in a very busy February.
In the Kool Sports North Counties East League’s Premier Division, our teams fortunes have never been more far apart as one tops the table and two are at the bottom.
It was a big let down at Sandygate where all eyes were on the arrival of new manager Julian Watts but a frozen pitch put paid to the match against Selby Town. Hallam face five league games and a cup tie this month and start with Saturday’s tough home test against Thackley while next Tuesday they visit Barton Town for another gruelling League Cup second round tie.
Almost as bad is the plight of Dinnington Town who also lost out to the ice last Saturday and after four straight defeats it gave manager Steve Toyne time to work on his players who face a daunting seven league games and a cup tie this month. Without a win in nine league games and two cup ties they entertained Lincoln Moorlands on Tuesday who beat them only seven days ago and sadly they completed the double as the visitors won 2-0.
On Saturday they face a trip to top of the table Parkgate and then entertain Scarborough Athletic next Tuesday.
To keep a smile on our faces we have Parkgate leading the way after their 2-0 success at Arnold Town, who missed a penalty. Keeper Jenkinson kept a clean sheet for the Steelmen with a string of fine saves while Worsfold and Hannity scored their goals. Parkgate are now two points clear at the top and have two games in hand. The Dinnington clash awaits on Saturday and Winterton Rangers are the visitors next Tuesday. Our form team though are Maltby Main who have now gone 10 matches unbeaten and are fifth in the table. Stevie Adams’ players now have two cracking games - at Pickering Town on Saturday while I’ll be at Muglet Lane next Wednesday as neighbouring First Division Handsworth arrive for a third round League Cup tie.
Staveley, with five straight wins, have opened up a four point gap at the top of the First Division and also have two games in hand. Manager Billy Fox has signed the experienced Jordan Eagers from Sheffield Club to boost a defence that’s conceded only four goals in five games. Eccleshill United are the visitors on Saturday and Staveley will be out for revenge after their 5-1 defeat earlier in the season, while next Tuesday they host struggling AFC Emley.
Handsworth, with new signing from Sheffield Club Matt Outram and Carl Smith from Emley in their squad, beat bottom club Appleby Frodingham 6-2 last week with Cockerill hitting a hat-trick, as Johnson, two and Wainman completed the rout. The sixth-placed club are at home to in-form neighbours Worsbrough Bridge on Saturday followed by next Wednesday’s Cup clash at Maltby.
Despite the departure of Outram and Eagers, Sheffield FC manager Chris Dolby snapped up Oliver Banks from Rotherham United and is still optimistic about them finishing in the top eight in Division One South. Unfortunately their defence collapsed again in Tuesday’s match against Glapwell as they slipped to a 4-2 defeat after Cusworth had given them the lead and Wright had put them ahead again.
On Saturday they travel to Goole AFC and then next Tuesday entertain newcomers Newcastle Town who are setting a blistering pace in the title race.
Stocksbridge Park boss Gary Marrow brought in Alfreton’s Chris Hall on loan and he went straight into Tuesday’s home third round League Cup tie against North Ferriby United who were looking for their fourth win over Park this season. However Stocksbridge won 3-2 courtesy of Stirrup, Haigh and an own goal.