Non-League: Hallam fail to make great escape

I was in a large crowd on Tuesday night, as Hallam visited Arnold Town knowing that after 3,330 minutes of football it all came down to this final tense 90 minutes at Eagle Valley, where Arnold had to win or draw to stay up, whilst Hallam knew they had to win to stay up.

It wasn’t to be as Arnold’s first attack yielded a goal. Matt Sykes drew Hallam level but Arnold struck the killer blow on the hour when Tony Law scrambled the ball home, to give them a 2-1 victory.

Manager Julian Watts must be kept at the club after all the work he’s put in, and he deserves great credit for almost saving the club from relegation.

They’d given themselves a lifeline when a last minute goal from Arran Moxon gave them a 2-1 win at Liversedge - Moxon had notched Hallam’s opener - while Arnold suffered a 3-1 home defeat.

Stocksbridge had a mixed Easter as they brought their Evo-Stik Premier Division season to a close with a 2-1 home win over Whitby Town thanks to goals from Stirrup and Marrison which left them 13th in the table. It was a marked improvement to their earlier showing at Ashton United when they crashed to a 3-1 defeat with substitute Danny Joynes hitting their late consolation goal after a miserable display.

They visit Hillsborough next Tuesday to face Parkgate in the Senior Cup Final (7pm).

In another incident-packed game on Monday, I watched North Ferriby United win 1-0 at Frickley Athletic to clinch a play-off place, and thankfully because both Hucknall Town and Burscough lost, Frickley escaped relegation by a single point in their centenary season.

Meanwhile Sheffield Club suffered a double defeat. New manager Mark Shaw watched them dip 3-1 at home to Romulous - Andy Gascoigne was their lone marksman - and they then brought their season to a close on Monday with a 4-2 defeat at Lincoln United. Gascoigne was again on target along with Hadfield as Sheffield finished 11th after a very controversial season.

Handsworth kept their band wagon rolling, as they came from behind to beat Kool Sports North Counties East League Division One champions Staveley 3-1 in another top drawer game. Lee Hill gave Staveley an interval lead but second half goals by Cockerill, Torr and Johnson, ensured the Olivers Mount side still have a chance of finishing third in their first season in the league, which would be a great achievement.

Russ Eagles players bring down the curtain on their campaign on Saturday with a visit to Shirebrook Town where three more points should come their way.

Dinnington Town, who after 10 years of success and despite playing well in their last three games, were rather unlucky to go down to a 2-1 defeat at Winterton Rangers despite a goal by Matt Smith. Already doomed to relegation as the Premier Division’s bottom club, they travel to fourth-placed Tadcaster Albion on Saturday hoping to end their dreadful season on a high note.

Maltby Main ended their away campaign in style at Scarborough Borough, where Greg Mason and an own goal gave them a terrific 2-1 victory to put them in their best league position for some seasons.