Stocksbridge Park Steels go into Saturday’s home clash with Lincoln United looking to avoid a fourth defeat on the spin following a losing streak that’s realistically ended their play-off hopes.
Steels boss Chris Hilton was hugely critical of the match officials in the last two games, 2-1 defeats at Kidsgrove and Bedworth, feeling they had contribute to his side coming away empty handed.
“In both games we’ve played well and deserved something but it was down to the officials that we got nothing” said Hilton.
“Against Kidsgrove we were on top leading 1-0 and had created the better chances. We then had a blatant penalty turned down and Brodie Litchfield had a perfectly good goal ruled out. We picked up five bookings when there hasn’t been nasty challenge in the game.
“At Bedworth it was a tight game between two good sides that had 0-0 written all over it until the first goal that was a blatant offside. Richard Stirrup then gets dragged to the ground in the penalty area under the nose of the referee but nothing was given.
“It might sound like sour grapes but that’s not the case. The last two official have been appalling, you work hard all week then that happens. It’s hard enough in this league playing against 11-men without playing against the official.”
Hilton says there will be no let up despite conceding that their play-off chances have gone. “Mathematically of course it’s still possible and if we win the next four games then you never know but realistically you have say its over for us.
“That doesn’t mean to say we’ll be taking the foot off the pedal. We want to finish as high as we can and as close to the play-offs as possible. We’d like to finish seventh because if you do that you never know.
“We want to get as many points as we can. We know if we play like we have in the last two matches and get a little bit of luck we can go on a run. It’s a tough run-in as we’ve got a lot of teams to play in and around the play-off starting with Lincoln (eighth in table) on Saturday who will feel they still have a chance. We’ll start planning for next season and perhaps look at some of the young lads; but we definitely won’t be easing up.”
Stocksbridge thumped Lincoln 5-1 at Ashby Avenue back in September with Joe Lumsden netting twice along with efforts from Scott Ruthven and , Richard Stirrup and Matt Reay.
However. Lincoln arrive at Bracken Moor in good form having won six of the last seven
Sheffield FC host play-off chasing Leek Town, having seen their survival hopes boosted further after bottom of the table Romulus lost 2-0 at Chasetown on Easter Monday in the only Division One South fixture that survived the snow.
Frickley Athletic can take a big step towards securing their play-off place with a win at mid-table Belper Town.
Spencer Fearn’s side have a six point cushion over Leek in seventh and with three games in hand go into the game having won the last three league outings and looking to complete a league double over the Nailers.
Premier Division: Buxton v Workington, Matlock Town v Coalville Town, Rushall Olympic v Shaw Lane.
Division One South: Belper Town v Frickley Athletic, Sheffield FC v Leek Town, Stocksbridge PS v Lincoln United.