By Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels travel to fourth-placed Romulus looking to improve on an away record that has seen just one win from five on the road.
Romulus play on a synthetic surface and Steels manager Chris Hilton makes no secret of his dislike of the 3G pitches. He has stated in the past the he feels they shouldn’t be allowed and that they give the home side a big advantage. A point Hilton will feel was further endorsed when Stocksbridge lost 3-2 at Basford earlier in the month who also play on a 3G surface.
But for the time being they are here to stay as Steels head to the West Midlands looking to become the first side to win at Coles Lane this season with Romulus unbeaten in four outings at home.
Hilton want his side to show more consistency after they bounced back from a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Northwich Victoria to beat fancied Shaw Lane AFC 1-0 at Bracken Moor on Tuesday. “We have to produce the same level of performance as we did against Shaw Lane every week,” said Hilton. “We’ve been a little too inconstant this season but we know when we click we can beat anyone. In fairness its the first time this season I’ve had the spine of my team together on the pitch.
“What we need to do now is go into every game making sure we match what we did in midweek and not what we produced in the second half at Northwich.”
Romulus won their opening five matches in league and cup but have not enjoyed the best of Septembers having won just once in seven outings, although they did pick up a good point from a goalless draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds earlier in the week.
Stocksbridge will travel in buoyant mood following the victory over Shaw Lane, a result that saw the visitors lose for the first time in nine games this season. “I thought we zipped the ball around really well and played some good stuff, said Hilton. “We had a game plan and stuck to it, overall I thought we deserved to win. We could have scored a couple more but I’m happy with the 1-0 and a clean sheet against a good side. There was good performances all over the pitch which was very pleasing.”
Winger Nat Crofts is the only doubt after picking up an ankle injury in midweek.
Shaw Lane AFC will look to stretch their unbeaten home record to five games at the expense of Carlton Town with just one win in five on the road