By Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels travel to play-off chasing AFC Rushden & Diamonds where both teams will be eager to return to winning ways after losing their last two outings.
Steels followed up a 2-0 home reversal against Kidsgrove Athletic with a narrow 4-3 defeat against title chasing Witton Albion on Tuesday, while Rushden have also suffered back-to-back defeats at home against Spalding United (2-1) then 3-0 at Basford United last weekend.
Manager Chris Hilton underlined the importance of the game against Diamonds saying.”Its a must win game, Stocksbridge’s season depends on a win simply as that..
“If we don’t pick up the three-points then I think the play-offs will be looking a bit to far for us.
We’ll have Matt Reay and Nat Crofts (pictured) back and hopefully Richard Stirrup should be available which will make us much stronger.”
David Reay will be hoping to do his bit by keeping a clean sheet with the goalkeeper keen to make amends for his late error that gifted Diamonds a 3-2 victory at Bracken Moor in late November. Reay has shown excellent form recently keeping four clean sheets in the last seven games.
Hilton was pleased with Steels second half showing in the defeat against Witton and felt they were with a point. “We had a bit of a patched up side out and gave away sloppy goals in the first half which was disappointing ” he said. “We’ve also scored two own goals but what was pleasing is that we didn’t fold at 4-1 down. We rolled our sleeves got back in the game and I though in the end were unlucky not to have got a point. But we’re just not getting the rub of the green at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Corey Gregory has left the club by mutual consent following his on field bust up with team-mate Ashley Burbeary last weekend that resulted in both players being sent-off.
“We sat down with Corey and we feel the best thing for him is for us to part ways, said Hilton. “Its a shame because he is a good player but its wasn’t acceptable what happened.”
The feuding pair have been fined and have apologised to the club.
Burbeary however could now miss the rest of the season after suffering a suspected broken foot against Witton.