Hallam 3 Eccleshill United 1
Ben Thornton helped himself to a brace as Hallam ran out comfortable victors against Wrose based club Eccleshill at a sun-drenched Sandygate to maintain their promotion push.
Hallam were looking for a response after letting a two goal lead slip at Brigg on Thursday Evening and they didn't disappoint as The Countrymen stormed into a 3-0 lead inside 52 minutes against the division high fliers from West Yorkshire.
The visitors looked the more assured starting the encounter and applied the initial pressure but defender Sam Bradley had to be on his guard to put in an outstanding tackle inside the box to deny Hallam and Thornton an opening.
However, that was only a stay of execution for the Eagles as Thornton found space after smart play down the left to riffle into the bottom left to put Hallam in front on 14 minutes. 1-0
And it could have been two, minutes later as Mitch Dunne's header was nodded clear by Matt Stor when destined for the net. And 'Goalie' Smith was the hero soon after as he made a superb double save to first deny Ollie Beaumont and then recover to tip over Sam Smith's consequential header. You were starting to get the feeling when that almost inevitable second goal would come for the hosts. Well, the 36th minute was the answer to that as Smith made a hash with a headed clearance and his namesake was there to pick up the leftovers and cheekly lob the Keeper from 25 yards to put daylight between Hallam and the team second placed in the league. 2-0
Just before half-time, there was a slight issue of controversy as Dunne appeared to be manhandled by Harrop in the United box but the Referee turned a blind eye to the ensuing Hallam protests. Despite not getting the rub of the green on that occasion, The Blues could feel very happy with their professionalism in the opening 45 minutes and press on to claim the three points, something they disappointingly failed to do two days earlier.
And, without any messing about, Hallam looked for the killer blow from the second half outset as Dunne drove from range but again Smith was equal to it, palming it away from danger. It seemed only a matter of time before the third would arrived and as Jake Currie headed on, Thornton took the opportunity without fail to give Eccleshill a Crosspool mountain to climb. 3-0
The team in red were rocking and made an instant change, and on 66 minutes Harrop popped up at the right time to drill in from very close range to give Eccleshill a smidgen of hope. 3-1
That smidgen could have turned to a real possibility a few moments later as again Harrop caused alarm with a decent free kick that sailed just over. Eccleshill were finishing the clash the stronger and Bradley was the next to come close, heading over from another set-piece. This was easily United best spell of the game and what looked like a comfortable win, was now starting to look less assured and Tom Rose came agonisingly close to setting up a grandstand finish when his headed was tipped onto the upright by Dave Darwent.
Hallam during this spell, did bring on fresh legs replacing Beaumont and Two goal hero Thornton as regular captain James Reed had an afternoon off. So after a few minutes added on for stoppages, the Ref' blew time on another win for the boys from Sheffield. Despite Eccleshill's strong finish, Hallam overall deserved the three points, a result that keeps The Countrymen in seventh but does extend the unbeaten run to THIRTEEN matches as AFC Emley are in town on Tuesday Evening, 745ko.
Hallam line up..
1 D Darwent
2 J Brelsford
3 M Bishop
4 T Roebuck
5 J Mccarthey
6 G Griffiths
7 O Beaumont ( Rowe)
8 J Currie ( Fewkes)
9 S Smith
10 B Thornton ( Tootle)
11 M Dunne
12 R Tootle
14 S Fewkes
15 J Reed
16 L Flint
17 D Rowe
Eccleshill Utd line up
3 Bradley ( cpt)
5 Manning ( Lever)
7 Harrop ( Maturine)
9 Irving ( Pownell)
Hallam... Blue/white, blue, Blue.
Eccleshill.. red/white, red, red.