Defeats keep Frickley in relegation zone

Zeph Thomas (right), back at Frickley Athletic.
Zeph Thomas (right), back at Frickley Athletic.

Returning Frickley Athletic manager Karl Rose now knows what a task he has on his hands to keep Frickley Athletic in the Evo-Stik Premier League after defeats in his first two games back in charge.

A hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat to second from bottom Ilkeston last Saturday left the Blues third from bottom and they failed to bounce back as they could not find the target again in a 2-0 loss at Buxton on Tuesday night.

Frickley knew they faced a tough task with Buxton going into the match in seventh place and they were up against it from the 17th minute when Gregory Young fired the hosts ahead.

Liam Hardy doubled Buxton’s tally as he put away a penalty three minutes into the second half and there was no response from the Blues.

Hopes that returning manager Rose could bring about an instant revival for Frickley were dashed as the team failed to score for the second successive game when they travelled to Derbyshire to face an Ilkeston team doomed to relegation for some time.

An even start saw Dexter Atkinson head a corner straight at Blues keeper Seb Malkowski while at the other end Bailey Gooda shot wide when presented with a decent chance.

Luke Mangham fired an effort well over, but there was little sign of a goal until just before half-time when Dante Leverock’s shot from a corner was blocked on the goal line and the follow-up by Matt Baker was straight at Malkowski.

Ilkeston did then put the ball in the net in injury-time as Tevahn Tyrell’s effort from outside the area looped over Malkowski into the top corner of the net.

Frickley looked to hit back after the break, but were frustrated when Jake Picton’s header was easily saved and Adam Priestley brought a better save from Dale Eve

Substitute Zeph Thomas was next to be denied by Eve twice and Waide Fairhurst saw his shot go agonisingly wide.

Keeper Eve was sent-off late on when he lashed out at Tyler Williams, but it came too late to alter the result.

Frickley now need to make the most of their remaining home games if they are to avoid the drop and they are back at Westfield Lane this Saturday, but face a difficult task as ninth-placed Grantham Town, who beat the Blues 3-0 in November, make the journey north for a game kicking off at 3pm.

The Blues have a welcome escape from the pressure of their relegation battle next Tuesday when they aim to reach another Sheffield & Hallam Senior Cup final. They are away to Handsworth Parramore in the semi-final, with the kick-off at 7.45pm.

Frickley boss Rose managed to beat the transfer deadline to add to his squad at the end of last week with Zeph Thomas signed from Stafford to add some valuable experience to the forward line for the run-in.

Thomas previously joined the Blues in August 2015 and scored eight goals before moving to Mickleover at the start of December 2015.