Frickley Athletic let a two-goal lead slip as they could only draw their final home of the season against Stocksbridge Park Steels on Monday to plunge into deeper relegation trouble.
The 2-2 result ensured that the Blues would finish fourth from bottom in the Evo-Stik Premier League and they now have their work cut out to earn a reprieve from relegation with results going against them in the Ryman League..
It looked so promising for them in what was essentially a must-win game as top scorer Gavin Allott fired them into a 2-0 lead in the first half. But a second half collapse allowed Steels to take a point away.
Manager Karl Rose brought the fit again Jack Wakefield into midfield at the expense of Jake Picton while Luke Hinsley started up front with Fernando Moke moving out wide in place of Leon Osborne. Andy Villermann moved to right-back with Kasper Amdal picking up a knock on Saturday and Lee Stratford came in at left-back.
Steels’ Chris Hamilton went close in the second minute, but the Blues went much closer four minutes later when Moke sent over a cross for Hinsley to power a header against the post.
Villermann burst into the box in the 13th minute, but saw his angled shot pushed away by Jack Ward. However, the Blues got the breakthrough they needed in the 25th minute. A Luke Jeffs corner was only partly cleared and when it was played back into the box Sam Denton flicked the ball into the path of Allott who finished emphatically from 10 yards.
Six minutes later Allott doubled the lead, glancing in a free-kick from Moke, and the Blues looked to be in control.
Allott had a great chance to notch his hat-trick with a clear run at goal, but Ward blocked his shot and follow-up effort.
Ben Simpson tipped a 25-yard free-kick from Matt Hamshaw against the post in the 44th minute and then reacted fantastically to tip the follow-up header from James Knowles over the bar.
Less than 30 seconds into the second half Stocksbridge found a way back into the game when the Blues failed to cut out a throw-in which left Hamilton to sprint clear of Denton, sidestep substitute Amdal and steer the ball past Simpson into the net.
Frickley came close to scoring again as Moke sent Hinsley clear, but, after going around the keeper, Julian Banton cleared his shot from a tight angle off the line.
A minute later disaster struck for the Blues as Andy Ring took a quick throw-in for Steels which released Knowles to beat Simpson from just inside the box.
The Blues responded with Moke going close and Luke Sharry blasting wide from the edge of the box. Denton had the last chance, heading wide from Jeffs’ cross.
Frickley now end their league season away at Worksop Town this Saturday (3pm).
Frickley Athletic: Simpson, Villermann, Stratford (Amdal 20), Wakefield (Picton 69), Denton, Jeffs, Hornsey (Ghaichem 45), Sharry, Hinsley, Allott, Moke.