Frickley Athletic missed a big chance to get clear of the drop zone when they suffered a 2-0 defeat away to already relegated Belper Town in the Evo-Stik Premier League on Tuesday night.
After winning on Saturday the Blues travelled in confidence that they could open up a four-point gap on their nearest rivals with just two games to go, but a poor performance saw them concede a goal in each half to stay deep in relegation trouble..
Just when another big performance was required Frickley failed to deliver the goods as they enabled Belper to climb off the foot of the table with their superior commitment and organisation.
The Blues were boosted by the return of Luke Hornsey and Jake Stannard from injury but were without Luke Jeffs following a hamstring injury picked up at Trafford. James Kay moved to right-back with Lee Stratford reverting to left-back as Hornsey returned to the midfield.
Belper started the game well with Jonathan Williams having a 25-yard shot charged down by John Cyrus in the third minute but the Blues as Reece Thompson’s far post header from Brad Dockerty’s cross was well saved by Dan Haystead.
The home side took the lead in the 13th minute when some good build-up play saw Steve Warne fire in a 20-yard shot that flew past Simpson and into the net vie the underside of the crossbar.
Rather than stinging the Blues into action it was the home side that went close again on 24 minutes when Evan Garnett’s 25-yard shot flew just wide .
On the stroke of half-time a good run from Paul Grimes saw his angled shot cleared off the line by Stratford.
Early in the second half Dockerty controlled a clearance from Ben Simpson before running at the Belper defence and finding Allott in space inside the box but he took the ball wide and his angled shot was comfortably saved by Haystead.
Thompson latched onto a long ball from Kay two minutes later to get goal side of Kern Miller but his angled shot was blocked by Haysead.
The home side continued to threaten, though, with Grimes firing over from 20 yards after being sent clear on 77 minutes.
Dockerty found Brad Riley in space outside the box in the 80th minute but his strong shot flew inches wide.
Belper wrapped the game up in the 84th minute when they exploited space in the Blues’ defence with Cyrus having moved up front with Rob Stevenson firing past Simpson from the edge of the box.
Frickley: Simpson, Stratford, Kay, Hornsey, Cyrus, Ible, Riley, Bloor, Thompson, Allott (Stannard 56), Dockerty.
Two goals from Reece Thompson and one from Brad Riley saw Frickley earn a vital win at Trafford on Saturday to move to fifth from bottom.
Without the injured Luke Hornsey and Jake Stannard as well as the suspended Luke Hinsley and the not fully fit Macaulay Parkinson manager Karl Rose was at least boosted by the return of Matty Bloor while the experienced Lee Stratford replaced Hornsey in midfield.
The home side started well with Ben Simpson having to push away a 25-yard shot from Jimmy McCarthy in the second minute and three minutes later Simpson denied John Pritchard who found himself through on goal.
The Blues took the lead with their first meaningful attack in the ninth minute. Gavin Allott sent Thompson clear inside the box and he confidently placed the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
In the 18th minute Brad Dockerty had an angled shot blocked on the line by Tom Read before the loose ball was played back in by Stratford for Thompson to head into the net, but the “goal” was disallowed as Thompson was ruled marginally offside.
Andy Smart went close for Trafford in the 33rd minute when his 20-yard free-kick deflected off the wall, wrong-footing Simpson, but the ball rolled wide.
Allott had the first chance for the Blues in the second half as he went clear only for Read to block Allott’s prodded shot with his legs. The loose ball fell to Dockerty whose strong shot was well tipped over by Read.
Three minutes later it was Simpson’s turn to come to the rescue as he pulled off a great one-handed save to deny Chris McDonagh from close range.
The Blues then enjoyed a period of dominance with Riley having a 22-yard shot just clear the bar and another shot pushed over by Read.
Riley got his reward on 68 minutes when he swung over a free-kick from the left which evaded everyone and nestled just inside the far post.
Thompson had a first time 25-yard shot pushed past the post by Read on 73 minutes before the Blues extended their lead on 77 minutes. Riley sent over a deep cross from the right to Allott who laid the ball into the path of Dockerty on the left side of the box. He beat two men before cutting the ball across the face of goal for Thompson to slam the ball into an empty net.
It should have been game over, but Kay nudged over McCarthy inside the box with the referee immediately awarding a penalty. However, McDonagh’s spot kick flew well over.
Allott was denied by a great save from Reid after going clean through, but a minute later Liam Blake hit the crossbar for Trafford with Pritchard following up to fire into an unguarded net.
Then six minutes into added time substitute Mark Derbyshire struck a 20-yard shot past Simpson into the bottom left hand corner. However, the final whistle blew seconds after the restart and Frickley had their massive three points.
Frickley: Simpson, Jeffs (Cable 90), Kay, Stratford, Cyrus, Ible, Riley, Bloor (Davies 79), Thompson, Allott, Dockerty.