Frickley Athletic are set for a nervy finish to the season as their bid to avoid relegation from the Evo-Stik Premier League is going right down to the wire.
The Blues need a point from their last league game at home to Curzon Ashton on Saturday to be sure of avoiding the drop, but can also escape relegation to the first division if rivals Marine fail to win their last match away at Blyth Spartans, who have shot up to sixth place in recent weeks.
Karl Rose’s men moved to within a point of Evo-Stik Premier Division safety as they deservedly took a point from Ramsbottom United in a goalless draw.
Luke Hinsley returned to the side after suspension while Macaulay Parkinson came in at right-back and Jake Stannard into the midfield.
The home side enjoyed more of the play in the first half but goalmouth action was largely few and far between until the latter stages of the half.
Jon Robinson missed a good chance for Ramsbottom in the 20th minute when he headed over the bar following a good cross from the left but Reece Thompson went close for the Blues just after the half-hour when he turned and shot just over from 20 yards.
On 35 minutes Jamie Rother found himself in a good position on the right of the Blues’ box but his angled shot bobbled harmlessly across goal.
The last five minutes before the break saw the Blues become more threatening with a good run from Brad Dockerty seeing him cut in from the left to have his angled shot blocked for a corner. The resulting corner was met by the head of John Cyrus and appeared to strike the hand of a Ramsbottom defender inside the crowded penalty area but the referee waved away claims for a penalty.
In the second half Frickley enjoyed far more of the play and went close on 53 minutes as Gavin Allott laid the ball back to Thompson who saw his first time shot from 20 yards smothered by Grant Shenton.
However, Ben Simpson had to be alert at the other end two minutes later to push away a 25-yard free-kick from Lee Neville.
Allott then lashed an 18-yard shot just over the bar while Dockerty rode a couple of challenges before putting a low shot inches wide of the left hand post.
Jameel Ible headed a teasing cross from Hinsley narrowly wide of the far post before a frantic last five minutes.
On 85 minutes Hinsley pulled the ball back to Matty Bloor whose first time shot was deflected just wide of his own near post by Mark Ayres with Shenton stranded and two minutes later Bloor headed Hinsley’s free-kick narrowly over from close range.
Within seconds Dockerty was dispossessed outside the Blues’ box, allowing Rother a clear shot at goal which he fired over the bar.
In the 89th minute Dockerty was involved at the other end when Thompson sent him clear down the left of the box with his angled close range shot was deflected against the outside of the near post by Shenton.
As the game entered stoppage time Kyle Harrop had Blues’ fans hearts in the their mouths when he was left unmarked at the back post to head wide following a deep cross from the left.
The point means the Blues need to take a least a draw from Saturday’s home game against Curzon Ashton to be sure of avoiding relegation. Kick-off at Westfield Lane is 3pm.
Frickley Athletic: Ben Simpson, Macaulay Parkinson, Lee Stratford, Jake Stannard, John Cyrus, Jameel Ible, Luke Hinsley, Matty Bloor, Reece Thompson, Gavin Allott, Brad Dockerty. Unused subs. Luke Hornsey, Brad Riley, James Kay, Joe Davies, Sam Leigh.