Frickley set to end league campaign against relegated Mansfield

Jacob Hazel is presented with a bottle of bubbly to mark his 150th appearance for Frickley Athletic, during which time he has scored 98 goals. Making the presentation is press officer Michael Johnson.
Jacob Hazel is presented with a bottle of bubbly to mark his 150th appearance for Frickley Athletic, during which time he has scored 98 goals. Making the presentation is press officer Michael Johnson.

After mixed fortunes over Easter Frickley Athletic now set their sights on ending their Evo-Stik East Division campaign on a high note when they play their last game at AFC Mansfield on Saturday.

Martin McIntosh’s men will finish in either 11th or 12 position, which will represent a disappointment after last season’s exploits, but also some improvement after a difficult first half of the campaign saw them flirting with the relegation spots for a short while.

They will want to finish in positive fashion especially as they are taking on a team that will not be in the league next year.

Mansfield resigned from the Evo-Stik League after club officials accepted that the required ground grading criteria was not able to be met by the deadline set at the end of March. On the field the team has done well enough to be in 15th place in the 20-team division so it will not be a walkover for Frickley.

The Blues go into the game off the back of a 2-0 success against Stocksbridge Park Steels as the team gave fans a good send off in the final home match on Monday.

They were made to work hard for the points, but were on the front foot from the off. Jacob Hazel, in his 150th appearance for the club, broke free and was inches wide with his shot, Phil Watt was narrowly off target and Greg Young headed a Tyler Walton free-kick wide. It was not until the 41st minute that the deadlock was broken as Hazel took Walton’s pass and rounded the keeper. It took him wide, but he flicked the ball into the box for Karl Byrne to score his first goal for the club.

The game followed a similar pattern in the second half with the Blues largely on top. Walton saw an effort well saved and the resulting corner saw Young head over. Hazel came agonisingly close to scoring his 99th goal for the club when he burst free only to see his shot hit the post.

A second goal finally came just after the hour mark as Young smashed in from close range after meeting Walton’s cross.

Frickley then settled for seeing the game out to ensure their victory.

They were down to bare bones squad wise for their trip to Loughborough Dynamo last Saturday and lost 2-0.

With Jamie McGuire suspended and four players all injured it was a difficult afternoon in baking hot conditions and although there was no lack of effort from the players the application of the effort was a little awry and a goal in each half for the home team meant that the Blues brought nothing but themselves home afterwards.

They started brightly enough and were inches away from opening the scoring when Luke Hinsley hit the crossbar with a well struck free-kick.

But Loughborough took the lead against the run of play on 18 minutes through Karl Demidh and held the lead to half-time, although they went down to 10 men with a player sent-off for elbowing Greg Young.

In the second half Frickley were given a penalty, but Hazel saw it saved as he hit it straight down the middle. More frustration followed as the home keeper made a superb save to keep out Sam Liversidge’s great volley.

The result remained in the balance right up to the 90th minute when Loughborough scored their second, Demidh again netting after the Blues failed to clear their lines.

Frickley had been able to include Ousman Cham, who after impressing since coming in from Halifax Town has had his loan to Frickley extended until the end of the season.

Frickley’s end of season awards night is set to take place on Saturday, May 11 at the Frickley Pavilion, Westfield Lane, 6-11pm. Tickets are available from Brooke@frickleyathletic.co.uk or by ringing 07477865647.