Goals from Gavin Allott and Fernando Moke gave Frickley Athletic a crucial 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers in a game played in difficult conditions.
The Blues went into Saturday’s game knowing this was a good chance to pick up points to try to pull clear of the relegation zone in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik League and produced a solid display against their second from bottom hosts.
Frickley received a boost before kick-off with Sam Denton declared fit to return to the side and he partnered new signing Kasper Amdal in central defence. Ben Simpson returned in goal and Fernando Moke came back into the side in place of Jimmy Ghaichem after being cup-tied for the win at Brigg as manager Karl Rose kept the same shape to the side that performed so well in the Doodson Sport Cup tie.
On a heavy pitch with the elements at their backs it was the home side who threatened early on and they had two good chances in the first 11 minutes to take the lead.
In only the second minute James McCarthy was sent clear, but he fired his 18-yard shot just wide of the right hand post. Nine minutes later Daniel Cope found himself clear with just Simpson to beat, but the keeper managed to block with Steve Gardner clearing the loose ball.
In between these efforts Moke had cut in from the Blues’ left to have an angled shot saved by Jon Brain in the ninth minute.
Moke went closer still in the 13th minute when Luke Hinsley played a great through ball for him to burst clear, but Brain got enough on Moke’s shot to divert it inches past the post.
The two teams then largely cancelled each other out until Gavin Allott took advantage of a defensive slip-up to put the Blues ahead on 37 minutes.
Moke played the ball forwards for Allott and Brain and Darren Chadwick got in each other’s way, allowing Allott the simple task of putting the ball into an unguarded net from just inside the box.
Jake Picton went close on 43 minutes as he headed a cross from Allott over the bar from six yards. But it remained 1-0 until half-time.
The Blues doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half as Allott flicked on a long clearance for Moke to break clear and slot the ball past advancing goalkeeper Brain.
Two minutes later it could have been 3-0 as Allott blazed over from 15 yards, but Stafford then missed a glorious opportunity to get back into the game on 68 minutes as substitute Jack Lees sent over a perfect cross from the right for McCarthy who scooped the ball over the bar from 10 yards.
Almost immediately Picton found himself in space on the left of the box and he forced Brain into a good blocking save.
Andy Villermann replaced the injured Amdal after 73 minutes and Allott went close to grabbing a third for the Blues on 82 minutes as they finished the game on top. Allott cut in from the right and in trademark fashion rode several challenges before placing a shot past Brain from a tight angle that Alex Melbourne did well to get back and clear off the line at the far post.
A minute later Picton had a close range header pushed over by Brain following a corner and on 85 minutes Hinsley headed wide from 15 yards following a deep free-kick from Grayson.
Stafford Rangers: Brain, Melbourne, Davies, Chadwick, Johnson, Burke, Cope (Lees 64), Craney, McCarthy, Griffiths (Reid 76), Kinsella (Curtis 64).
Frickley Athletic: Simpson, Gardner, Grayson, Picton, Denton, Amdal (Villermann 73), Moke, Wilcox, Hinsley, Allott, Kenny. Unused subs: Ghaichem, Osborne, Paczkowski, Hitchcock.
Referee: Matthew Wilkes.