Frickley Athletic climbed the table and moved seven points clear of the relegation zone as they extended their unbeaten run to four games in the Evo-Stik Premier League with a home win over Matlock Town on Tuesday night.
After two previous wins and a draw at Marine last Saturday, Lee Morris’s men further enhanced their hopes of avoiding relegation with a battling display and a 1-0 success against opponents starting the game fifth from top.
Joe Pugh, the young striker on loan from Doncaster Rovers, proved the match winner as he scored the only goal of the game from close range two minutes before half-time.
Tyler Williams missed a great chance to double the advantage, but it did not prove crucial as a great defensive display ensured a clean sheet.
Frickley earned a valuable point away to a Marine team one place above them in the table on Saturday, but left disappointed after letting a three-goal lead slip following a red card shown to goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski.
Up against a side under new management, they began superbly with two goals in less than two minutes.
After Ross Barrows had seen a shot well saved, the Blues went ahead as Tyler Williams sent a glancing header from an inswinging cross into the net.
The lead was immediately doubled when another dangerous cross was headed away only to Barrows who volleyed past keeper Dean Porter from 22 yards out for a fine goal.
Frickley stayed on top and Nathan Valentine was only denied by a fine save from Porter after striking well from the corner of the box.
Blues keeper Malkowski was called into action to tip a shot by Kisimba Kisimba over the bar.
Matthew Hamilton gave warning that Marine were still in it as he burst into the box only to drag his shot wide just before half-time.
The hosts missed a great chance to score in the opening minute of the second half as Danny Mitchley fired wide with only Malkowski to beat.
But it was Frickley who scored again when Williams’ superb 30-yard volley rebounded off the post to Joe Pugh who had a simple task to make it 3-0.
However, the turning point came when Malkowski was sent-off for handling the ball outside his area. Midfielder Jack Waters had to don the gloves and 10-man Frickley conceded three goals in eight minutes as James Foley, Callum Mahoney and Daniel Mitchley all scored.
Marine went down to 10 late on when Alex Davies was sent-off for a second bookable offence, but they almost pinched the points as Kenny Strickland’s shot was kept out by a timely block. The rebound fell kindly for Mahoney eight yards out, but he sent his effort over to leave the final score at 3-3.
This Saturday the Blues are at home to mid-table Hednesford Town (kick-off 3pm). They are also in action away to top of the table Blyth Spartans next Tuesday (7.45pm).
Frickley have added to their squad with forward Noel Burdett rejoining on loan from Scunthorpe United until the end of the season.