Shirebrook extend their unbeaten run in NCEL Division One
A morale-boosting 4-0 win at Yorkshire Amateur, thanks to goals from Liam Nelthorpe, Leigh Hutchinson and a brace from Andre Johnson, was followed by a goalless draw at Hall Road Rangers.
Shirebrook made the long journey to Hall Road knowing that anything less than three points would severly dent their promotion hopes, with games running out.
Town were without Gareth Campion, Hutchinson and the suspended Nelthorpe.
As the game kicked off it was plain to see the windy conditions would play a part in the proceedings, but it was Shirebrook who tried to knuckle down and take control of the game in midfield. Jack Barnett orchestrated play and a pinpoint cross from Matty Sykes just needed the right touch from Johnson only to be deflected round the post.
Hosts, Hall Road, had a very youthful looking side and their work-rate made it difficult for Shirebrook to play and, when they did win possession, long balls driven across the wind rarely trouble the Shirebrook goalkeeper Dale Sheppard.
The game was scrappy at times as passes went astray, Shirebrook’s Jamie York and Lewis Chambers when dribbling in on the byline were short of the right option to create that golden chance..
Hall Road played a high line and at times caught both Liam Morris and Johnson offside.
Morris did manage to turn on goal a couple of times but Hall Road’s defence stood firm. Ricky Hanson marshalled both Connor Smythe and Luke Weaver in defence when under the occassional threat.
Adam Shepherd got Shirebrook off to a flying start on their return, quickly searching Sykes out, playing left wingback, and his driving run very nearly creating an opportunity for the breathrough.
Shirebrook squeezed Hall Road back in to their own half and dictated most of the play in the second half. Skyes whipped another cross in which took a deflection on to the bar and Smythe drove a shot across goal.
Substitutes Kieron Watson and the returning Matt Plant both came on for Johnson and York as Shirebrook chased a winner. But chances were few and far between for the visitors. Hall Road broke away a couple of times but to no avail, as Shirebrook searched for the crucial three points.