Stocksbridge Park Steels will go into their derby clash at neighbours Sheffield FC on Boxing Day with confidence high, after two goals from Lee Garside saw Steels stretch their unbeaten run to four games with a solid 2-1 win at Rainworth MW.
Chris Hilton handed a debut to his latest signing, winger MJ Kedman on loan from Sheffield United.
Steels made a good start with the pace of Kedman and fellow Blade loanee Kler Heh causing the home side all sorts of problems with their pace down the flanks.
So it came as no surprise when Stocksbridge took a deserved 15th-minute lead as Garside took advantage of a defensive mix up to fire an angled shot into the far corner.
Rainworth came into the game, equalising three minutes from the break when Romaile Graham slotted home from six-yards following a goalmouth scramble.
Stocksbridge went close to regaining the lead on 75 minutes when Garside headed narrowly wide from a Liam Schofield cross.
However, Rainworth didn’t heed the warning and just a minute later Garside met Rory Coleman’s inviting free-kick to plant a header beyond the keeper’s reach.
Steels thought they had added a third only for the assistant’s flag to rule out Chris White’s effort. But it mattered little as Stocksbridge climbed to 14th in Division One South.
Sheffield FC were beaten for the first time in four games, going down 2-1 at in-form Lincoln United as the hosts complete a league double over Jordan Broadbent’s side with a sixth win in eight.
The match started at a frantic pace with both teams looking to attack but it was Lincoln who created the better chances - which was rewarded when Josh Nichol headed in from close range to give the home side a 19th minute lead.
Lincoln went further ahead nine minutes from the interval with a well worked corner routine that saw Andy Toyne score with a superb strike from the edge of the box to leave Sheffield with it all to do. Club created several chances after the break but it wasn’t until the 90th minute that they made one count as Joel Purkiss got his head on a Matt Roney cross.
But it came too late for Sheffield to come up with an equaliser
In the Premier Division, Shaun Tuton’s stoppage time goal earned Buxton a deserved point from a 1-1 draw at Nantwich after the hosts had led from the fifth minute.
Matlock Town went down 4-2 at home against Trafford. The visitors had gone 2-0 up inside the opening 15 minutes but two goals in two minutes midway through the first half from Ellis Humble and Lawrence Gorman saw the Gladiators go in 2-2 at the break.
But it proved in vain as Trafford struck twice more in the second half.
Frickley Athletic’s game at Rushall Olympic was abandoned late on, after a serious injury to a Rushall player.
n Fixtures, Boxing Day: Premier Division: Buxton v Matlock Town, Frickley Athletic v Whitby Town.
n Division One South: Sheffield FC v Stocksbridge Park Steels