NCEL: Hallam 4-2 Knaresborough Town: Boro play-off hopes drift away
Hallam 4-2 Knaresborough Town
Knaresborough Town's last hopes of a play-off place drifted away with defeat to one of their main rivals Hallam 4-2 away on Saturday.
Paul Atkinson gave Town a 19th minute lead but two goals in the space of five minutes from Steve Brammer and Janni Lipka gave Hallam the half-time advantage.
Michael Blythen took the game away from Boro six minutes into the second half before Fraser Lancaster gave the visitors shortly after the hour mark.
The toll of three games in five games took hold in the later stages, however, and Hallam extended their lead with 15 minutes remaining through James Reed.
The defeat leaves Paul Stansfield's men in ninth place with only the faintest of chances of reaching the top six in their remaining two matches.
Jack Rushworth saved early on from Janni Lipka and the James Reed headed over.
Ben Parkes had a shot deflected over after Hallam ‘keeper, Jack Dennison, made a fine save to deny Brad Walker.
Knaresborough then went ahead in the 19th minute when Paul Atkinson shot home after Fraser Lancaster knocked on a right wing centre.
Hallam levelled nine minutes later through a Steve Brammer penalty after Toby Lees tripped a played in the area.
Lipka then put Hallam 2-1 up in the 32nd minute with a superb left foot strike from twenty yards which flew into the top corner of the goal.
Dennison made an excellent save to keep out Lancaster’s header after Fatlum Ibrahimi knocked on an Atkinson cross, but Hallam finished the half stronger and came close to a third when Michael Blythen’s header came back from the foot of the upright.
It was Blythen who put Hallam 3-1 up in the 52nd minute when he converted from a long ball which was not cut out by the defence.
Lipka had a shot saved by Ruchworth before Lancaster reduced the arrears when he shot home after Walker’s header was saved by Dennison in the 64th minute.
Rushworth saved well from Micah Bishop before Colin Heath slammed against the home crossbar and headed over from the rebound.
The goal which sealed the result arrived in the 75th minute when Reed was given too much time on the edge of the penalty area and fired into the top corner to make it 4-2.
Late chances were rare, but George Eustance did shoot against the post, but the game was, by then, beyond a tired team which has battled extremely hard to stay in the top half of the table.