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REPORT: Trojans go top after hard-fought battle at Athersley

Staveley reverted back to the same starting eleven that beat Bottesford just seven days ago as they made the trip to bottom of the league, Athersley Recreation.

In the last 24 hours, Athersley had signed three players, all of whom made it into the first team for Saturday's game.

It was a sign of deja-vu for Joe Pugh, having scored in the reverse fixture, when he took the ball well from Sam Finlaw's through pass to put the ball in the roof of the net and give the Trojans an early lead.

Chances kept coming for Staveley when Robson Doolan's effort cannoned off the bar from 30-yards out and Pugh could've doubled his tally for the day when he missed from close range.

Jon Froggatt had the next chance and would have doubled the visitors lead if it wasn't for a fantastic save from Chris Snaith, making his debut in the Penguins goal.

As half time approached, the hosts proved just how much they have changed since the two sides last met as they piled the pressure on.

The second half started very similar to how the first ended, with Athersley in the ascendancy and as they started to gain momentum, the game was brought to a halt when referee Daniel Guest was forced off with an injury.

His substitute was linesman, Colin Unwin and a member of the crowd took to the linesman duties, allowing the game to continue.

Athersley kept giving as good as they got and with five minutes to go they pushed everyone forward in search for a second goal.

With everyone pushed forward, Finlaw played one long ball forward that left Michael Burke through on goal and with only the keeper to beat, he confidently chipped Snaith to put an end to any hopes of Athersley getting a point.

With those three points firmly in the bag, Staveley now go top of the league, level on points with Penistone Church, who the Trojans play on 8th February, and Liversedge. There is still a long way to go, but, for now, the Trojans are deservedly top of the NCEL Premier League.

Staveley Miners Welfare: Wright, Parkin, Dudley, FInlaw, Mundy, Lund, Worrall (Langton), Doolan, Froggatt, Pugh (Burke), Lindley (Clxaton).

Unused Substitutes: Kay.

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