Second half goals from Adam Shepherd and Aaron Moxam helped Shirebrook Town secure three important league points with a 2-0 win over NCEL Division One rivals Hallam at Langwith Road on Saturday.
It was the second meeting of the sides in less than seven days and Shirebrook started this game well, looking to carry on where they left off the previous Sunday when they came away 2-1 winners of the FA Vase First Round Qualifying tie against Hallam at their Sandygate ground.
Danny Bacon almost had the home side on the scoresheet inside two minutes with a deflected 20-yard shot that had visiting keeper Adam Ledger diving to his right, before pushing the ball around the post.
And Shirebrook kept up that early pressure, but Hallam began to grow into the game and their first real chance fell to Sam Read on14 minutes, but he had to stretch to get his shot from the edge of the box away, and the ball drifted wide.
After that the game was much more even and half-chances came and went at either end in a goalless first half, the best of these falling to Hallam’s Jack Bradbury on 25 minutes and Shirebrook skipper Shepherd right on the stroke of half time.
Shirebrook had the better of the second half and, having the advantage of the slope, started to take a firm grip on the game with some neat passing football.
Moxam, Craig Getliff, Ben Cobley and Danny Claridge all went close to scoring, but Shirebrook had to wait until the 74th minute when patience finally paid off and a ball worked from the left picked out Shepherd as the man over on the right, and he rolled his 18-yard shot past keeper Adam Ledger and into the Hallam net.
It was no more than the home side deserved and any thoughts the visitors had of salvaging something from the game disappeared when they went down to 10 men on 81 minutes after Adam Carter was sent off for a second yellow card.
Shirebrook doubled the margin of their lead three minutes later when Moxam unleashed an unstoppable left-foot shot from 22 yards that flew past Ledger.
And former Langwith Road favourite Simon Johnson almost had a fairytale return to the club, very nearly scoring Shirebrook’s third goal in his first game with his first touch of the ball after coming off the bench with just two of the 90 minutes remaining.
Shirebrook are back on the cup trail next week, travelling to Pontefract Collieries on Wednesday night in the Preliminary Round of the League Cup. Kick-off is at 7.45pm at The Beechnut Lane Stadium, Pontefract.
And that’s followed next Saturday when the cup action continues with a long trip to Greater Manchester where Shirebrook will face North West Counties Division One side Atherton Laburnum Rovers in the Second Round Qualifying of the FA Vase. Kick-off is at 3 o’clock at Crilly Park, Atherton.
Shirebrook return to Langwith Road and league matters a week on Tuesday when the visitors will be NCEL Division One newcomers Dronfield Town for a 7.45pm kick-off.
Shirebrook Town: Pywell, Cobley, Claridge, Booth (Wiltshire 71), Wankiewicz, Henshaw, Thompson (Selvam 88), Getliff, Moxam (Johnson 88), Shepherd, Bacon. Subs not used: Hartley, R Camm.
Hallam FC: Ledger, Cook, Alali, Dickinson, Adgie, Charlesworth, Sezerano (B Owen 79), Eckhardt (Lammy 62), Read, Bradbury (N Owen 62), Carter. Subs not used: Roper, Sampson.
Referee: Malcolm Graham (South Yorkshire)