Shaymen are looking for more of the same

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Having played just a couple of home games in the opening seven weeks of 2011, Town are back at the Shay for the second time in five days tomorrow when they entertain Stocksbridge Park Steels.

And a repeat of the 3-0 win they recorded over Kendal in midweek would suit Neil Aspin’s side very nicely indeed.

The Town boss admitted that his side could play a lot better than they did on Tuesday evening.

But in the final 16 games of the campaign, the only thing that matters is that they pick up enough points to secure their second successive title.

Stocksbridge are typical of so many sides in the division given that they have won four and lost four of their last nine games with a draw at Retford thrown in.

Their victories have come against Northwich last weekend, Kendal in Cumbria, Matlock and Hucknall while they have lost at Whitby and Nantwich and at home to Worksop and Marine.

Over the same period, the Shaymen have won seven, drawn one and lost just one, the defeat coming at Colwyn Bay when they had chances to claim at least a share of the spoils.

And it is Town’s consistency, aided by the fact they have the best players in the division, that has seen them dominate the title race for the past few months.

When the sides met in South Yorkshire back in September they produced a remarkable midweek game in which Stocksbridge led 1-0 and 3-2.

Mark Ward gave them an early advantage and, after Danny Holland and James Dean had struck, Kevin Davies and Ward put them ahead at the break.

Second half goals from Scott Metcalfe, Holland and Simon Garner ensured a second successive five goal performance from Aspin’s team following the 5-1 thrashing of Whitby.

And the victory was the second of 10 in a row for the Shaymen as they stamped their authority on the race for Conference North.

Such runs do not come along very often and Town have not managed to repeat that feat again just yet.

But they have produced a series of results which must have knocked the stuffing out of their rivals who are clearly struggling to maintain their own challenges.

And while everyone at the Shay believes they have to guard against slip ups, there have been few signs that anything is going to blow them off course in the coming weeks.

The midweek victory against Kendal took the Shaymen 13 points clear at the top of the table and they will be firm favourites to maintain that advantage tomorrow.