Thackley are on the road again on Saturday when they travel to Sheffield for their game against Penistone Church. The South Yorkshire club currently occupy one of the three promotion places, in third place they trail top of the table Staveley by six points. They are hotly pursued by Yorkshire Amateur and Bridlington Town in fourth and fifth place respectively. Winning promotion to the NCEL in 2014, it took just three years for them to move up to the Premier Division. They finished second in the table last season, high spending Worksop Town getting the one promotion place.
This season Penistone have been in the top three from very early on and have lost just one of their last seven games, that was against current league leaders Staveley in front of a crowd of over 370 at Church View Road. Like Thackley, their game last Saturday was postponed, their latest victory was against Bottesford the weekend before.
Thackley have found it hard going against Penistone in the past, in their five previous meetings the best they have been able to manage is a 1-1 draw in the Sheffield’s club first season in the Premier Division. Last season Thackley were well beaten in both league games and earlier this season Penistone ran out 4-1 winners at Dennyfield.
Thackley will be still smarting from Tuesday night’s defeat at Knaresborough, where both teams looked as if they were in need of some game time. It was a disappointing performance because they had played some of their best football of the season in February, they seemed to have lost that momentum after being out of action for over two weeks.
Saturday’s game will certainly be a big test, Penistone will be looking to capitalise on home advantage, they have a large partisan home following, and need all three points to keep their promotion push going. However, if Thackley can regain their early February form, there could be an upset on the cards.