Brighouse Town’s automatic promotion hopes in the Evo-Stik NPL’s East section were hit hard by a surprise 1-0 defeat away to lowly Stocksbridge Park Steels yesterday.
Luke Mangham got the only goal of the game on 58 minutes as the Sheffield side, heavily beaten in their previous two outings, upset a Town side on a four-match winning run.
Brighouse retained second spot but slipped seven points behind leaders Morpeth, who were 2-0 home winners against another of the contenders for a play-off place, Sheffield FC.
Visiting boss Vill Powell, who gave strike ace Aaron Martin the captain’s arm band in the absence of Adam Field and a start to recent signing Rarmani Edmonds-Green, had no complaints about the result.
He said his men “weren’t really at it” and had lacked quality in midfield and wide areas.
The dangerous Martin was kept in check by two tall central defenders but might have done better with an early header.
Brighouse’s best other chance fell to Tom Haigh in the second half but his flicked header sent the ball just wide.
Steels’ goal came from a free-kick on the home side’s right, Mangham firing home in a congested penalty area.
Powell said there had to be changes for Saturday’s home game against Frickley Athletic, who drew 1-1 at home to Lincoln United yesterday and are 12th in the table.
“We’ll freshen things up and hopefully that will bring the reaction that is needed.”