HUDDERSFIELD started their ‘grand slam’ weekend brilliantly with an 8-1 win over Sheffield, but it ended in disappointing fashion, with a defeat to their only remaining challengers for the Yorkshire Premier title.
Victory over Sheffield, followed by a 3-2 loss to Lincoln now leaves them requiring three wins from their final three games to be sure of finishing top of the table.
Lincoln are now a point ahead, and their two remaining games both look likely wins.
The only consolation for Huddersfield is that other results ensured their fate is still within their own hands.
Third-placed Sheffield Bankers were put to the sword with an 8-1 demolition with Martin Hirst completing a hat trick, while man-of-the-match Clem Gregory hit two.
Simon Courtney opened the scoring before Bankers equalised, but that was the last time they were in the game as Huddersfield took complete control, Hirst tapping into an empty net after good work from Jimmy Swinden and then wriggling round his marker to slot home into the corner of the net.
Swinden scored himself with a trademark drag flick to put the game beyond doubt before the interval, and Huddersfield did not let off in the second half, as Gregory knocked it two goals, before Steve Durrans fired in from a short corner, and Hirst dived in at the far post to reach and convert a Swinden cross.
Sadly the following day, it all went terribly wrong, as Huddersfield missed a host of opportunities to win the game and seal the title.
Gregory gave Field the lead after a run down the right from Courtney, but as Lincoln began to gain more possession they repeatedly fed their pacy young forward who put the Huddersfield defence under pressure, and it finally paid off, when they equalised and then went ahead after a string of short corners.
The home side had chance to level, but missed a penalty flick – the second one in eight days against the same opponents – and they soon found themselves three down early in the second half and subsequently chasing the game.
From that point it was all Huddersfield as Swinden hit the crossbar, Courtney hit a post and the Lincoln keeper played out of his skin.
Hirst and Durrans combined for the latter to pull a goal back and set up a thrilling final 15 minutes, but they could not find an equaliser and for the second time in two weekends they went down 3-2 to Lincoln.
Team: Howarth, Peachey, Swinden (M), Hannam, Beatson, Kelly (R), Gregory, Swinden (J), Hirst, Courtney, Durrans, Kaye, Robertson, Austerberry, Buckley.