THACKLEY have looked pretty comfortable in the play-off positions in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division over the last few months.

But their nerves may be fraying slightly, after a humbling 5-1 defeat at Penistone Church on Saturday allowed some challengers to close the gap.

The Dennyboys remain in third spot, and have a six-point buffer inside that top five, but sixth-placed Penistone are looking good.

Not only do they now sit just those six points behind Thackley, but they also have two games in hand on the Bradford side.

In fact, Thackley have played more games than anyone in the division besides their Bradford rivals Campion, meaning they are at risk of being reeled in regardless of their own results.

All they can do is focus on their own results of course, and they will need to try and bounce back quickly from that bruising defeat at Penistone the other day.

It was actually a relatively even first half between the two sides, with Thackley almost opening the scoring through Corey Billy, only for him to flick Kieran Suddards’ free-kick just wide.

Penistone went up the other end and scored almost instantly, as Nathan Keightley found space in the box to slot an effort past Dennyboys keeper Luke Wilson.

Antony Brown almost doubled the home side’s lead when the bounce of the ball caught out the Thackley defence.

He got in behind only to steer his effort just wide, before Thackley came close to levelling.

A clever cutback came to Ben Ellison-Tope in the box, and he fired a strike off the post.

After the break, Adam Terrelonge-Jones had a header tipped over the bar by Church stopper Chris Snaith and midway through the second half, it was still anyone’s game.

But Thackley fell apart in that final quarter, as Brown crashed an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box on 65 minutes, before Keightley turned home a low cross at the back post moments later.

It was a frantic period, and Ben Grech-Brooksbank pulled a goal back for the Dennyboys when he prodded home Aidan Chippendale’s ball into the box with 20 minutes to go.

But Penistone went straight back on the attack to make it 4-1, Keightley sealing his hat-trick, before Brown added his second from the penalty spot on 74 minutes.

In a remarkable spell of five goals in nine minutes, Thackley had been well and truly blown away, and will hope this was just a blip in their promotion push and nothing more.

Elsewhere, Campion kept up their title hopes with a 3-2 win at Hallam.

The home side had an early penalty saved, before Patrick Sykes, Stevie Crawford and Nathan Cartman had all scored to put Campion on easy street.

Hallam did convert from the spot midway through the second half, then added another goal late on, but Campion just about held off any late comeback.

The Red and Blacks are second on goal difference, but leaders Emley have three games in hand on them, and only the title winners will earn automatic promotion.

Albion Sports would have slipped out of the play-off places with a defeat at home to Knaresborough Town, who have a real shot at making that coveted top-five themselves.

But the Bradford side played well, and first-half goals from Ash Flynn and Robbie Fox secured them a 2-0 win.

Eccleshill United moved four points clear of the drop zone with a 1-1 draw at Tadcaster Albion.

The visiting Eagles had taken the lead through Zack Sangster midway through the second half, but they then had Matthias Britton sent off, before conceding from a penalty at the death to drop two valuable points.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Zack Sangster (left) came agonisingly close to getting lowly Eccleshill all three points on Saturday.Zack Sangster (left) came agonisingly close to getting lowly Eccleshill all three points on Saturday. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

Silsden were left devastated by their 3-2 home defeat against Golcar United.

Kayle Price and an own goal had ensured they were 2-1 up heading into the closing stages, but two injury-time goals ensured Golcar pulled off a remarkable heist.

A furious Silsden had Cody Cromack and Isaac Baldwin sent off, while the controversial penalty that won the game for Golcar, as the foul seemed to take place outside the box, came after 99 minutes.

Over in the North West Counties Football League First Division North, Route One Rovers remain locked in a tight play-off battle after losing 2-1 at fellow promotion hopefuls Ilkley Town, as the hosts came back well after Gauderic Totap’s first-half goal for the visitors.

The Bradford side sit fourth, when they would have gone second with a win, and only have a two-point buffer inside the play-off places.

Steeton’s lack of games over the last six weeks, due to Marley being temporarily out of action with a gas supply issue, has dragged them into the relegation battle.

They were back at Marley for only the second time since mid-December on Saturday, and were unlucky, losing 3-1 at home to leaders St Helens after being level with only four minutes to go.

Ezio de Santis popped up with Steeton’s goal after 82 minutes.

For the second week in a row in the Northern Premier League East Division, Liam Hardy was sent off for two bookable offences.

That put his team on the back foot on Saturday, and they lost 1-0 at Sheffield as a result.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: As well as losing Liam Hardy to a first-half red card, Liversedge were hampered by the injury absences of captain Jack Stockdill (above) and first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Porter.As well as losing Liam Hardy to a first-half red card, Liversedge were hampered by the injury absences of captain Jack Stockdill (above) and first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Porter. (Image: Brogan Atack.)

Sedge and Brighouse Town are both sat comfortably in mid-table, with the latter earning a 1-1 home draw against 10-man Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday.

The visitors were ahead at the break, but picked up that red card at the start of the second half, with Brighouse striker Mo Qasim punishing them with an equaliser just beyond the hour mark.

Play-off chasing Guiseley pulled off a stunning 4-3 win at Northern Premier League Premier Division leaders Radcliffe.

An early Reece Kendall penalty put the visitors in front, but they then had Jameel Ible sent off after only 19 minutes.

Radcliffe took advantage to move 2-1 up, before Kendall levelled with a second penalty on the stroke of half-time.

A Radcliffe player then put the ball through his own net right at the start of the second half, before a goal from Kallan Murphy put a disbelieving Guiseley 4-2 up on 55 minutes.

A late third goal from Radcliffe proved nothing more than a consolation, as Guiseley kept up their promotion hunt in spectacular fashion.

Finally, in National League North, mid-table Farsley Celtic cruised to a 3-1 home win over rock-bottom Bishop’s Stortford, thanks to goals from young Bradford City loanee Noah Wadsworth, Chris Atkinson and Ben Atkinson.

Bishop’s grabbed an injury-time consolation to make the scoreline look a little more palatable for the away fans.