Barnoldswick Town go into the Easter derbies with Colne and Nelson on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Cammell Laird on Tuesday night.
Scott Moore, Jake McEneaney and Christopher Ridehalgh all started, with Elliott Firth, Anthony Pollard, Carl Ellerton and Matthew Simpson out.
The home team started the brighter, as Craig Cairns went close, but John Beckwith also had a shot smothered by the keeper from McEneaney’s cross.
Just before the half hour, Shaun Airey headed against the upright from Arley Barnes’ corner, before Michael Woodvine hooked the rebound inches wide.
Laird then had Danny O’Brien harshly sent off for a foul on the halfway line,
Just as half-time approached, Cairns forced Jordan Gidley to tip the ball round his post for a corner. Then deep into injury time, poor defending let Cairns in again, and this time he made no mistake.
Town started the second half as they had started the first, on the back foot.
And 10 minutes in, the Town defence were guilty of giving the ball away, and Adam Hughes made them pay, doubling Laird’s lead.
Desperate to get back into the match, Town replaced James Crorken and Ridehalgh with Ben Gorman and Michael Hodson, but Laird should have increased their lead almost immediately. A corner found Paul Tosney unmarked at the near post, and his header was deflected across goal for another corner.
Town couldn’t make any further headway against a very mobile Laird team, Gidley tipping a Jay Clare shot over his crossbar, and Cairns, unmarked just outside the area, volleyed the ball onto the bar and over.
On Saturday, Town won 2-0 at Abbey Hey.
Beckwith came into the starting line-up, along with Woodvine.
Town started a little on the sluggish side, and Sam Hind tried his luck from 25 yards out, the ball zipping past Gidley’s right hand post.
Towns first meaningful attack came after 17 minutes, as a Gidley free kick found Mark Threlfall, who headed the ball down to Beckwith, who forced Jon McIlwaine into a diving save.
Slack defending by Town let in Jon Hardy, and Nico Collins forced Gidley into a save from the edge of the area.
On the stroke of half-time Beckwith was put clean through, McIlwaine saving his shot with his legs.
Town took the lead on the hour, as Barnes swung a corner over, and Darren Talbot put through his own goal from six yards out.
It was no surprise on 69 minutes when Town increased their lead, as a Barnes free kick found Threlfall at the far post eight yards out, his powerful header beating McIlwaine, who was rooted to the spot.
Elliott Firth almost added a third, while Abbey’s Kane Hickman hit the bar, but Town emerged with the points and now host Colne tomorrow, and Nelson on Monday.