Pickering Town 2, Hallam 1; In-form Pickering Town's moved up to fourth position in the premier division of the Northern Counties East Football League with a 2-1 home win over Hallam.

Goals by Mark Swales and Richard Whitfield earn the Pikes their fourth straight league win and having only played three homes games because of the clash with cricket at the start of the season, confidence is sky-high at the Recreation Ground.

The Pikes could have taken a first minute lead when Joe Connor's 30-yard free-kick was superby tipped over by former Chesterfield and Buxton goalkeeper Scott Dinningan.

Hallam's James Tevendale had a shot well saved by the Pikes 'keeper Kevin Martin before Lee Pallander's tackle stopped Scott Bates in his tracks.

Matty Biggins fired wide for the Pikes from 20 yards and the Sheffield-based side responded with an effort from Will Tomlinson which was easily saved by Martin.

After Pallender was cautioned for deliberate handball, Connor crossed from the left, Michael McNaughton headed the ball back across goal for Rob Eeles who headed the ball wide.

On the half hour mark Ricky Greening beat four men and supplied a lovely through ball for Mark Swales but his weak effort went straight into Dinnigan's hands.

The Pikes rocked Hallam with two goals in as many minutes just before the interval. A lovely build-up by Chris Batchelor, Biggins and Greening allowed Swales to beat his man and finish coolly from 14 yards.

Pickering were soon back on the attack and a free-kick from the halfway line found an unmarked Richard Whitfield who beat his man and scored with a well struck 10-yard shot.

The second half saw the Pikes start well with Greening, Swales and Batchelor all linked up well for Batchelor to have a shot deflected for a corner.

Hallam battled back as Bates headed wide and Tevendale shot went close before Connor's right wing free-kick saw a Eeles' header go close.

Connor and Hallam's Gavin Hunter both found his way into the referee's notebook but it was Connor who supplied a superb through ball for substitute Liam Salt to run onto. He beat two men and shot from 15 yards with his left foot just wide of the goal.

Within 30 seconds substitute Rob Cam scored a fine goal for Hallam after excellent work by Tomlinson.

The visitors piled on the pressure after that and created several good chances before the final whistle. Tomlinson had a 25-yard shot deflected for a corner.

Richard Carrington's left wing cross was headed away by Eeles and Ryan O'Carroll set up Tevendale who missed from close range.

Five minutes from time Biggins's pass found Salt, whose effort was well saved by Dinnigan.

Play switched to the other end, Tevendale's superb left wing cross found Tomlinson who had drifted away from McNaughton, created space and headed over the bar.

Then Tomlinson had a shot which hit the side-netting and in the last minute Martin saved superbly to deny Andrew Wood.

The Pikes are hoping for a big attendance on Saturday when they entertain South Normanton Athletic (kick-off 3pm), who slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season last weekend - a 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Winterton Rangers.

Pickering Town: Martin, Aziz, Pallender (Brunton 83), Eeles, McNaughton, Connor (Rose 83), Greening, Biggins, Whitfield (Salt 71), Swales and Batchelor. Lee Pallender was the Pikes Man of the Match.

Referee: A Holmes (Darrington).

Ticket sales

The Pikes are selling season tickets for £65, £40 for concessions, which covers admission to all league games at home.

Juniors aged under 16 are admitted free if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The £5,000 Club Draw tickets are on sale from Anthony Handley at £100 each. When all tickets have been sold there will be a draw for a one-off prize of £5,000. Contact Handley on 01751 473125 or 07974 104736 for details.

Anyone wishing to sponsor a Pikes player for £30 should contact chairman Tony Dunnington 01751 472627 (work) or 473697 (home).

Pikes fixtures for the next few weeks ( NCEL unless stated) - October 23, Marske United (North Riding CFA Senior Cup, 7.30pm); October 27, Selby Town away; November 2, Mickleover Sports home; November 10, Barton Old Boys away (NCEL League Cup); November 13, Thackley away; November 17 Eccleshill United away (FA Vase); November 24 Armthorpe Welfare home.