By: James Grayson www.nonleagueyorkshire.com Stocksbridge’s play-offs hopes took a hit after an early goal consigned them to defeat at Gresley.
Matthew Melbourne’s strike proved to be all what was required for Gresley, who also missed a penalty. There wasn’t a lot wrong with Stocksbridge’s performance on the terrible surface. The Steels were dominant in possession, but they lacked sharpness in the final third.
A sluggish start cost Stocksbridge as they were half asleep when Melbourne found a pocket of space to unleash a thunderous effort into David Reay’s near post.
Reay (pictured) bailed his team out again a few minutes later. Keenan King raced through, but Reay made himself big and managed to deflect the ball out to safety.
The rest of the half was dominated by Stocksbridge, who probed and teased Gresley without troubling their former Ossett Town goalkeeper Rob Peet.
Gresley showed no desire to attack until the final seconds of the half. The penalty, given for a foul on Dexter Morris-Dexter was generous as Steels defender Liam McFadyen and Matt Reay collided and there did not appear to be any contact on Morris-Dexter who went down and stayed down like he had been a victim of a sniper attack. Justice was served as Reay saved Leandro Brown’s spot kick.
Unfortunately Reay’s heroics did not inspire the Steels, who again controlled proceedings in the second half. But with Gresley hard to break down, shots were at a premium.
The best chance came in the final 30 seconds. The danger man Joe Lumsden was finally able to get a shot away from the edge of the penalty area. Peet parried and Nathaniel Crofts raced to pounce on the rebound. The goalkeeper recovered quickly though and won the ball – securing the three points for his side.
The local derby with Sheffield FC in Dronfield awaits Stocksbridge on Monday.