Stocksbridge Park Steels 2-0 Spalding United
By: James Grayson www.nonleagueyorkshire.com
A tremendous team effort enabled Stocksbridge to complete the double on high-flying Spalding United and maintain their late charge for the play-offs.
Headers from Matt Reay and Brodie Litchfield, with a penalty save from heroic goalkeeper David Reay sandwiched in-between, earned Steels three more valuable points.
Stocksbridge’s lead was made safer when Spalding’s Kern Miller was sent off for violent conduct. Miller could face an extra ban on top of the automatic three match suspension as he swore loudly at spectators as he left the field before angrily confronting referee Martin Ashworth outside the bar after the game.
The sending off of Spalding’s Kern Miller, who may face further charges after angrily confronting referee Martin Ashworth outside the bar, made Stocksbridge’s life easier
Those three moments were the only sour ones from a magnificent advert for Evo Stik football.
All the Stocksbridge players played their part in an organised and disciplined display which earned them their third consecutive victory.
The Steels had to weather an early Spalding storm, but for most of the match Chris Hilton’s men were on top.
Defender Reay set them on their way with a powering close range header from Joe Lumsden’s superb knock back.
The hairy moment for the Steels was ten minutes into the second half. A handball from Richard Stirrup saw Spalding win a penalty, but goalkeeper Reay saved his team-mate’s bacon by making a magnificent stop from Leon Mettam.
Reay’s moment of magic, which drew huge applause, simply spurred the Steels on. A rich vein of pressure followed and a second goal felt inevitable. Litchfield and Scott Ruthven had been inches away prior to it arriving.
Nathaniel Crofts won the plaudits for it as his skill and perseverance down the right ended with a fine cross from which Litchfield defied the odds to rise the highest to head home.
Once as Miller walked, Spalding’s game was up and the Steels saw the final stages out with ease. Whether or not the Steels reach the play-offs, this latest win has to go down as one of their best league victories of the season as they were magnificent.