Stocksbridge PS 0 Spalding United 2
By: James Grayson www.nonleagueyorkshire.com
Winning at Stocksbridge Park Steels must be a big thing as Spalding United celebrated like they had won a cup final by banging on the changing room walls and singing euphoric songs.
Goals in either half from Cenk Acar and Gary King gave hard-working Spalding, who beat the Steels in the play-offs semi-finals last season, their opening day victory.
There was little in the game, but Spalding’s physicality was probably the major difference. But had Joe Lumsden converted his second half penalty, the Steels would have looked capable of winning the contest.
The first decisive moment came midway through the opening half. Spalding enjoyed a five minute spell which saw Acar waste one good chance before redeeming himself by pouncing on a loose ball from a free kick to give his side the lead.
Stocksbridge raised their tempo after the interval. They pressed higher up the pitch, put Spalding’s defence under pressure, but crucially did not test visiting goalkeeper Michael Duggan.
The Steels were handed a stroke of luck as a silly challenge on Richard Stirrup earned them a penalty. Unfortunately the usually-reliable Lumsden saw his effort palmed away for a corner by Duggan.
Penetrating attacks from Stocksbridge soon faded out and they were caught out by the inevitable sucker-punch on the break – with King volleying home a terrific effort from distance.