Kidsgrove 2 Stocksbridge PS 1
Steels travelled to lowly Kidsgrove Athletic last night hoping to improve on recent performances. The team was set up with two changes from the Newcastle game with Ben Rhodes and Luke Mangham starting. Great to see Luke Mangham back into it after such a long lay off through injury...
In the early stages of the game it was nip and tuck with both teams pressing high and forcing errors. Steels were showing terrific spirit and were starting to dominate proceedings with neat one and two touch passing moves. Steels won the ball back, used it well and consistently caused the home side problems restricting them to hopeful long ball clearances and break always.
It was evident that the home side, who sit nearer the bottom of the table and searching for points after a run of poor results, were up for the fight and Steels needed to match this aspect of the game.
We certainly did this and showed real grit, energy and intensity in a full blooded encounter.
On 35minutes a great move saw Steels take the lead. A lovely ball from Ben Rhodes in central midfield found Joe Lumsden wide on the left, Joe jinked and checked onto his right foot, passed sideways to Brodie Litchfield at the corner of the box, Litchfield advanced more central, on his right foot from 16yards, drove the ball clean and hard giving Dave Parton the home goalkeeper no chance as it grazed the inside of the post low to his left.
Litchfield was a real threat in the last third and again went close, this time with a left foot shot from 18yards straight at the goalkeeper. Kidsgrove were not lying down and competed for every ball.
The second half started much as the first had ended with Steels on the front foot with pressure on the ball and moving well as a group going forward.
On 55mins Litchfield scored, what looked like a glorious goal from an acute angle only to be disallowed for a debateable offside.
After 65 min Ben Rhodes came off with a hamstring injury and replaced by Scott Ruthven.
On 75mins the excellent Todd Jordan miss timed a challenge in the box bringing down Eric Graves the busy Kidsgrove midfielder, a certain penalty and such hard luck on Jordan who had dominated throughout. The penalty was dispatched comfortably hard to Jordan Greaves right.
Kidsgrove were now pressing for the winner, looked more and more dangerous on the counter as Steels committed men forward. Scrambles in both boxes. Corners at both ends, someone was going to score.
On 85mins a corner for Kidsgrove from the right was swung into a packed 6 yard box, the first header was dealt with by the Steels defence but the second ball dropped to Leon Ashman, in space at the edge of the box who half volleyed a great strike through a crowded goalmouth into the net.
Declan Errat-Thompson came on for Luke Mangham on 87mins
Some would say a draw would have been a fair result, Steels played terrific at times and showed real class and determination for long periods of the game. Kidsgrove boys never gave up and credit to them for that certainly, if they equal this passion and desire for the remaining games they have nothing to fear.