Leek Town AC FC 2 Stocksbridge Park Steels 0
With Leek Town looking for victory to secure a play off place which depends on other results, Steels will be keen to finish the season on a high and in the top half of the table after a string of inconsistent performances of late. A large contingent of home support welcomed the players onto the pitch on a cold but bright April afternoon...
The game started with Leek Town on the front foot but Steels packed midfield was easily nullifying any opportunities in terms of goal attempts by the home side. The first half was a scrappy affair with no team able to find enough space in the opponents final third to fashion any real goal threat. Brodie Litchfield’s long range effort was pushed around the post by Danny Roberts the home goalkeeper and Dave Reay at the other end saw a Tim Grice shot whiz past his right hand post.
Again the SPS back four struggled to play from the back and were in real danger of losing possession with tight passing angles, Dave Reay was asked to clear the ball with long punts upfield when nothing was on.
Although both teams had reasonable passages of play in midfield non were able to effectively penetrate the other. Litchfield, Steels most effective forward was often found doing defensive work as Leek started to dominate proceedings.
Steels midfield were doing great work but often found themselves doing the same jobs and with one of the forwards dropping in too, caused confusion in terms of ball retention and effective transition from half way line to last third.
Jordan Lemon the right back for Leek bombed on and put a terrific right wing cross into the box and it was Tom Charlesworth who appeared to shove Leeks number seven Niall Maguire in the back as he looked favourite to make contact with the ball at the far stick 10 yards out. The referee gave nothing.
HT: Leek Town 0 – 0 SPS
The second half got under way but steels were pegged back, caught cold on 55 minutes when a simple long ball down the inside left channel caught out Jordan and Tim Grice nipped in with pace to fire a decent right footed drive across Reay and into his right hand post from 12 yards out.
Steels rallied and became positive, played good football at times and forced a sequence of corners as Leek were deciding to stick or twist with a goal advantage worth holding onto.
Again Steels shot themselves in the foot on 62 minutes as Poulton lost possession in the left back spot and was punished by Sam Grimshaw, the Leek substitute, who scored with virtually his first touch coming inside and shooting left footed past Reays outstretched right hand from 18 yards.
Steels were never at the races up top and really did not trouble the home goalkeeper Danny Roberts with few shots on goal.
Matt Reay was sent on as a makeshift centre forward and caused a few problems but too little too late as Steels succumbed to a typical end of season performance.
Player injuries and substitutions caused delays and disruptions to shape for both teams as players were subjected to stop start football which didn’t allow the game to flow really.
Another end of season match to forget as Steels players look towards their flip flops and sun beds, deservedly so, as they recharge their batteries ready for next year. If only the second half of the season could have replicated the first, but that’s football and its all in the game as they say. So, next season, Long journeys to far off southern venues are replaced with long journeys to northern venues as the leagues divisions have been creatively restructured.
Final Score: Leek Town 2 – 0 SPS