Pontefract Collieries 2 Stocksbridge PS 0
By Dave Rhodes
With Steels looking for a second win of the campaign, Manager Chris Hilton was forced to shuffle the pack with players injured or on holiday for the short trip to Pontefract, consequently, the team was set up with a bit of an unbalanced feel to it as Stirrup came in at centre back.
Weather conditions were dismal, dank and dreary as opposed to the warm sunshine we had at Lincoln last week, but at least players would be happy to see a pitch with surface moisture where the ball could be zipped around to feet.
The game started as an even contest with both teams creating half chances with nothing to trouble either goalkeeper really. But the writing was on the wall as Steels pushed men forward carte blanche and were failing to react and identify danger early enough.
On 12 minutes Dugdale the nippy left winger was left one v one with Charlesworth, coming inside he threaded a ball neatly to Michael Dunn who latched onto it and chipped the ball over the advancing Greaves from 10 yards out.
A free header from McFadyen was off target from 8 yards central to the goal and Moxam missed a glorious opportunity after terrific work down the left by Williams.
Certainly Steels were making hard work of it, making elementary mistakes throughout the team against an average Pontefract side which was hard to fathom why? Easy passes were made far more difficult than they were, balls were not held and didn’t stick in crucial areas of the pitch.
It is hard to pick out any positives from an inept first half display where Park Steels failed to press up the pitch and work as defensive unit when the ball was lost.
HT: Pontefract Collieries FC 1 – 0 SPS
Greaves needed to be alert on numerous occasions as Pontefract pressed forward, it must be said, with relative ease, no real resilience nor tenacity shown by the away side in critical areas of the pitch.
Park steels did have a few ventures into the home sides half but free kicks, corners and through open play, were largely ineffective, apart from a chance in front of goal when Mangham should have hit the target, instead, firing well over.
A scrappy affair ensued with Park steels all over the place at times becoming one dimensional and lacking ideas going forward, it seemed the harder they tried the worse it got.
Three substitutions were made but made no difference as the Pontefract side managed the game out well.
On 85 minutes a shot from 20 yards out by Ely Hey, Pontefracts busy centre forward, fizzed past Greaves to his right and into the net.
Pontefract deserved the second goal, frustratingly Park Steels were not at the races today, individually nor collectively, hopefully for Steels supporters its just a real bad day at the office, but Its back to the drawing board for Hilton and his staff without much reflection time, as Carlton Town are next up on Tuesday evening at the Look Local Stadium with a 7- 45 kick off.
Full Time: Pontefract Collieries FC 2- 0 SPS