After the heavy rains of last Thursday the long awaited Youth Cup fixture got under way at Nostell MW last night with Stocksbridge U18 Manager Paul Staniland and his staff looking to progress into the second qualifying round stages.
The game started with Steels on the front foot, with good tempo and looking dangerous as they pressed forward and were unlucky not to score on two occasions through Adam Morley and Dane Cloete during the early exchanges. Understandably, both teams took time to settle after a nervy first twenty minutes.
The away side took the lead on 23minutes when the ever dangerous Morley lobbed the keeper from the edge of the box when he had latched onto a long through ball from midfield. Deservedly Steels were in front but looked stretched at the back as Nostells bright wingers came more into the game, but it was Steels who went further in front when a Free Kick wide on the left, knocked to the far stick by Staniland was met by the influential Bruce who chested the ball home from 3 yards out.
It was on 40 minutes when a long punt downfield by Charlie Roberts, the away keeper, found the home defence struggling to deal with its height and distance, this gave Bruce the opportunity to put pressure on the defenders uncertainty, he out muscled the centre half and gained possession of the ball then calmly slotted the ball home past the advancing keeper from the edge of the box.
At 3 – 0 Steels took their foot off the gas a little and paid the price just before half time when a Nostell counter attack caught the away sides back four flat. A simple tap in from a right wing cross.
HT: Nostell MW 1 – 3 SPS
With the next goal being important Steels typically continued to pile men forward looking to finish the game off, but in searching for the fourth goal did leave holes in centre midfield. This was exploited on 60 minutes when Nostell knocked a hopeful ball forward and took advantage of the home sides numerical overload 25 yards from goal, the forward easily passed the ball past the helpless Roberts into the open net after defenders failed to win challenges in front of him. At 3 – 2 the game became a little stretched but Steels were determined, always in control and looked as if a fourth goal was to come soon. Substitutions had to be made due to yellow card offences and this helped solidify things as Steels looked to manage the game out.
A simple ball over the top found Cloete racing in on goal one v one, always composed he took the ball past the advancing keeper and passed the ball side footed into an open net.
A brilliant fifth goal on 88minutes saw Morley volley a close range effort high into the net after great work by Tom Staniland who supplied an inch perfect cross to the near post.
Steel boys should be proud of the victory and how they dealt with the occasion as nerves can play a crucial role sometimes. They will benefit from the experience greatly, settle in the game sooner and without doubt come stronger next time.
Tadcaster Albion next week will be a tough nut to crack but with the same application, attitude and character shown today the Steels will also be a tough nut to crack.
Well done boys...
Full Time: Nostell MW U 18s 2 – 5 SPS u 18S