Brighouse Town 1 Stocksbridge PS 0
By: Dave Rhodes
If points were accumulated through spirit, determination and character then Steels would be up there with the top six teams in the league, unfortunately, as we all know you generally need a little more than that to succeed in football. The boys who made the trip into the windy depths of Calderdale on Monday night can feel hard done too as they worked exceptionally hard for the cause but crucial refereeing decisions at critical stages of the game just didn’t go their way.
The Brighouse Flags were blowing in the wind as both teams took to the field on a cold Autumn evening. The pitch wasn’t the best with a slight slope from goal to goal but the surface, was at least excellent.
As if learned from experience it was Brighouse who kicked downhill first...You got the feeling that a “route one” game was to unfold as so it proved with the home side really setting a high tempo, sending long balls into the box and pressing high up the pitch. Steels were under pressure from the off and the makeshift back line took time to settle and come to terms with a strong wind in their faces, direct, fast, forceful football from the top four side.
Steels had weathered the storm well and looked dangerous on the counter with Ruthven spinning on a loose ball in the box, his well hit shot saved comfortably by Porter.
The busy home side forced a sequence of corners that led to nothing really but on 30 minutes the pressure took its toll as a close range shot was parried by the diving Greaves only to see the ball run loose, and there was Ousman Cham to prod the ball into an empty net. At this point a deserved reward for the home side but Steels competed and came more into the game as both Coleman and again Ruthven went close.
Half Time Brighouse Town 1 - 0 SPS
Going in at Half time only one goal down was an incentive as Steels made inroads forward in the second period of the game with the wind at their backs.
It was a different story as the Brighouse back four was tested, was shaky at times with Williams and Ruthven through on goal but failing to connect properly.
The game was scrappy now and became stretched as the Brighouse side seemed to tire a little as Steels pushed for an equaliser. The home side nearly went further in front though on 70 minutes but an agile Greaves diving high to his left provided a strong hand to parry the ball over the bar. Then Ruthven looked a certainty to score, he was under pressure from advancing defenders but managed to get through on goal 8 yards out with only the goalkeeper in front of him shooting past the outstretched hand of Porter, the ball just edging past the far post.
A clear body check in the box on Moxam was not given. The Brighouse team now starting to sense an equaliser was coming took advantage of inadequate officials by managing the game themselves. Substitutions were made, slowly, players feigning injury and general slow timing was a frustration for the away team.
On second half chances Steels should have come away with something but it wasn’t to be today. Manager Chris Hilton will be disappointed he didn’t pick up a least a point with a depleted squad on offer. He should take the positives and go again on Saturday against Belper Town with a 3 o clock kick off.
Full Time Brighouse Town 1 – 0 SPS