Stocksbridge PS 0 Belper Town 2
By Dave Rhodes. Photos: Ian Revitt & Chris Clancy
A changed line up for Steels was inevitable after the loss at Brighouse and coupled with injuries, suspensions and players unavailability manager Chris Hilton had little option.
The heavy rain on the Friday gave the excellent Bracken Moor pitch a slick surface to play on as both teams strived to take the initiative early on in the game.
It was a generally a scrappy affair with both teams cancelling each other out, but bright play down the right from Steels involving Rhodes, Wiles and Coleman forced corners. It was no surprise when again good play down the right gave Swinburn an opportunity to shoot, his shot struck the hand of a defender and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
After discussion with Ruthven, Coleman eventually took the penalty, his shot lacked confidence and power and was saved by the away keeper.
Belper began to press forward and wherever possible threw long throws into the box for their big , physical players to come onto. The tactic worked to a degree when a free kick was whpped in, Amissah came out and fisted the ball clear but the second ball came straight back at him and it was Paylor who spun from 10 yards out, central to goal, to volley over the stranded Amissah.
Wiles found himself with the ball at his feet six yards from goal but shot tamely at the goalkeeper as Steels tried to get back into the game, but lacked creativity in midfield really, banking on long high balls from defence to attack.
HT: 1 – 1
The second half got under way and again a scrappy affair ensued with no team looking likely to score. Belper were not sure to stick or twist with a goal to preserve and Steels just struggled to get bodies into the last third to support open play and balls going into the box.
On 62 minutes Belper made it 2 – 0 when a whipped in free kick wide on the right was glanced home from 12 yards.
Steels huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way back until the last 5 minutes when a free Kick and corner sent in caused panic but to no avail as Ruthven and Litchfield failed to connect properly.
“We can work it out” will be the calling card for the manager as he plots an important transition period for Steels.
Full Time: SPS 0 – 2 Belper Town