Cleethorpes 6 Stocksbridge PS 2
By: Dave Rhodes
Steels arrived at lowly Cleethorpes Town knowing that the fixture was a real six pointer and that a real solid performance would be needed, certainly Steels soft centre should not raise its ugly head today as it has over recent performances. Again Manager Chris Hilton had to juggle his already depleted squad as injuries takes its toll.
For Steels supporters it would have been expected that the team should keep it tight for the first twenty, see what the oppositions got to offer, be hard to break down, be tenacious, win tackles, be in the game...Sadly all the best laid plans come apart when the basic requirements of football are not met, 2-0 down after twenty minutes due to second balls not being won, reactions and anticipations too slow. Both goals from dead ball play were gifts under the circumstances.
Steels did rally a little and played some bright penetrative football mainly due to Williams but didn’t really test the home goalkeeper to any degree and perhaps should have done with half chances being created.
Steels were back in the game after 30minutes when Litchfields persistence was rewarded, winning the first heading dual 25 yards from goal, and picking up the loose ball, he slammed home a nice left footed shot from 10 yards out central to goal. A lift for the Steels team, and at this point deservedly so, but it was on the home sides next venture forward that Steels found themselves, frustratingly, 3 – 1 down. A volleyed effort from 20 yards that seemed to go straight through the surprised Amissah.
Cleethorpes side became confident, were threatening and authoritative as half time approached as Steels tried hard to pull a goal back on the counter. Certainly the next goal would be key to which way the game was going to go. Unfortunately for the Steels it went the home sides way on 43 minutes, a real killer blow, as the lively Daniel North was allowed to freely progress into a shooting position on the left cutting onto his right foot and sending a curling shot in off Amissahs left hand post. Too easy for the home side, really poor work from the away side...4 – 1 down as the half time whistle went.
5 – 1 down after 55 minutes the game was becoming an embarrassment for Steels supporters. It was too easy for Alex Flett the Cleethorpes captain to come onto a left wing pass, taking three touches before firing in a side footed shot easily past Amissah. The shot was well placed from 18 yards out but without power so credit the player, but again disappointing SPS defending 30 yards from goal.
On the hour SPS looked gone, were out of it with too much of a mountain to climb, it seemed that everything Cleethorpes had hit had gone in but the home side had taken the reins, the initiative and thrived on the goals scored as confidence levels rose.
Litchfields second goal was a calm finish in the box as he slotted the ball wide of Dylan Parkin with an angled effort from 10 yards. Again he had skilfully manufactured the chance himself, hopefully his goals will now give him much needed confidence.
The goal hadn’t affected Cleethorpes approach to the game as a disjointed SPS went through the motions, huffed and puffed and seemed to let the opposition exploit spaces on the pitch with ease. The deflated Steels boys conceded a corner late in the game, swung in from the right gave Cleethorpes inexcusably a free header in the six yard box. Amissah parried out but the ball fell to a Cleethorpes forward to tap in from close range.
Players will know, and must take responsibility, take on board both the poor performance and the result as just not good enough.
Full Time: Cleethorpes Town 6 – 2 SPS
Next up its Spalding United on Saturday with a 3pm kick off.