Stocksbridge PS 2 Frickley Athletic 0
By: Dave Rhodes
A Boxing day fixture against a mid table Frickley Athletic saw Samuel Fox make his debut for Steels after many months on the side lines. Certainly, Sam brought a smile to peoples faces as he mixed with the sizeable crowd before kick off. The Foxy mascot came out with the teams prior to what was to be a vital Christmas encounter for the struggling home squad.
It proved to be a bright start for Steels as Litchfield hit the post more or less on the first attack as he calmly side footed an effort through a crowded box. Again fortune was not with the home side, but it didn’t weaken Steels resolve as they continued to press and play and deservedly went in front on 11 minutes. A lofted ball into the box from Williams was brought down expertly by Ruthven in the six yard box, one touch, turn and strike was enough to squeeze the ball past a surprised Hugh Warhurst the FrIckley keeper.
The goal seemed to trigger the away side into action as they forced a sequence of corners and free kicks but Ed Hall, Steels goalkeeper always had things under control making the right decisions at the right times and dealing with a flurry of Frickley offensives with a high degree of competence.
With Todd Jordan and Liam McFadyen influential in midfield and defence respectively, Steels were able to see off the away teams spirited responses and hold onto the slender lead as half time approached.
Half Time: SPS 1 – 0 Frickley Athletic
With the away side coming out of the traps with more intent and purpose Steels needed to defend well and close ranks a little which they did, repelling numerous forages forward with determination.
As the game settled Steels became more of a threat with the hard working Ruthven and the lively Litchfield a thorn in the side of a resolute Frickley outfit.
The game was nip and tuck and with the next goal crucial, both teams seemed to cancel each other out, Steels, between a rock and a hard place at one nil, were comfortable in their midfield and defensive endeavours as the game progressed.
A hand ball on the edge of the area on 73 minutes gave Rory Coleman an opportunity to fire in a free kick which deflected off the wall for a corner. The resulting corner, swung into the six yard box left footed by the same player, was met at the near post by a crowded huddle of players competing for the ball. The ball was firmly met and headed into the corner of the net from close range, who by was debatable, with an own goal emerging as the likely scorer.
A relief for Steels certainly, but hoping to relax was not a feasible option as Frickley pressed men forward, Steels stemmed the flow and weathered the inevitable storm as they hit the last ten minutes.
Managing the game out well Steels deserved a vital three point return and now look forward, with optimism, to the short trip across the city for a New Years day fixture at Sheffield Club.
Full Time: SPS 2 –0 Frickley Athletic
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