Sheffield 2 Stocksbridge PS 1
By: Dave Rhodes
Glad to see the back of a dismal 2018, Steels travelled across the city to visit local rivals and play off hopefuls Sheffield Club with aspirations of replicating and building on their latest winning performance last time out.
On a cold, but rain free day both teams started the game in typical derby day fashion with little penetrative phases of play going forward with large percentages of activity condensed into midfield areas.
Certainly there was nothing to choose between the sides with both teams lacking a real goal threat until Steels found a way through on the half hour mark. It was the busy Alex Wiles who connected with a fierce right footed drive after fine work from Williams that sent the ball across the 18yard line. Wiles fine effort sped past Adam Kelsey the home goalkeepers left hand post giving him no chance.
A deserved lead for Steels who seemed re energised by the goal, with Litchfield firing over shortly after and then Colemans in-swinging corner causing concern in the home penalty box.
But it was Sheffield who responded well forcing two corners successively as the game livened up just before half time. Ed Hall, the away goalkeeper dealt with each threat admirably with punches away then pouncing on a loose second ball as he marshalled the defensive unit with aplomb.
Half Time: Sheffield Club 0 – 1 SPS
In the early stages of the second half Sheffield were already showing more urgency as they pushed men forward forcing numerous corners and free kicks. Steels held out well in this phase of the game and should take confidence from this aspect, with crucial points on offer it was key that Steels stayed organised and strong. Sheffield gained a free kick after McFadyens desperate hand ball 25 yards from goal with Andy Gascoigne firing a well drilled dead ball just past Halls left hand, post was as near as the home side came really.
Credit to the Steels boys as they pressed and harried a worried home team, the first half an hour of the second period developing into, largely, a scrappy affair.
Ruthven broke free on the counter and will be disappointed he didn’t test Kelsey from 15 yards out. Steels threatened spasmodically but really the attacking platform was too deep to effectively develop anything in the last third.
The equaliser didn’t look on the cards as Steels were comfortable but one lack of concentration in central areas of the goal on 83 minutes left Marc Newsome, a second half substitute, with a free header 6 yards out which he converted high to Halls right side. Disappointment as Steels couldn’t stop the cross in the first instance.
With 90 minutes up on the clock and Sheffield pressing men forward Steels left side became exposed, another long accurate cross, from the right wing this time, found Newsham again, this time at the front post, stooping low to squeeze the ball past Hall into the corner of the net with his head.
A major blow for Steels as the new year doesn’t start well in terms of a positive result and with others doing well around them in the league, Steels must find some solace from somewhere.
Full Time: Sheffield Club 2 – 1 SPS