Pickering Town 0 Stocksbridge PS 2
By: Dave Rhodes Photos: Ian Revitt
Another important fixture for Steels as they travel up the A64 to visit Pickering Town and after losing there in the cup earlier in the season Steels will be keen to make amends.
The game started with unfortunate drama for the away side on only 6 minutes as the excellent Ed Hall needed to be stretchered off the pitch after punching an in swinging corner at the front post, landing awkwardly. Scans taken later in the day revealed a dislocated knee and perhaps ligament damage for the in form keeper.
Manager Chris Hilton must have walked under a ladder then run over a black cat with the luck he is having recently but oh my word what a response he got from the reshuffled and fired up Steels side.
Centre Half Liam McFadyen went in goal and immediately needed to face a penalty kick when Colemans challenge in the box was seen to be a foul by the referee on ten minutes. Lewis Taylor stepped up and sent a shot fizzing just the wrong side of the post. McFadyen had it covered anyway, but truth be known was glad to see it go wide.
As the game settled Steels come together, started to gain confidence in their new shape and play the ball around well. A great move down the right saw Alex Wiles tripped as he run in on goal. A clear penalty that Rory Coleman enjoyed as he smashed the ball past the helpless Charlie Andrew.
Pickering replied with a spate of real pressure but Steels held firm and frustrated a shell shocked home outfit, indeed, played the better, more penetrative football.
Just before half time McFadyen was asked a few questions and dealt with them like an experience keeper, one save, high to his right was a save Ed himself would have been proud to make. Steels with the bit between their teeth were not going to be rolled over and showed a terrific resolve to see out an exhilarating first period.
Half Time: Pickering Town 0 – 1 SPS
The home side came out of the traps fast and caused a few anxious moments for Steels forcing a sequence of corners, putting bodies on the line protected McFadyen with a real determination. Swinburn and Litchfield were a threat on the break as the home side pushed men forward leaving holes at the back as they tried to find a way through a solid and resilient Steels.
The hard working Ruthven was unlucky from close range as Steels started to turn the tables and then a super right wing move saw the same player strike a first time ball that came across his body on the edge of the box. He struck it so well that Andrew was beaten to his right side as the ball nestled into the corner.
Two nil to Steels, then Swinburn hit the post after the restart as Steels fought hard to win the ball back, with a right footed drive across Andrew. The home support were becoming worried and concerned now as Steels visibly grew in self belief and conviction.
Fielding was immense at the back as he took responsibility, marshalled the makeshift rear guard and seemed to win all the aerial battles with a man of the match performance. Lemon and Litchfield could have, should have, sealed it for the hard working away side in the last five minutes as they both spurned decent opportunities.
Huge credit goes to all the Steels boys to a man as they provided a monumental performance getting a well deserved three points, but also ensuring that McFadyen had a clean sheet to boast about once Hall returns to action.
Full Time: Pickering Town FC 0 – 2 SPS