Stocksbridge PS 0 Tadcaster Albion 3
By: Owen Harrison
An Aiden Savory brace and a freak own goal helped Tadcaster Albion inflict a 3rd defeat in 5 games on the Steels as pressure mounts on a Stocksbridge side who now sit just one point above second from bottom outfit Pickering Town in the Evo-Stik East Division.
Today’s visitors came into the tie at the Look Local Stadium on the back of consecutive wins against midtable Loughborough Dynamo away from home and Marske United on home soil last week. Simon Collins’ side are well and truly back in the play off chase coming into the all important run-in starting later this month and with three of their upcoming five games against teams from the bottom six, the side from West Yorkshire should be targeting the end of season lottery as a bare minimum.
The Taddy’s sit comfortably in 5th position, 3 points off Pontefract Collieries who they face later this month on home turf. With a run of form of 3 wins in five matches, it was going to be another difficult afternoon for the Steels at Bracken Moor, who came into the tie sitting 3 points above the danger zone with a tally of 26 points totalled up this campaign. Their last outing was against second in the table Brighouse Town, and the Steels’ battling performance earned them a valuable 3 points in their relegation battle.
The Steels have totalled up 7 out of a possible 15 points since the 12th of January, which is one of the best run of forms in the bottom six. They were hoping to make it 10 out of 18 this afternoon, but it was going to be a tricky test, especially when Tadcaster boasted the fact that they have chalked up nine away victories this campaign, the most out of all the 20 competing teams in the Evo-Stik East Division.
But it was the hosts who started off more impressively. The first glimmer of goal fell to Brody Litchfield as his shot from the left hand side of the box was tamely hit into the advertising boards, causing the Tadcaster Albion goalkeeper Michael Ingham little to no trouble. Reece Fielding was one of the stand out players for the Steels this afternoon, and he was called into action shortly after the five minute mark, making two crucial and crunching challenges to avoid a dangerous situation from ensuing. Another chance fell to Stocksbridge minutes later, as Steels number nine, Brody Litchfield, again impressed by playing a ball over the top of a bemused Tadcaster Albion defense, but the receiver of the cross, James Morris, was flagged offside.
The referee had a big part to play in this tie at Bracken Moor, all beginning when Luke Porritt went down on the edge of the box after the Tadcaster forward and Steels defender Jordan Lemon went shoulder to shoulder in a race to get to the ball. The referee’s whistle ignited a massive outcry from the Steels’ starting 11 and managerial staff who all claimed that Jordan Lemon’s challenge was soft and not worthy of a free kick to the opposition. The resulting free kick came to nothing.
12 minutes gone and the match began to level out. Mitchell Langton’s free kick from just over the half way line curled into the box creating a promising situation, however, Stocksbridge couldn’t get the final touch to what was another wasted opportunity from the hosts. Brody Litchfield had some excellent spells in the game, in particular, when he troubled Michael Ingham from outside of the box after good work from the winger to avoid several challenges from the Albion defense. This led to Litchfield firing the shot at goal, his strike was low and was saved relatively comfortable by Ingham. The referee soon became a talking point again amongst the watching supporters as he booked Rory Coleman after taking down Luke Porritt. This again ignited another outcry from the Steels’ who claimed again that the Albion number 11 went down under the challenge too softly.
The most promising moment of the first half an hour for Tadcaster was when a free kick was sent into the box from the left hand side, although it looked to be going wide to the right of the goal, Adam Kelsey punched it out into the centre of the box where two Tadcaster players were ready to pounce on the glorious opportunity that was at their mercy but a scramble in the box meant that Tadcaster failed to punish on a Steels mistake. Another promising opportunity for an Albion goal fell to the unlikeliest of players, Steels’ very own Jordan Lemon who nearly poked into his own net after attempting to clear a stray cross from the right hand side of the field, but it narrowly misses the goal, and the ball was sent out for a visitors corner. Following this, the referee had a word with Jordan Lemon and captain Liam Mcfadyen over what seemed to be a constant abuse of the referee’s in game decisions. In all honesty, they had a right to appeal as several of these incidents had gone against the Steels when it should have been via versa.
The best chance of the game however fell to Brody Litchfield after a through ball from midfield sent him through on goal 1 on 1 with keeper Michael Ingham but his fingertip save sent the ball out for a corner.
A half hour gone and the game didn’t swing in any team’s favour. Aiden Savory had an opportunity after good work from the Albion midfielders to set the striker up. His shot was angled for the top right of the goal but Adam Kelsey saved without having to go through too much trouble. Reece Fielding changed into the number 19 strip after what looked to be blood was sprayed across his previously worn number 6 shirt.
But the moment where Steels’ battling efforts were awarded nothing was in the 41st minute when a through ball from former Steels player Joe Lumsden found Aiden Savory who slotted the ball beyond helpless Adam Kelsey. On the stroke of half time, the ex Stocksbridge player could have bagged his own goal, after Peter Davidson, a key player in the Tadcaster Albion set up, played an inch perfect ball into lethal striker Lumsden but Kelsey made a great block to prevent the score line margin becoming any bigger.
HT: Stocksbridge 0-1 Tadcaster Albion
In the second half, Tadcaster proved their dominance over the struggling Steels. Although Scott Ruthven and Brody Litchfield were enforcing the Taddy’s defence into playing long balls, this wasn’t enough to stop the visitors from peppering the Steels goal with more shots. After good work again by Peter Davidson, he created an opportunity for Albion after swinging in a high cross, but it failed to meet a Tadcaster head. But pushing and shoving from the Steels defence took down a Tadcaster attacker in the making of this chance, which ignited shouts of a penalty from all areas of the stadium, from the pitch to the dugout to the stands, but the referee waved it away. The visitors thought they had their second moments after, as Eliis Barkworth’s cross was met by the first goal scorer Aiden Savory on the far post. His header beat Adam Kelsey and nestled into the bottom right but the linesman had his flag up and the goal was ruled out.
Another golden chance to put the final nail in the coffin for Tadcaster was when a defensive mix up between Adam Kelsey and Reece Fielding occurred. Adam Kelsey accidentally sliced the ball 15 yards out to the unsuspecting Reece Fielding who couldn’t get control of the pass, dropping to ex Steels forward Lumsden but Kelsey got down low to keep out a goal that would have been as a result of his mistake. Following this, Luke Mangham could have turned the game on its head after doing well to beat two defender but he shot wide to the left of the goal in a promising position too.
The final nail in the coffin followed in the 78th minute after a freak own goal that saw a free kick from the visitors hit a Steels defender and rolled across the goal line, doubling the visitors lead. Adam Kelsey was left bemused by the whole situation as he could do virtually nothing about the situation after being fouled by an Albion player. Everyone at Bracken Moor was expecting the referee to blow his whistle for a foul but the goal stood which proved to be the big blow.
Another poor refereeing decision that ignited back lash from Steels manager Chris Hilton was when Jordan Lemon took down Casey Stewart on the edge of the box, however, the referee saw it differently and pointed to the spot. After the Steels heavily appealed his decision, the referee consulted the linesman and after length discussions, the referee gave a free kick instead to Albion. The resulting free kick from Paddy Miller was thundered against the wood work. As the game drew to a close, very little chances remained for either side. The best chance of the second half for the Steels fell to Danny Frost as he struck towards goal but Chris Howarth was on the line to stop the former Maltby Main striker from pulling back a consolation goal.
But one minute later and down at the other end, Tadcaster scored another one after Casey Stewart layed the ball off perfectly to Aiden Savory who’s powerful shot took a deflection off a Steels defender’s head and beat Kelsey for the 3rd time this afternoon. And with that late goal, the referee blew the full time whistle.
Overall, this must be a bitter pill to swallow for Stocksbridge who looked impressive in the first showing. In the second half they barely threatened which could have been a part of their down fall this afternoon. Players such as Brody Litchfield and Reece Fielding both made great contributions to the game by linking up well with attackers and midfielder to create openings for goals that the home side just couldn’t bury. For high fliers Tadcaster, they now have a run of 3 straight home games, two against teams from the bottom six. Taking in account their fixture list, Tadcaster are surely contenders for the play offs after putting out a statement this afternoon. They are now just two points behind Sheffield FC, who lost to Wisbech Town this afternoon. For the strugglers, a trip to Belper Town awaits next Saturday in a re-arranged game from January. They’ll go to Derbyshire sitting just 1 point above the drop zone, a perilous situation to be in as they approach the run-in.
FT: Stocksbridge 0-3 Tadcaster Albion