Stocksbridge PS 0 Cleethorpes Town 3
By: Owen Harrison
A Jon Oglesby wonder goal helped Cleethorpes Town claim their third win in five games as the so called Owls outclassed a Stocksbridge Park Steels side who came into the tie at the Look Local Stadium in search for five wins in five games.
Today’s visitors to the Look Local Stadium come into the tie on the back of a crushing defeat to fellow in form outfit Belper Town which ultimately meant that the Owls’ hopes of claiming a spot in the end of season play offs were dashed. Cleethorpes Town still boast good form as of late despite their blowing defeat at home last Saturday. The Owls have won two of their last five games in the league. These victories have both been against league strugglers who are desperately fighting for points in their survival attempts. Carlton Town, who sit 19th in the league and 3 points inside the relegation zone, and 17th placed Wisbech Town, who sit 3 points above the drop zone, were all on the receiving end of the victories for the high flying Owls, who are situated 7th in the league. In their past five outings, Cleethorpes Town, whom are the fourth highest scorers in the league this campaign, have accumulated 7 out of a possible 15 points, which has proven to be an insufficient amount of points to stand a chance of entering the end of season play offs when the season reaches it’s climax in two weeks.
Stocksbridge Park Steels come into the tie on the back of yet another victory. In the Steels’ last outing, they came out victorious against league strugglers AFC Mansfield at the Forest Town Arena on Saturday which saw the Steels move 12 points clear of the relegation zone, entering the run in. They boast a magnificent form coming into tonight’s tie at Bracken Moor with the Steels winning 4 games in a row, with their sights all out focused on making it 5 wins in 5 this evening. The Steels know, however, that they’d have a tough task to thrive further as the side they face under the floodlights are a side who thrashed the Steels 6-2 in the reverse meeting at Linden Club in Lincolnshire back in November.
As the game commenced under Jonathon Bickerdike’s first blow of the whistle, Stocksbridge immediately had their first chance of the game through former Maltby Main striker Danny Frost. After Cleethorpes Town gave away a cheap corner on the right hand side of play, Rory Coleman whipped in an inch perfect set piece which fell perfectly on the head of the Ice Man Danny Frost who sported the number ten blue and yellow strip this evening. Rory Coleman found the goal poacher spare of his marker in the centre of the box and Danny Frost nodded home in anticipation of beating Cleethorpes Town goalkeeper Theo Richardson. But although he beat the Owls’ number one, his goal didn’t find the netting after his downwards header aimed for the bottom right corner clipped the woodwork and came back into play again before being cleared by the Cleethorpes Town defence who were on their toes from the very first blow of the whistle in the encounter at Bracken Moor.
But that Stocksbridge chance was the best they were going to get, especially after the 10th minute mark when the visitors to Bracken Moor started to work through the gears. After good work on the right by Sam Topless, the Cleethorpes Town number three, the full back fired in a fantastic cross angled for the edge of the box which landed perfectly to Tim Lowe who, on the half volley, blazed the opportunity narrowly over the bar to the left of goal.
Minutes later and the visitors started to show their overall dominance over the Steels. Josh Batty, the Cleethorpes Town goal poacher, burst down the right wing and played in a ball across goal to Brody Robertson, fabricating a brilliant opportunity for the Cleethorpes Town number nine. But the Owls attacker failed to make contact with the ball, with the goal at his mercy from 4 yards out. Ultimately, this led to the golden chance for Cleethorpes Town to yield an early lead going to waste, as a result of Robertson’s rare mistake in front of the net. Another chance then followed for the visitors five minutes later. Brody Robertson, this time, sprinted down the right wing and pulled back the ball into the centre of the box to create another splendid opportunity for the hosts. But the chance dissipated as no Cleethorpes Town goal poacher was there in the middle of the box to fire home an early lead that the visitors deserved through their pressing of the Stocksbridge back line.
A sniff of a chance was created on behalf of the Steels after 20 minutes when Alex Wiles sprinted into an area of promise. The Steels number seven linked up well with full back Jordan Lemon on the wing to create an opening for the hosts but another chance went begging as the Steels number two attempted to cross the ball from the right into the centre of the box where Luke Mangham and Danny Frost were ready and waiting for the opportunity that they thought they’d receive, but Lemon’s cross strayed way wide of the initial target of the front two and curved over the bar for a goal kick, failing to trouble the Cleethorpes defenders who were unnerved by the Steels’ showing in the first twenty minutes.
The Steels then tested the goal again, this time through Steels number eleven Luke Mangham. From around 30 yards out, Luke Mangham aimed for the top left corner with his fierce shot after good build up play between the Stocksbridge midfielders. This midfield possession managed to link up perfectly to the former Garforth Town forward Luke Mangham who from 30 yards, fired his shot over the bar to the left of goal, sending Theo Richardson diving to the top left of goal in reassurance that he kept out the mighty attempt.
Cleethorpes Town soon reiterated their domination over the Steels by nearly snatching a deadlock breaker in the 27th minute against the run of play. The Owls’ number 11 Josh Batty burst through on goal down the right wing, leaving the Cleethorpes forward with acres of space for a shot to be registered. But just as Batty took the shot off that looked to be destined for the bottom right corner, Tom Charlesworth, who was one of the changes on the team sheet for tonight’s encounter, put his body on the line to stop the low and powerful shot from the former Hall Road Rangers striker burying into the back of the net. It was incredible defending by the young man!
Another opportunity soon followed. Lewis Collins’ strike from the centre of the box targeted the bottom right corner but Hull City Academy loanee David Robson dived low to get his fingertips to the attempt to divert danger away for a corner that ultimately resulted in nothing for the visitors. The Steels’ net was then pulverised in attempts by the outclassing Cleethorpes Town side. A pulled back ball from the right wing looked to have fallen beautifully for Josh Batty but the Cleethorpes forward accidentally mistimed his shot and the chance went begging until Brody Robertson latched onto the follow up troubling David Robson into making a stop with his legs.
The domination of the Owls proved in a goal for the visitors soon after, however. As Cleethorpes Town number two Tim Lowe dashed down the right wing, he fired in a high cross that found Josh Batty’s head and as he nodded the ball towards goal, his header looped over David Robson’s diving right hand and nestled into the top right corner from 15 yards out, giving the visitors the lead.
The player of the month and Hull City Academy loanee could have gifted Cleethorpes Town a second after the 17 year old goaltender miscued his kick upfield after pressure was mounted on the young goal stopper by the Owls front line. His miscued kick bobbled into the centre of the box where Brody Robertson looked set to execute the golden chance in front of an empty net but as the Cleethorpes Town number nine took his low and powerful shot off, a Stocksbridge defender was in the right place at the right time and slid in to abort the perilous and immediate danger and prevent what looked to be an inevitable second goal for the dominating hosts.
HT-Steels 0-1 Cleethorpes Town
As the teams emerged from the tunnel , ripe from the half time team talk, the Steels knew they would have everything against them if they were to snatch a win against a Cleethorpes Town side who were by far playing some of their best football of the season at Bracken Moor. It proved shortly after the restart, after Brody Robertson did excellent work to run into the box from 25 yards out and take his shot off from the right hand side of the box. His low strike was angled for David Robson’s near post and although the shot by the pacey forward was on target, the Steels no.1 had no trouble parrying the ball away before the Steels aborted danger indefinitely by clearing the ball over the half way line.
Chances were scarce early in the second showing with the best opportunity in the first 15 minutes or so for the Steels falling to Tom Charlesworth who was on the receiving end of a Rory Coleman corner from the left. But the contact was poor and as a result of this, Charlesworth’s header strayed way wide to the left of goal.
In the 68th minute, the visitors doubled their advantage through substitute Jon Oglesby. After Brody Robertson battled sensationally on the left wing to play the ball neatly into the path of the Cleethorpes substitute, Jon Oglesby cut inside of his defender and fired home a wonder goal that David Robson had no chance of saving. With the chance being put away by the Cleethorpes Town number 15 to the roars of the travelling supporters who made the trip up to South Yorkshire this evening, it looked as if the tie was done and dusted with 20 minutes still left to play.
Stocksbridge’s misery didn’t conclude there however. There was more torture to be endured for the hosts for the remaining twenty minutes as their goal was continuously being peppered with shots by the high flying Owls. These include wasted opportunities by Josh Batty and Alex Flett who could have clinched goals of their own if it wasn’t for poor executing in front of goal by the visitors’ forwards.
The game was closed in style by the hosts however after bagging another goal before the final blow of referee Jonathon Bickerdike’s whistle. Cleethorpes Town number three Sam Topless, another key performer for the travellers, chipped a ball over the top of a bemused Steels defence to allow Scott Vernon to run in 1 on 1 with David Robson. The Cleethorpes number 17 took his time in clinically finishing the glorious opportunity into the bottom left hand corner, that was handed to him on a plate by Sam Topless’ moment of brilliance that also earned him an assist after initiating the attack.
Soon afterwards, the referee drew the game to a close to the outcry of bellowing cheers from the travelling fanbase. For Cleethorpes, they have now won three in five games, accumulating 10 out of a possible 15 points in their travels. Although they are now 7 points off their next opponents Sheffield FC who occupy the last play off place, it’ll be a tough ask for the Owls to claim a spot in the end of season lottery especially with 4 games remaining of this current campaign. The Owls dented Stockbridge’s impressive form of 4 wins in 4 games which with today’s result sees the Steels remain in 14th position and still 12 points away from 19th placed Carlton Town which ultimately means that Stocksbridge are now mathematically safe from relegation to the NCEL Premier Division.
FT-Stocksbridge 0-3 Cleethorpes Town