Nostell Miners Welfare 1 Stocksbridge PS 1
by James Grayson www.nonleagueyorkshire.com
Nostell Miners Welfare showed that they are no pushovers after an excellent performance in the 1-1 draw with Evo Stik outfit Stocksbridge Park Steels at Crofton Community Centre.Joe Thornton scored the first half opener for Nostell and even hit the post as well before Scott Ruthven equalised for Chris Hilton’s Stocksbridge at the start of the second half.
Young striker Kai Hancock should have won it for Nostell at the death after being presented with acres of space in the Stocksbridge penalty area.
Nostell were impressive right across the pitch – solid in defence, class in midfield with Lee Swift and Adam Hayton in there, and scintillating in attack.
Perhaps the pleasing aspect of the performance was the fact they were organised at the back. Nostell did not have the best of nights at Pontefract Collieries in midweek and Thursday night’s training session was dedicated to defensive work.
Apart from Danny Critchlow and Lewis Akeister (groin injury), all of Nostell’s stellar signings were on show. Joint manager Simon Houghton was also in dugout after overcoming transport problems to make the game.
Stocksbridge fielded their marquee signing Aaron Moxam and Hilton will have been happy with how his side played as it was technically their first proper test of the summer.
After sluggish first 20 minutes, chances began to flow. Young Liam Owen went close for Nostell, while Tyler Williams should have been done better with an opportunity for the Steels.
That was before the brilliant Hayton provided the killer pass to send Thornton through to score the opener.
The former Shaw Lane AFC star then struck the post after the interval.
It proved to be a pivotal moment for Stocksbridge as they went down the other end and Ruthven bagged himself the equaliser.
The game became disjointed then as the inevitable mass changes were made. The introduction of the sun-tanned Hancock added energy to Nostell and they were the most likely to score in the closing stages.
The best chance came with five minutes to go when a free-flowing move opened up Stocksbridge’s defence. The ball was threaded to Hancock who was bearing down on Steels goalkeeper Jordan Greaves. The former Athersley striker pulled the trigger, but failed to hit the target.