TEN MAN STEELS LOSE OUT IN OPENER

 

Stocksbridge PS 2  Stamford AFC 4

 

Report: Dave Rhodes   Photo: Chris Clancy

 

The football season arrived with a real bang today at the Look Local Stadium with Manager Chris Hilton and his troops looking to build on an excellent pre season program. Warm sunshine welcomed the players onto the pitch and substantial local support provided a good atmosphere.

 

It was unfortunate that the influential Todd Jordan had to pull out during the warm ups with a groin strain, the late change meaning Jack Poulton coming in at left back.

 

What a start by Steels, Wiles passed back from the kick off starting a move that opened up the Stamford right side with ease, Tyler Williams trickery wide on the left, a joy to watch as he sped past Taron Hare the Stamford right back, Williams, getting to the by line pulled it back,  picking out the onrushing Scott Ruthven at the front post who had timed his run expertly, to calmly slot the ball home right footed.

 

Stamfords first touch of the ball was the re start the game but it wasn’t long for the visiting supporters to wait before they were back on level terms. Good play down the Steels left side saw Stan Mugisha score at the near post after the ball was pulled back . 1 – 1 with only 3 minutes gone.

 

A competitive encounter ensued and it was largely nip and tuck with no team settling on the ball enough to take control  of the game.

 

Williams again was the crowd pleaser and instrumental in creating opportunities as he led Hare a merry dance down the left.

 

Another enforced change for Steels as Poulton had to come off after 30 minutes due to injury with Swinburn coming on and Rhodes taking up an unfamiliar role at left back.

 

With the season only half an hour old things went from bad to worse for the ill-fated, spirited Steels side.

 

It was the outstanding Williams who had mis-controlled on the half way line and in chasing down the loose ball mistimed his challenge on Cleveland Taylor the Stamford captain. The referee saw it as a straight red and this was perhaps the right call. Hare, the Stamford right back would have been mightily pleased to see Steels number eleven trudging dejectedly towards the changing rooms. Certainly a game changer, 10 man Steels were up against it now and Stamford took full advantage as they pressed forward with Rhodes heading off the line from another Stamford corner.

 

Half Time 1-1

 

Steels were knocked back on 55 minutes where a neat passage of play gave Fortnam – Tomlinson down the inside left channel, a chance that he took well, volleying home from 12 yards out giving Greaves no chance as the ball hit the net high to his right. 2-1 down turned swiftly to 3-1 when a right wing corner was headed into the top corner of the net by Jordan Cooke, with the Steels defence rooted.

 

Luke Mangham off Aaron Moxam on for Steels after 75 min.

 

It was no surprise when Steels were caught trying to push forward on the counter and on 80min a long ball into the path of Stan Mugisha inside the area was dispatched with a plomb sliding the ball under the onrushing Greaves and into an open net.

 

4 -1 down, Whitham on for Ruthven gave fresh legs up top as Steels pressed forward with real intent and deservedly scored with Moxam driving home the rebound after Whitham had tested the away goalkeeper from 7 yards.

 

With the home crowd witnessing 6 goals, a sending off, bookings and full on non league competition you would think there would be no more action as the Stamford team looked to see out the game. Yes, you’ve guessed it, to top it all off a penalty was awarded to Stamford after Greaves had pulled down Brownhill on the edge of the box on 89mins. Greaves redeemed himself with a good save down to his right.

 

All in all an eventful day at the office for the Steels boys, certainly didn’t give up and if truth be known did play some good football with ten men but sadly it was a bridge too far as they say with Stamford looking strong and organised.

 

Next outing for Steels is an away trip to Gresley on Tuesday then Bamber Bridge at home on Saturday in the FA cup.

 

Full Time:      SPS   2 – 4    AFC Stamford

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