Stocksbridge PS 1 Spalding United 1
By: Dave Rhodes Photos: Ian Revitt
Home debuts for Ed Hall and Jordan Lemon as Manager Chris Hilton shuffles his pack after the heavy defeat last week against Cleethorpes. Hall, the current number one for Yorkshire International and Lemon signed from Matlock Town will be looking for an immediate impact. Todays visitors to the Look Local Stadium are Spalding United who, like Steels, find themselves fighting for points at the wrong end of the table.
Both teams struggled to find any meaningful rhythm and passages of play during an even first ten minutes or so as defences were clearly on top. But Steels started to force their way into the game with some bright counter attacking play as Williams, Litchfield (pictured) and Ruthven all tested the away keeper Michael Duggan with shots on goal, Ruthvens effort was cleared off the line by a Spalding defender and then McFadyens free header from a Litchfield corner 10 yards out was agonisingly close to the opener.
Steels were dominant now and should have been one up when Wiles fired on goal only for his effort to be cleared off the line too. Good play from Steels as Litchfield broke free in the box, his trickery leading to a clear penalty as he was tripped by Marshal.
Ruthven stepped up and shot hard to Duggans right where the height was just right for the keeper and although he had anticipated the shot well Ruthven will be disappointed he didn’t score.
Better from Steels as the away side was limited to only a few flurries forward offering very little in terms of effective attacking play.
As half time approached the Steels boys will again reflect on missed opportunities but would be buoyed by a much improved performance so far.
Half Time: SPS 0 – 0 Spalding United
Ed Hall showed real class in his distribution with accurate long range passes to both Litchfield and Williams early on as Steels tried to keep up the positive momentum gained in the first half but it was Spalding who had reacted best in the opening 10 minutes of the second period. Leon Mettams free kick and snap shot were fired straight at Hall as the away side pressed forward with more intent.
Good play by Williams and Litchfield gave Ruthven a terrific chance to open the scoring but he side footed straight at Duggan from 10 yards with only the keeper to beat. Litchfield then fired over the bar with a left footed drive. The game was opening up with both teams playing well. A terrific 25 yard volley from Scott Floyd was tipped onto the bar by Hall and then at the other end Duggans failure to collect a long straight ball into the box found Fielding winning the dual only for his brave header to loop over Duggan creeping the wrong side of the post.
On 78 minutes Steels deservedly went ahead through Litchfield. Williams headed the ball into the path of the in form striker who had lost his markers in the Spalding last third, he calmly slotted the ball right footed over the advancing Duggan into the net.
With Steels looking comfortable they seemed well on course for the three points but Spalding found energy and drive in the last five minutes causing a few nervy moments for the Steels defence. It was a whipped in left footed corner that unlocked the Steels rear guard as Conor Marshal lost his marker 3 yards out and latched onto the ball, firing in at the far post giving Hall no chance.
It was a cruel blow for the home side as Spalding will no doubt travel back down the A1 feeling a tad lucky to have a point under their belts.
Positive signs for Steels.
Full Time: SPS 1 – 1 Spalding United
Next up its Gresley FC on Saturday 15th December with a 3pm kick off.