First Team vs. Belper Town (1 : 1)

Monday, 26 December, 2016 - 15:00
Evo-Stik League First Division South

Sheffield’s unbeaten run goes on and extended to 14 matches, writes Bill Towning, after a tough game at Belper Town. Club fell behind in the 2nd minute, Phil Watt scoring for the home side and although Sheffield had the majority of the play and good possession during the game it wasn’t until the 90th minute before the equaliser came; Ross Goodwin the scorer. Sheffield’s delight at securing the point was tempered by a bad injury to Sam Finlaw who is facing a spell on the side-lines after breaking his ankle towards the end of the first half. 

Sheffield went behind in the second minute; having conceded a corner Chris Butt saved the first goal-bound effort from the set-piece, but couldn’t prevent Phil Watt stabbing the ball home from close range. Sheffield at least reacted well to the early set back and had the lion’s share of the possession for the remainder of the first half. Debutant Danny South had the first of Sheffield’s efforts on goal, a header comfortably claimed by Belper ‘keeper Scott Low. Sam Finlaw was, as usual influential in setting up Sheffield’s attacks, a super ball from him finding Matt Roney who had a shot saved. Good work from Adam Johnson and Kieran Watson set up Pat Lindley who had a fierce shot blocked as Club looked to get the equaliser their positive play deserved. South had another header saved, and Belper had a glorious chance when Alex Steadman ran from his own penalty area to take a good shot which Butt did well to save with his legs. Finlaw took an awkward fall towards the end of the half resulting in him being stretchered off the field with a suspected broken ankle. 

Pat Lindley had taken a knock in the first half and was replaced during the interval by Hafeez Hamzat. The Sheffield back line and midfield had to be reshuffled as a result of the two injuries with Jason Foster taking a more advanced role and Hamzat taking a position at right back. Gregory set up Watson and his shot was diverted for a corner from which Lee Cooksey headed over the bar and South brought a terrific save from Low with another good header from Roney’s well taken free-kick. On 66 minutes, Connor Brunt was introduced for his debut, with Watson making way. From a Belper corner the ball was cleared to Johnson but he couldn’t quite bring it under control on the tricky surface and the danger was cleared. Gregory and Brunt set up Johnson who had a good shot deflected wide; from another free-kick Gregory just couldn’t force the ball home at the near post. In the dying minutes Foster forced Low into a good save with a well-directed free-kick and from the resulting corner the ball fell to Ross Goodwin who forced it home giving Sheffield their deserved equaliser. From the re-start Belper had the ball in the net but the effort was ruled out by an off-side decision. 

Manager James Colliver was delighted with the team’s performance: “As a collective this team never knows when it’s beaten. We’ve had two injuries in the first half – a bad injury to Sam Finlaw who has been outstanding during this unbeaten run, and to Pat Lindley – those two have been as good as any midfield pairing in the division – so to lose those two at half-time – we’ve had to look at the squad and reshuffle with Hafeez coming on and playing right back. Ross Goodwin’s attitude has been tremendous recently and if there was anyone I’d want to come on and score to get the equaliser it was Ross. It was a phenomenal effort all round.”

Belper Town: Low, Allen, Guy, Graves, Palmer, Watt (Freeman), Richards (Garnett), Armstrong (Goddard), Wiggins-Thomas, Williams, Steadman. Subs Not Used: Dennis, Palmer

Sheffield FC: Butt, Foster, Rose, Lindley (Hamzat), Cooksey, South, Roney, Finlaw (Goodwin), Johnson, Watson (Brunt), Gregory. Subs Not Used: Magee, Cusworth

Attendance: 
402

Man of the Match: 
Danny South

Players

Squad Player Goals
Lee Cooksey © more
Matt Roney more
James Gregory more
Pat Lindley
45
more
Sam Finlaw
42
more
Chris Butt more
Adam Johnson more
Jason Foster more
Danny South more
Kieran Watson
57
more
Tom Rose more
Substitutes
Squad Player Goals
Ross Goodwin
42
O more
Hafeez Hamzat
45
more
Connor Brunt
57
more