First Team vs. Cleethorpes Town (4 : 0)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield FC finally broke their away duck on Saturday, writes Stuart James, and in the process kept their first clean sheet of the season, whilst ending Cleethorpes Town’s proud unbeaten home record with a surprisingly comfortable 4-0 victory at the Bradley Community Stadium.
This was a game that really shouldn’t have been played, as referee Kieron Salmons made a brave gamble on passing the surface playable, with the pitch resembling grass covered concrete in places and the visitors reluctantly starting under duress.
After a goal-less first half Club ran riot, with two goals from Andrew Gascoigne and Ben Algar adding another, whilst Rob Worrall wrapped up an impressive debut with the fourth.
With the surface causing the expected problems underfoot, both sides struggled to keep footing and string any real cohesive football, but it was Sheffield who were the first to get to grips.
Sam Finlaw started a good move from just inside the Owls’ half, playing into Tyler Williams before receiving the return ball, sending his effort inches over the bar.
Skipper Andrew Gascoigne was proving a handful on his return from injury, playing out of position in a solo attacking role, and went close with the game’s first real meaningful chance.
Keeper Richard Walton had a rush of blood to the head racing off the line to swing and miss at the ball, with Gascoigne’s effort toward the empty net hitting the side netting, whilst Ben Algar and Alex Brown combined to set Gascoigne up with an effort that was blocked by Walton’s feet.
In the last few moments of the half Cleethorpes finally had some efforts of their own as the came back into the game, with Peter Winn taking advantage of a hesitant defence to set Andrew Taylor with a wasted chance, and Winn sending a dangerous free-kick wide with Adam Drury blasting one over from distance.
The second half commenced with the pitch still crusty underfoot, and with temperatures dropping, conditions were getting even more difficult.
Nevertheless, Sheffield soldiered on, and Sam Finlaw nearly opened scoring, curling a decent effort just off target.
The deadlock was broken on 56 minutes, Tyler Williams brought the ball in from the far right, with GASCOIGNE chopping inside to place the ball inside the post.
Five minutes later and it was 2-0 to the away side, Ben Algar’s throw picked out Gascoigne - and following a neat one-two with Rob Worrall – GASCOIGNE once again calmly placed the ball into the corner.
After conceding the goals Cleethorpes simply capitulated, and it was difficult to see who was the play-off chasing team, with the supposed relegation haunted side running circles around the hosts.
The third goal on 68 minutes was outstanding, as Ben Algar took a throw on the left toward Alex Brown, receiving the return to race past a whole host of defenders across the face of the goal before ALGAR whipped a shot around Walton.
It became 4-0 just two minutes after, Sheffield’s midfield press forcing the Cleethorpes defence into a clumsy mistake, WORRALL capping a wonderful display to coolly tap the ball beyond the keeper.
It should have been five as Sheffield continued to try and rub salt into the wounds, however with the opportunity to slam the ball home, Cecil Nyoni hooked the ball wildly out of the ground.
Cleethorpes Town: Walton, Lowe, Winn, Dickens, Bloomer, Gray, Davey, Flett, Taylor, Robertson, Oglesby. Subs: McKay, Davis, Donald.
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Algar, Nyoni, Lawrence, Chapman, Worrall, Finlaw, Gascoigne, Gregory, Williams. Subs: Adams, Harrison, Yates, Francis, Brown.
|Andrew Gascoigne ©||