First Team vs. Frickley Athletic (3 : 2)
Evo-Stik League East Division
Sheffield FC bounced back from the weekend disappointment on Tuesday evening, writes Stuart James, as they ran out 3-2 victors at local rivals Frickley Athletic.
All the goals came inside the final 15 minutes of the first half, in a frantic game that was dominated buy some blustery conditions, which made defending particularly difficult playing up the slope.
In the first half it was the visitors who had the advantage of both the wind at their backs and playing downhill taking the opportunity to attack with an early onslaught, with Frickley starting with some suicidal defending that was nearly capitalised on by James Gregory, who fed Mitchell Dunne with a chance that ended with the striker hitting a tame shot at the keeper.
The home side also had chances once they had finally broken free of the teeth of the wind, and Stuart Ludlam had to be at his best to divert a very dangerous cross whipped into the middle by Bradley Mears, into the safe hands of Jonathan Hedge.
Sheffield’s pacey forwards were causing all manner of problems for the hosts, as James Gregory gave Jamie McGuire a very rough ride down the left flank, with the winger once again setting up Mitchell Dunne with another opportunity that was just wide.
Dunne went close moments later with a curled effort that was only inches off the target, with his shot scraping the top of the crossbar.
On 30 minutes Sheffield finally broke the deadlock after yet more nervy defending from Frickley, with a cross from Rob Darkin being feebly punched clear by ex-Club keeper Hugo Warhurst, allowing Mark Newsham the easiest of finishes from close range.
It looked as if the floodgates were about to open, as Dunne chopped back from the byline to square the ball across the goal, allowing Johnny Pugh to rise up to nod home a rare headed goal and make it 2-0.
Unfortunately that second goal seemed to switch Sheffield’s concentration off somewhat, and within seconds Frickley had narrowed the deficit when Jack Burton fed the ball through the middle allowing Tyler Walton to have time and space, being composed enough to take the ball around keeper Jonathan Hedge and place that into the net.
Sheffield brought the gap back to two goals once again, Andrew Gascoigne feeding to James Gregory, who lay the ball on a plate to Dunne who slammed home.
It should have been four, if not for a world-class save from Warhurst after Johnny Pugh hit a venomous shot from distance, and the youngster making an acrobatic fingertip stop to push the ball over the crossbar.
In the last seconds of the half the hosts grabbed a lifeline, with some hesitant defending allowing skipper Jacob Hazel to steer the ball into the net with a shot over his shoulder.
It was obvious that the second half would continue in the opposite direction for Sheffield, with the home side using the conditions to give Club a torrid time with an expected backs to the wall performance.
There were plenty of raids on the visiting goal, but for all the huffing and puffing, Athletic could not breach a very solid visiting defence and not making a real chance of notes.
Club did have a few chances to make the game safe, with Dunne and substitute Ehsen Mohammed both having chances to calm the jitters once and for all, however they weren’t able to convert at the vital time and despite the 6 minutes of added time Club were able to ride out the storm and head home with a very valuable 3 points.
Frickley Athletic: Warhurst, Watt, Algar, McGuire, Ible, Rowe, Mears, Williams, Walton, Burton, Hazel ©. Subs: Patterson, Szanto, Smith, Bloor, Stancliffe.
Sheffield FC: Hedge, Grayson, Darkin, Smiljanić, Ludlam, Chapman ©, Pugh, Gascoigne, Newsham, Dunne, Gregory. Subs: Yates, Fairhurst, Mohammed, Wilson, Eagle.