First Team vs. Gresley (0 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield FC lost to relegation contenders Gresley 2-0 in a disappointing afternoon at The Coach & Horses, writes Luke Phelps.
Matt Melbourne headed Gresley into an early lead, before Danny Quinn doubled Gresley's lead midway through the second half.
Mark Shaw made two changes to the side that drew away to Kidsgrove Athletic last weekend, Cecil Nyoni and Jamie Hadfield entered the frame in place of Julian Lawrence and Jamie Yates who both dropped to the bench.
The game kicked off and we were straight in the action. Talisman Tyler Williams immediately looked up for the fight, and set up Ben Turner for an early chance which he shot straight at Callum Hawkins in the Gresley goal.
Sheffield dominated the opening ten, playing comfortable football in the Gresley half. The visitors did pose a threat on the counter attack however, midfielder Oliver Bassett tested Louis Jones from range but brought an easy save from the keeper.
Jones was called into action again just minutes later. As Gresley forced their way through a tight Sheffield defence, the loose ball bounced to forward Quinn who from six yards, forced an excellent save from the keeper.
The opening dominance of the home side was wearing off, Bassett continued to cause problems on the edge of the Sheffield box, but the defence was equal to everything they had to offer.
After a short injury break which saw defender Jamie Hadfield limp off replaced by Julian Lawrence, Sheffield were punished by Gresley's top scorer Melbourne (19). An out-swinging free-kick from Sean Phillips landed on the head of Melbourne in the six-year box. The unmarked Melbourne headed neatly past Jones to give the away side the lead.
As tackles were flying in all over the pitch, the game began to get scrappy. Sheffield were yet again having possession in the Gresley half, but couldn’t find themselves in a goal-scoring position. Our biggest goal threat seemed to be Williams, who was linking up nicely with full-back Turner down the right-hand side.
On the other flank, full-back Alex Brown almost set up Ben Algar for what would've been a spectacular goal. As Brown crossed in attacking midfielder Algar took the ball down beautifully on the edge of the box, but struck straight down the throat of keeper Hawkins.
Algar again brought a comfortable save from Hawkins, when he weaved in and out of several Gresley defenders before firing towards goal on the corner of the Gresley box, capping a disappointing half for She’s side.
The second half began slowly, with both teams looking slightly nervy in the opening exchanges. Target man Grant Ryan was causing problems for Gresley, and crossed for Brown who drilled a shot towards goal in the box, only to be thwarted by a strong block from Gresley's skipper Matt Roome.
Bassett caused Sheffield problems all game and all over the pitch as the opposition, much like the home side were directing their attacks down the right-hand flank.
Gresley hadn’t left their own half for the opening twenty minutes of the second half, but it was them who got the next goal of the game. As Sheffield piled on the pressure they were caught on the counter attack when winger Reece Morris took the ball forward and threaded it through to Quinn (64) who drilled low past Jones.
Frustration was rife both on and off the pitch after the second goal, and this was evident when Nyoni was booked for a flying tackle on Bassett – to which some were surprised to see him stay on the pitch.
An attacking substitution was needed for Sheffield, and it came on the form of development player Luke Francis who almost had his first goal for club within minutes, when he headed an Algar cross towards goal but failed to test the keeper.
James Gregory had a quiet match for Sheffield, but almost clawed on back when his long-range effort whistled just wide of Hawkins' left hand post. The chances kept coming and Ryan had the next one, when he automatically volleyed an effort towards goal from a Williams cross, but it was a routine save for the keeper.
As the clocked ticked on the early energy of the game was petering out. Sheffield continued to push for a consolation goal at least, but couldn’t find a way through a well-organised Gresley defence as they left with a crucial three points.
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Brown, Nyoni, Hadfield, Chapman ©, Algar, Finlaw, Ryan, Gregory, Williams. Subs: Lawrence, Harrison, Yates, Francis, Worrall.
Gresley FC: Hawkins, Roome ©, Egginton, Jarvis, Morris-Clarke, Phillips, Law, Morris, Quinn, Melbourne, Bassett, Subs: Bahati De-Ataide Dias, Hill, Stevenson
|Adam Chapman ©||more|