First Team vs. Kidsgrove Athletic (2 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield’s wait for a first away win of the season continued Saturday, writes Stuart James, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow strugglers Kidsgrove Athletic.
In a classic game of two halves – and in atrocious conditions – Club took the lead twice, only to be pegged back both times by an energetic and hard-working home side.
The hosts had done remarkably well to get the game on after a terrible overnight deluge, with only the two goalmouths the major concern, and holding up thanks to a pretty rudimentary shelter system to ward off any last-minute threats from the weather.
Kicking down the slope Sheffield made the stronger start, as their passing game had Kidsgrove on the back foot from the off, however the best effort early on came from Grant Ryan whose shot went easily into the arms of Dave Parton.
Grove started to find their footing, and made their first incursion into Sheffield territory after good build up work on the right from Lee Cropper and Ross Davidson, with Lee Cropper blasting the end product over Louis Jones’ goal.
The deadlock was broken in fine style on 24 minutes, James Gregory threading a perfect pass giving Tyler Williams the opportunity to loft the ball over the keeper’s body and into the net.
It took less than 90 seconds for the scores to be tied once more, Sanders finding time to place the ball beyond a flat back-line, with Ant Malbon clinically slotting home.
The weather that had threatened to thwart the game eventually broke, with a blizzard of snow, hail and rain peppering the already heavy pitch, however – with credit to both sides – it didn’t detract from an entertaining spell of football.
Malbon was allowed too much time and space once more, only to drive his effort straight at Jones, whilst minutes later Malbon turned provider for Cropper who had acres of time and space – using both wisely enough to send his shot wildly out of the ground.
At the other end Ben Algar set up impressive youngster Alex Brown up with a chance, however despite beating the keeper with his shot, was thwarted by the upright which came to Athletic’s rescue.
Sheffield regained the lead ten minutes before the break, as a dazzling piece of passing tore the home defence to shreds, ending with Ryan’s shot being parried into the path of Gregory by the keeper and ricocheting into the net.
There was still time before the break for the ever dangerous Malbon to cause more strife for the visitors, as his shot from distance landed on target, only to be tipped over by a fine save from Jones.
Sheffield found the second half much more difficult and ten minutes after the restart it was all square once more, as Kyle Diskin’s corner was only half cleared, with Tom France volleying home from just inside the box.
The experienced Malbon was dictating most things now, and was allowed too much room to pick and turn a way through the defence, only to be denied once more by Jones.
The ball over the top was causing more concerns for Sheffield, and it was from one of these that saw Malbon flick on the ball into the path of Cropper, with the shot fortunately deflecting wide of the mark.
Club were still trying to play their way out of danger and into the boggy top half of the field, however couldn’t find that way through to get any meaningful effort to test Parton, with the best chance coming to Gregory after being put in on the left.
The game petered out to a fair result of a draw, however there were a few flutters in the dying moments for Club, as Shaun Rhodes forced a good stop once again from Jones.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Parton, Ashman, Bergin, Rhodes, Austin, Skelton, France, Sanders, Cropper, Malbon ©, Davidson. Subs: Thompson, Higham, Graham, Pickerill, Diskin.
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Brown, Yates, Lawrence, Chapman ©, Algar, Finlaw, Ryan, Gregory, Williams. Subs: Magee, Harrison, Hadfield, Tijani, Francis.
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