First Team vs. Stamford (0 : 0)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield retain their unbeaten start to 2018 with a goalless draw against play-off chasing Stamford AFC, writes Luke Phelps.
Manager Mark Shaw made two changes to the side that beat Stocksbridge Park Steels on New Years Day. Just one day after signing Kuda Muskwe made his first start for Club, replacing Leon Osbourne up front. Andrew Gascoigne also started in place of Jamie Yates.
Sheffield kicked off first the time at home this year. Muskwe had half a chance in the opening minutes but couldn’t generate enough power into his header. Opposition Stamford also had a chance early on, when a fluffed clearance fell to the feet of striker Callum Ball, who also fluffed his effort.
The dust was shaking off a Sheffield side that had come off the back of a two-week break. Muskwe has a positive start to his Sheffield career and looked the brightest for Club. After picking the ball up from deep Muskwe ran at the defence before setting up Gascoigne on the edge of the box, who’s effort curled just wide.
Our very own ‘Gazza’ also had a strong performance on his return from injury, but it was Stamford who were doing most of the attacking. The Daniels were persistent with the long ball over the Sheffield defence in the opening 20 but the defensive line stood firm.
It was this tactic though that almost led to an opening goal for Stamford. As the ball looped in the air off the head of a Sheffield defender, Ball lined up a volley from 18 yards which keeper Louis Jones saved down low to his left. The rebound fell to Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson who hit the post from 6 yards and again the rebound fell to a Stamford attacker, this time Liam Adams who sliced his effort wide.
Sheffield came close too with 5 minutes of the first half remaining. Gazza picked up the ball on the wing and cut inside onto his favoured left foot before rifling a low, driven shot against the post. The danger was cleared and Stanford regained possession.
After making their way into the Sheffield area the loose ball was smothered by Jones who launched a counter attack. Sam Finlaw ran with the ball before slipping into young Rob Worrall who fired at former Sheffield keeper Danny Haystead. The rebound fell straight to Worrall who from a tight angle, could only hit the post of the open goal.
Stamford came out the better team in the second half with chances in the opening 5 minutes for strikers Adams and Fortnam-Tomlinson, but nothing was troubling the on-loan Jones in the Sheffield goal.
Talking points were few and far between in the second half and after a injury break for Stamford's Henry Eze the game was back underway. An attacking change for Sheffield came in the shape of Leon Osbourne who replaced Muskwe up front, as Sheffield pushed for all the points.
Captain Adam Chapman denied what was bound to be an opening goal for Stamford with a flying lunge, as his Sheffield team began to take control of the game. Shaw’s team had fresh legs on the pitch and were enjoying possession in the Stamford half, but failed to test the keeper.
Coming close with 10 remaining was Chapman who, with reminiscence of his wonder strike against Stocksbdrige, fizzed free-kick from range just inches from the top left corner, Haystead could only stand and watch.
After narrowly passing a pitch inspection this morning, the field of play was beginning to tear up in parts making okay difficult. Nevertheless, it was Sheffield who pushed for the winning goal in the later stages of the game. It was not to be had though as the teams settled for a point each.
Sheffield FC: Jones, Turner, Brown, Nyoni, Lawrence, Chapman, Gascoigne ©, Finlaw, Muskwe, Worrall, Williams. Subs: Wigley, Harrison, Yates, Gregory, Osborne.
Stamford AFC: Haystead, George, Putnam, Morgan, Eze, Armstrong, Smith ©, Challinor, Nall, Adams, Fortnam-Tomlinson. Subs: Duffy, Hollis, Brown-Hill.
|Andrew Gascoigne ©||more|