First Team vs. Stocksbridge Park Steels (1 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Sheffield FC were left cursing their luck on Tuesday evening, writes Stuart James, as Stocksbridge came away from S18 with a smash and grab 2-1 victory to take local bragging rights.
Steels made the most of the few opportunities that came their way with Joe Lumsden opening the scoring on 32 minutes, and although Lee Cooksey levelled on 56 minutes, ex-Clubbie Scott Ruthven snatched all three points fifteen minutes with his customary goal against the World’s First.
After a typical scrappy Derby start the visitors were the first to threaten in the game, with Harrison Biggins deploying a shoot on sight policy, whizzing one just over the bar and stinging Chris Butt’s hands moments later.
Club eventually started to make their presence felt in the game, and Pat Lindley forced a fantastic tip over the bar save from David Raey, after the home midfielder caught the ball with the sweetest of volleys.
Steels were playing the more attractive football in the opening however, and their efforts and pressure were rewarded just after the half hour mark, with LUMSDEN getting his head on the end of a snap cross from Ruthven following a bit of a goalmouth stramash.
The hosts showed great heart and character, and had a claim following a mêlée at the other end moments later that the ball had crossed the line, with Raey once again the hero clawing the ball from what looked an impossible position.
Sheffield went closer still after a Matt Roney corner was only half cleared, Danny South this time the dispenser of the thunderous volley, with the crossbar coming to Stocksbridge’s rescue on this occasion.
The second half was only six minutes old when the home side levelled, again it was a corner from Roney that caused all the panic – George Grayson went down after a clash of heads – and as the ball pinballed around the area, COOKSEY was the coolest to head the ball into the empty net.
Club were now in the ascendency and were piling bodies forward with a view to capitalise on their momentum, but once again they were thankful to David Raey, this time blocking a close-range effort from Danny South.
The hosts nearly had a fine drive from Matt Roney head into the net, this time George Grayson was the visitors’ saviour, clearing the goal-bound effort off the line.
Stocksbridge eventually were the ones to break parity, through a massively fortuitous goal from RUTHVEN whose shot took the cruellest of deflections, looping insanely into the air over Butt’s head and dropping just the right side of the bar and into the net.
Credit where credit is due, Sheffield brushed this setback off and went back into driving forward once again, with Raey once again denying another South effort to keep the hosts frustrated.
Despite a last hurrah and all-out attack, Steels were able to hold on to keep their play-off hopes alive, leaving Sheffield wondering just how did they lose this one!
Sheffield FC: Butt, Royles, Hanna, Lindley, Cooksey ©, Magee, Roney, Goodwin, South, Wilson, Gregory. Subs: Morton, Ashmore, Denton, Johnson, Haystead.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: D.Raey, Meade, Grayson, Stirrup, McFadyen, M.Raey, Hinchliffe, Biggins, Ruthven, Lumsden, Lichfield. Subs: Rhodes, Hobson, Thompson, Laight, Greaves.