Two hard fought goals in the first half for Sheffield were enough to seal the 3 points on the opening day of the season against a battling Newcastle Town team, writes Joe Cook, as Sheffield FC began the season strong in what turned out to be the perfect season opener for the World’s First in front of Australia’s own Optus Sport television crew with Mark Schwarzer and Alicia Ferguson-Cook as well as a decent crowd.
The first half was very much a case of Sheffield carrying a strong pre-season into the new season. Sheffield started on the front foot right from the off, with clever work down both wings exploiting Newcastle’s back line with dangerous well delivered crosses, and it was only a matter of time before Sheffield dealt a blow to Town.
However, this didn’t come before Sheffield had numerous quick-fire calls for penalties, with contentious back to back handballs from defending Newcastle players being ignored by Ian Johnston the referee, leaving Sheffield to accept a corner instead.
Despite this, it didn’t take much longer for Sheffield to pierce the Newcastle Town defence with more good work down the Sheffield left flank interchanging between wingers and full back soon leading to a dangerous ball in from Stuart Ludlam, eventually being headed home by Ben Turner.
The pressure didn’t end there, barely 5 minutes later Sheffield were at it again, much cleaner and text book this time as Sheffield showed more desire with a pin point cross from Michael Williams this time and Mitchell Dunne towering above the Newcastle Town centre half and firing a header past the rooted keeper.
After a lively first half for Sheffield it was Town’s turn to work the Sheffield defence in the second half and legs started to tire in the Sheffield half.
Newcastle attacked Sheffield from all angles making it a cagey affair for the home side in the second half with their own Jack Van Der Laan mixing well with the other Newcastle forwards.
Matt Ward threatened soon after as Newcastle pressed, and Ward struck the ball well but only just wide of Dylan Parkin’s post.
They would soon be celebrating themselves though, after continued threats couldn’t be dealt with by the tiring Sheffield defence, and Jack Van Der Laan struck a shot with venom that beat Parkin at his near post.
It could have been an entirely different result had Parkin not redeemed shortly after a shot from range slowly looped but was well saved and tipped onto the crossbar and eventually held by the shot stopper.
Sheffield continued to threaten throughout the second half though also, with Newcastle’s keeper Gill doing well on a number of occasions particularly with a fantastic double save in the latter stages of the second half to stop the score being extended and out of reach of the visitors
Sheffield held on to clinch the 3 points though, with a very strong first half and a professional second half display with Manager Gavin Smith saying after the match that “all the lads did well. First half they did really well, and of course there was a few tired legs out there, but the lads went out there and did exactly what I expected of them. We deserved the win, and had we taken our chances we could have had 3, 4 maybe 5”.
Sheffield FC continue the season visiting Stockbridge Park Steels on Tuesday (20/08).
Sheffield FC 2
Ben Turner (29′)
Mitchell Dunne (34′)
Newcastle Town 1
Jack Van Der Laan (74′)
Sheffield FC: 1 Dylan Parkin, 2 Ben Turner, 3 Rory Coleman, 4 Bradley Beatson, 5 Stuart Ludlam, 6 Adam Chapman, 7 Michael Williams (Edward Cribley 67′), 8 Ashley Grayson, 9 Karl Demidh , 10 Mitchell Dunne (Lee Cooksey 88′), 11 James Gregory (Jordan Chapell 77′)
Subs: 12 Jordan Chapell, 14 Robert Darkin, 15 Lee Cooksey, 16 Alex Wonham, 17 Edward Cribley
Newcastle Town: 1 Raajan Gill , 2 Sam Bradbury, 3 James Melhado, 4 Taylor Attrell , 5 James Askey, 6 Luke Dennis, 7 Dan Needham, 8 Jack Van Der Laan, 9 Jordan Cole, 10 Matthew Ward (George Shaw 73′), 11 Serkari Ahmadi (Oliver Putnam 73′)
Subs: 12 Tommy Van Der Laan, 14 George Shaw, 15 Oliver Putnam, 16 Tyler Barnes, 17 Harry Pickering