Stocksbridge Park Steels ended their losing run with a feisty 2-0 win over Cleethorpes Town.
The Steels got off to a good start and could have been ahead within a minute. They earned a corner and Kurtis Turner, who was on set piece duty with Tomas Poole being ruled out of the game, swung one in. Mitch Langton headed it on and Ify Ofoegbu was able to gather it, turn and shoot only for the the Cleethorpes defence to block it.
After that initial shock, Cleethorpes were able to grow into the game and would soon be the side with the better chances. Soon enough, they were wondering how they weren’t ahead. A ball through the middle found Declan Howe who was able to round Ben Townsend. One of the league’s top scorers had the goal at his mercy but he conspired to blast it over much to the disbelief of the home fans.
He’d have been cursing again because Howe had another gilt-edged chance later on. He made the most of a defence mistake to go through on goal and with Townsend charging him, he decided to go for the chip. While it did beat Townsend, it also beat the bar, leaving the striker a bit red faced.
Stocksbridge did push at the other end and while they had less chances, they’ll have been disappointed not to have grabbed one either. The biggest chance was when Ify Ofoegbu moved onto a ball over the top and hit a shot from wide in the box, but it trailed past the post, leaving it goalless in the first half.
It was a flipped game in the second half, with Stocksbridge having the better of the ball. They were just having bits of bad luck, with various ricochets and passes just falling in the wrong places, allowing Cleethorpes to clear. The biggest chance was for Ofoegbu, whose header forced a save out of Grimsby Town legend James McKeown.
Eventually, Stocksbridge got their goal. Jordan Lemon, playing at left back for part of the second half following Jack Tinker going off, charged forward with a great run before putting in a deadly cross. It would be very scrappy as Cleethorpes tried to desperately clear, but eventually Luke Rawson forced it goalwards before Ross Goodwin smashed it in on the goal line to make sure it found the back of the net.
This sparked up Cleethorpes who were desperate to find a equaliser to make sure their own play-off push stayed alive. They were very close at times to getting a goal as well. The biggest chance came following a knife of a pass from Will Annan, which Howe duly got onto. This time, he tried to keep it traditional by beating Townsend with a normal shot but even that wasn’t good enough with the former Handsworth man making a great save to keep his clean sheet intact. Substitute Jack McMenemy caused problems too but didn’t have his finishing boots on as he one great ball came off his thighs while a second attempt went just over.
Stocksbridge were still trying to double their lead and Mitch Langton’s powerful effort looked like it might have done it, though McKeown made a great fingertip save to stop it. In the end, a bit of drama gave them their winning goal. In the 3rd minute of three minutes added time, Kurtis Turner broke into the box and slipped down. As he tried to get back up, he was shoved back down again, forcing the referee to give the penalty. With the last kick of the game, Ify Ofoegbu hit the penalty past the goalkeeper, securing the 2-0 win.