Stocksbridge Park Steels picked up their first pre-season win since 2020 after beating Eccleshill United 1-0.
The only goal of the game came early on when pressure on the Eccleshill defence allowed a trialist to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper before finishing with aplomb.
The Steels were looking to build on a promising performance in the match against Belper Town and started off well. The pressing seen in other games would end up working wonders in this one on a goalkeeper that began the game in a skittish mood. Poole and the trialist worked together to force the keeper into a disaster of the ball and that landed with the trialist. He then went one-on-one with the keeper and blasted it past him to give the Steels an early lead.
The pressing in the early part of the game would cause plenty of problems for Eccleshill. The goalkeeper struggled with it, sending more balls into the stand than onto the pitch for a while. Stocksbridge’s pressing almost got them another goal when the trialist won it high up in the left winger. He hit a good ball into the box but it would end up getting caught under the feet of the attacking team and would be cleared by Eccleshill.
As the first half continued, Eccleshill would get better and grow more into the game. Despite this, they struggled to break down a Steels defence that would be as stubborn as it was in the first hour against Belper. They did try to use set pieces to their advantage and were close when one of their defenders headed just wide from a corner. They were also close to scoring with a turn and snapshot which ended up slamming off the fences behind the goal. This meant Stocksbridge were leading going into half time.
The second half was not something you would show friends you’d want to get into non-league football as it was low on quality. Eccleshill were getting more of the ball and they were trying desperately to break into the Steels box. They couldn’t manage it though. The Eagles were limited to long range shots which usually tested the fans behind the goal rather than Harrison Davison-Hale. They also sent plenty of crosses in but even with onrushing players, Davison-Hale was able to deal with everything sent his way with ease.
Stocksbridge were largely held in their own box during the half and while they did try to break, they often ended up bearing the brunt of a whistle happy referee who didn’t appreciate any physicality up front. They did have a moment to seal the win towards the end when the ball was played with some speed onto the left where Clarke Greaves had broke into the box. His shot didn’t have the power necessary but it did test the goalkeeper. Despite that not going in, Stocksbridge would get the win and their first pre-season friendly since they beat Ramsbottom United in 2020.