Stocksbridge Park Steels went out of the FA Cup at the first round they entered following a 5-2 loss to Sheffield rivals Handsworth.
Handsworth opened the scoring with a spectacular effort from Mitchell Dunne. Dunne would get a second by making the most of a defensive mix-up before the Steels got one back through Lewis Whitham. Lee Bennett restored the two goal advantage before the half and it was four in the second half when Oliver scored a close range effort. Josh Nodder made it a game again with a goal many claimed was offside but Leon Howarth finished the game off with an emphatic finish.
Stocksbridge almost had a goal after just ten seconds. Scott Ruthven sent a crossfield ball to Whitham who cut inside but his shot was saved by the feat of Ben Townsend. Five minutes later, Josh Nodder had an effort from range which was palmed away by Townsend.
The Steels continued to have most of the ball and the chances. Whitham was a constant presence down the wing, once again cutting inside only this time hitting over. He tried to turn creator moments later by hitting in a low cross and Ruthven was only inches away from connecting.
Despite Stocksbridge having most of the ball and the chances, the first goal would come from nothing for Handsworth. Dunne tried a speculative effort from 30 yards out and it floated into the top corner leaving deputy keeper David Reay without a chance.
Two minutes later, Handsworth were two up. A long ball was hit up and Robert Ludlam’s header was short to an onrushing Reay. A confident Dunne was able to nip in and tap in the ball in to double the lead in what was a nightmare few minutes for the Steels.
Stocksbridge did try to rally back and there was a chance when Townsend decided to rush out but Nathaniel Crofts shot was blocked by the keeper. Whitham also continued to be a threat down the left but like before, his shot went high and wide.
The Steels would get a goal though and from the man you’d expect. Whitham was once again cutting in and out to get around his defender and this time shot towards the near post. This worked and made its way past Townsend, making this Steels first goal of the competitive season.
While the Steels were hoping to keep this going into the second half, Handsworth managed to get one to re-establish their two goal advantage. This one was in a far more normal fashion as the ball was pinged to Bennett in the middle of a crowded box who took the opportunity to hit it into the bottom corner.
Stocksbridge did start the second half brightly. Ruthven had a sighter of a shot which stung Townsend’s hands and Nodder got hold of the ball in the box with a narrow angle and flashed his shot wide.
Frustratingly for the Steels it happened again when Handsworth made a rare venture forward and got a goal. The ball was down the right and a great sweeping cross was finished by James Oliver in what really could have killed the game off.
Handsworth were then happy to sit back and let the Steels pile pressure on them. It could have ended badly for the Ambers though. A good corner was headed wide by Ross Goodwin and then one of the biggest chances of the game when an excellent Michael Trench cross was hit wide by Ruthven. Handsworth would go forward not long after but Oliver hit his long range shot over.
Stocksbridge would then get back in the game. Ruthven toepoked a through ball towards Nodder and he made no mistake as he finished it past Townsend. The home fans claimed for offside but the flag stayed down and the Steels would have a slim opportunity to get this back to a replay.
In order to slow the game down, Handsworth players soon started dropping like flies with any knock to the ground becoming a major stoppage in the game. It ended up working for them as they would get the goal to finish the game off as a contest. Stocksbridge lost possession in midfield as they pressing up and Howarth took advantage to smash it in. This meant once again Stocksbridge would head out of the FA Cup at the first round they entered.
Man of the Match: Josh Nodder