Stocksbridge made the short journey to West Yorkshire last night to take on NCEL side Hemsworth MW on their 4G pitch (good practice for season ahead, as a few teams in our league have them). Steels again wasn’t a full strength, but both Ross Goodwin and Joe Lumsden both made their first appearance of pre season. Due to limited numbers it did mean a few players had to play out of position with Goodwin at centre back and Nodder playing left back.
I wasn’t planning to do match report but our media man Adam didn’t make the game, so I took a few notes…..
Steels started the brighter of the two sides, with Whitham on the left and trialist Croft on the right, with Whitham have the first shot of the game, Nathan Crofts nearly open the scoring after 11 minutes but the Hemsworth keeper saved it. Hemsworth opened the scoring on 16 minutes against the run of play coming down the right, the first shot produced a fantastic save out of Hall but the ball landed right back at Swaine’s feet who made no mistake.
Stocksbridge though continued to look the better of the two sides despite being behind but Hemsworth looked dangerous on the counter attacks. Steels was pressing for the equalizer with great link up play between Nodder and Whitham to force the corner. From the corner Steels ended up having to defend a quick counter attack. Nodder again was the creator on 21 minutes when his cross, turned shot just going over. Fads then flicked ball on from corner but the goalkeeper was alert to the danger. Nodder had another shot go wide of the far post after a good run down the wing by Crofts set him up from 22 yards out.
Disaster then struck on 37 minutes, just as Steels where really starting to press for the equalizer, Hemsworth struck again with a sucker punch, this was a good goal coming down the right, the quick passes played in Swaine who made no mistake to slot home his and Hemsworth second. Stocksbridge then switched off after the goal and Hemsworth capitlized with not one but two further goals with Swaine getting his hat trick on 43 minutes and then Santos adding a 4th before the stroke of half time.
To say the traveling support was shell shocked was an understatement.
However whatever was said at half time worked as Stocksbridge came out all guns blazing. Lumsden came on for Oscar-Seth, with Nodder now slotting in a right back and Slater going to left back (who had an excellent second half in that position). Crofts continued to look dangerous and on 53 minutes Steels were on the scoresheet, the ball coming down left with Whitham putting an excellent ball in for Crofts to slot in at the back post. Steels were on top by now and was pressing to get something from the game.
Nodder was again close on 55 minutes with his shot just wide of the far post. Then a great cross field pass from Croft to Whitham produced a Steels corner. Fads then saw his header glance wide. On 57 minutes Steels got their second with the ball falling to Whitham who struck a sweet shot from 20 yards out into the bottom corner. Both teams then made changes and the game went quiet. Croft who had scored and provided the assist for Whitham came off for young Bollington and shortly after Whitham came of for Whiting. Steels final change saw Finlaw replaced by Mellon.
Hemsworth had a good spell but Hall produced and outstanding save to deny them a 5th which would have been harsh on a Steels side that besides the 5 minute spell before halftime had looked good. As the game wore on Lumdsen and Ruthven was producing some fantastic link up play as Steels pressed for more goals. Late on Steels saw a Goodwin header cleared off the line, Lumsden header hitting the crossbar but then a great cross saw Whiting score his first goal with a header into bottom corner to make it 4-3 with 3 minutes to play.
Whiting then forced the Hemsworth keeper into a top save, moments letter he did it again to deny Steels a deserved equalzier. In stoppage time Tom should have scored but the ball hit the post and came out. Steels then just run out of time as Hemsworth held on for the win.
Great game for neutral and despite the loss, Steels looked good and a lot of good individual performances. Next up is Emley on Friday night.
Steels Team: Hall, Oscar-Seth (Lumsden), Nodder, Finlaw (Mellon), McFayden, Goodwin, Whitham (Whiting), Kenyon, Ruthven, Slater, Crofts (Bollington0
Used Subs: Erratt-Thompson, Thompson