Stocksbridge Park Steels suffered their worst loss of the season as they slumped to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of league leaders Liversedge.
Liversedge opened the scoring when Ben Atkinson reacted quickest to convert after Michael Roxburgh initially made a save from a penalty. They doubled it with an excellent volley from Nicky Walker. Gavin Allott got on the scoresheet when he reacted quickest to a Roxburgh save to convert. Lewis Whitham hurt his former team with a curling effort before Walker finished the game off when he latched onto a route one ball before scoring.
Stocksbridge had started off as the better side and looked like they may be able to cause an upset against a team nervously looking over their shoulders to see what Marske United would do. Nick Guest had the first opportunity but Max Dearnley in the Liversedge goal had closed him down well before he got head it goalwards. Nathaniel Crofts also had an opportunity to score when he got onto a poor clearance but he drove the shot just wide of the post.
However, Stocksbridge would soon learn that against a team like Liversedge if you don’t take your chances you will get punished. The Steels gave away a penalty from a corner due to a handball, giving the home side the ideal opportunity to take the lead. Alfie Raw’s penalty was initially saved by Michael Roxburgh but Atkinson reacted quickest to knock in the rebound.
The game would be quite even for the rest of the first half. Josh Nodder looked to repeat his heroics from the match against Dunston last week but his long range effort would be right at Dearnley. At the other end, Whitham found Allott with a great ball but his one-on-one effort was saved by Roxburgh, though there was a heart in mouth moment as it bounced off Jack Tinker and just wide of the post.
Liversedge would double their lead before the end of the first half though. Connor Smythe’s diagonal ball found Walker with space in the box and he hit it first time. The volley left Roxburgh with no chance and it found its way into the bottom corner of the net. This meant Stocksbridge had a mountain to climb in the second half.
That mountain would soon get even bigger. Liversedge earned a free kick just a few yards away from the edge of the area. Whitham took it and forced the save from Roxburgh but similar to the penalty, it was a Liversedge player who reacted quickest to the parry. This time it was Allott who finished and made it 3-0.
It would soon get worse. Whitham would get a chance to cut in after a poor pass and he would beat his man before curling it past Roxburgh in the sort of goal Stocksbridge fans were well accustomed to seeing for them rather than the opposition.
Not long after Stocksbridge were let off when Allott fired over from close range, the Steels did have a chance at getting a consolation. Jordan Lemon’s first time cross was hit perfectly and Crofts advanced onto it at the far post. The ball got caught in his feet and in the end he could only put it wide.
Liversedge would complete the rout soon enough. Jordan Porter, who had come on in goal for an injured Dearnley, sent up a long ball which bounced through the Stocksbridge defence. Walker was first onto it and he finished past Roxburgh to make it five.
It could have been worse though. Whitham once again caused problems and cut in from the left wing before just like before, curling the ball in. Thankfully, the linesman had called for an offside meaning that the score line was restricted to 5-0.
MOTM: Jack Tinker