Stocksbridge Park Steels are still waiting for their first win in pre-season after a 2-1 loss to Maltby Main.
The Steels took the lead after Scott Ruthven reacted quickest following a good save from the Matlby goalkeeper. In the second half, Maltby came back with a powerful close-range finish by Jamie Austin and then a thumping header from Reggie Wauld.
Stocksbridge came out of the traps in the first half eager to impress after last weekend’s loss to Stockport Town. Jordan Lemon was lively on the right, causing issues by overlapping with Josh Nodder. He got the first shot of the game when he passed a player after cutting inside, but his shot was blocked away for a corner.
The Steels continued to have the better of the early part of the game. Ruthven flicked on from the near post but his clever shot was well saved by Warhurst in the Maltby goal. Lewis Whitham was also causing issues with his cut ins, though Warhurst was equal to an early shot of his.
The opener would feel cruel for Maltby though. They had their first chance of the game when the ball bounced kindly for Austin but Hall was able to tip his shot over. Following Maltby’s corner, Stocksbridge went down the other end quickly. Whitham cut inside and his shot was well saved but Ruthven was quickest to the ball and headed in to give the Steels the lead.
Ruthven almost got a second as well. The other Austin playing for Maltby had a nightmarish header back to the goalkeeper and it went past Warhurst. What lead was a chase between Ruthven, Austin and Warhurst. Unfortunately the Steels, Maltby were able to do enough to clear it behind for a corner. Ruthven continued to cause issues from the set piece though but his flick on at the near post went wide this time.
Stocksbridge had the better of the play for a lot of the first half but luckily for Maltby, Warhurst was on good form for then. He was just about able to get to a well hit free kick from Nodder and was also equal to another cut in shot from Whitham in what was quickly becoming an enjoyable duel to watch. Maltby could count their chickens though when a combination of player and the bar was able to keep a header from Robert Ludlam out.
Maltby’s threat at the other end was limited to long range shots for the most, with Hall being equal to most what Main could throw at him. As the first half progressed though, Maltby continued to get better and their chances more clear cut. Some lovely play from Maltby gave them space on the right and it was whipped in for Austin who headed just over. Austin had another great chance right before the end of the half when he went clear in the box but Hall pulled off his best save so far to keep it out and send the Steels into half time with the lead.
It was a quieter second half with the heat taking its effect. Chances came far less often as the combination of the 25C+ temperature took its toll. There was a great piece of play from the Steels which gave Slater a great chance in the centre of the goal but the shot wasn’t good enough to beat Warhurst.
Maltby continued their pressure from the first half and got their equaliser. It was a tantalising cross from the left side that substitute Brandon Whitfield couldn’t help but smash in.
And then Maltby got another. This time from a corner on the right, it was was hipped in and Reggie Wauld gave Main the lead with a thumping header that Hall couldn’t do much about.
Stocksbridge did come back into the game a bit after going behind. Ruthven earned a free kick after some fancy footwork close to the opposition box. He took the resulting free kick but it smashed off the wall. Nodder couldn’t keep his balance before hitting a weak shot gathered easily and Whitham’s daisy cutter went wide, meaning the Steels wouldn’t be making the short trip back to Stocksbridge with a win in the back pocket.
MOTM: Scott Ruthven