Stocksbridge Park Steels got their pre-season off to the best possible start with a 4-1 win over Rossington Main.
Both sides had a couple of half chances in the early parts of the game but it would be the Steels who’d draw first bloody. Former Rossington player and new signing Jack Watson used some trickery and pace to get him space on the right hand side of the box before hitting a cross-cum-shot that found its way into the top corner.
Stocksbridge would double their lead a few minutes later. With their first corner of pre-season, Hogg whipped in a ball that was headed on for Watson to nod it into the back of the net. It was just 13 minutes into the match and Watson was already becoming a fan favourite with the travelling Steels fans.
Rossington were not going to give up in this game though and they did start to rally very well, mostly through the efforts of Manasse Kianga. Not long after curling a shot just wide, he came very close when he worked some space in the box before his shot beat the goalkeeper but not the post, with the woodwork saving Stocksbridge.
The Main did get their goal though. A cross from the right was heavily deflected and that allowed Ross Hannah to move onto it and with all the space he needed, he headed the ball in.
Back at the other end, Watson will have been disappointed he wasn’t able to get a hat trick against his former side. One shot of his ricocheted off a couple of defenders before falling into the goalkeeper’s arms. He was then able to get space for a good shot, but the keeper was equal to that one, meaning he didn’t get the hat trick and the half would end 2-1.
The Steels made 10 changes for the second half with only Mitch Langton staying on, while Rossington made the three and would continue their changes in the second half. Both teams looked to take advantage with an effort from the home side cracking the bar while Tomas Poole had a free kick saved, but it’d stay 2-1 for a while.
It would only stay at the score line thanks to the efforts of Daniel Emery, the former U18 goalkeeper. He first made a good save from Hannah when he went clear on goal before doing the same when Kianga was able to force his way into the box. Both saves were very impressive and showed his ability to potentially step up.
Stocksbridge would then re-establish their two goal lead. John Hennessey did well to get down to the touchline before pinning the ball back to Ify Ofoegbu. He still had to make the turn on his defender but he did that well before finishing to make it 3-1.
In the second half as Rossington made changes, it did become more typical pre-season as the play became more fragmented. The pace of Ofoegbu was causing plenty of problems but it was Lewis Macaskill who’d earn a free kick at the end of the game. Poole would step up and hit a good strike that smacked off the bar and into the back of the net, earning the Steels an impressive win in their first friendly of the summer.