Stocksbridge Park Steels finished their season with a 1-1 draw against relegation threatened Sheffield FC.
The Steels took the lead in the first effort when a Josh Nodder strike from range found its way under Ryan Musselwhite and into the back of the net. Marc Newsham converted a penalty in the second half to make sure both sides had a share of the points.
The game started off nervy which was to be expected with Sheffield potentially plunging back into the relegation zone. It ended up being quite physical as well. An early challenge meant Ben Partridge only spent three minutes on the pitch before being forced off with an injury. Mikey Roxburgh also took one in the gut from Manny Kianga who went in for the ball at the far post.
Stocksbridge had the better of the chances in the early going though. Nodder worked hard to chase down an opportunity before curling his shot wide. Kurtis Turner also had a shot blocked. At the other end, Sheffield had their own chance when the Steels defence were bamboozled by a bouncing ball, allowing Nathan Modest to nip and make the shot which ended up being over.
The Steels would strike first. Nodder got some space from around 25 yards out and decided to have a go. It wasn’t the cleanest connection in the world but Musselwhite couldn’t stop it from going underneath him and it would nestle itself into the back of the net, putting Sheffield into some real trouble.
Both sides looked to get the next goal which would be crucial in deciding the game. Neither team though could create a clear cut opportunity before the end of the half. Newsham did get an overhead kick off from close range, but he was crowded and so didn’t have the best connection which allowed Roxburgh to make a simple save. At the other end, Nick Guest latched onto the end of a long throw but his shot was blocked and deflected safely into the arms of Musselwhite. This meant Stocksbridge only had a one goal lead going into the half.
And not long into the second half, Stocksbridge would be punished for not extending that lead. A long ball was sent into the box and Lee Cooksey wrestled Modest to the ground. Despite protestations that it was outside of the box, the penalty was given. Newsham stepped up and sent it past Roxburgh to seal the equaliser and Sheffield’s first goal against the Steels since New Years Day 2019.
The game livened up after the goal as both teams pushed to get the win. Stocksbridge may have felt irritated they didn’t get the lead back though. Good work from Luke Mangham allowed him to cross in for Nodder who fizzed a volley over. Not long after, Reece Fielding almost got a lucky bounce from Musselwhite but the ball ricocheted off his head and wide.
Stocksbridge’s best chance would fall to Nodder. He would get the ball in the box and fired it goalwards, only for Musselwhite to punch it away. The goalkeeper would have to be alive to punch his save away at the second attempt as otherwise it would have gone in but this would be the closest Stocksbridge got.
Sheffield had the final chance of the game. Not long after Scott Ruthven came close to haunting his former club by volleying over, the Oldest Club swung in a cross from the right. The ball flew over Jordan Lemon and it to fell to Kianga who couldn’t get the touch on it with the goal at his mercy. This gave Stocksbridge a let off and a point to finish the season off with.
MOTM: Reece Fielding