Stocksbridge Park Steels claimed a dramatic 2-2 draw with Shildon after a late equaliser saved the visitors a point.
The Steels took the lead when Luke Mangham headed on a cross for Ross Goodwin to convert. Shildon equalised when Billy Greulich-Smith converted from close range before they took the lead after a good passing move gave space to Sam Barker to finish. Lee Cooksey headed from a Nathaniel Crofts cross to give Stocksbridge a point.
Shildon started off as the better side. They pressed looking for the early lead and the uneven pitch looked to favour the hosts as they appeared to be used to it. An early fright came from a great cross from the right wing but Jordan Lemon rose higher than the much taller Greulich-Smith to clear it away and prevent a definite goal.
After holding Shildon off, Stocksbridge grew into the game. Josh Nodder found some space down the left and cross the ball in. Goodwin was there to head it goalwards but it just went wide.
Stocksbridge did get their goal though. Kurtis Turner’s initial cross was blocked and the chance seemed to be over until Mangham was able to knock it on. Goodwin was there though to finish the move and get his fourth goal of the season.
The Steels almost got a second when Nodder forced a good save from Newbrook but Shildon would be the next team to strike. A cross from the right found Kurtis Matthews in space to head across goal where Greulich-Smith was there to finish from close range.
Shildon had completely turned the game around before the end of the first half as they didn’t take long to take the lead. The Railwaymen were patient in their build-up but eventually found the hole they needed with a quick passing move as Dean Thexton clipped the ball through to home debutant Sam Barker who finished strongly past Ed Hall. That meant Shildon had the lead going into half time.
Stocksbridge came out with more energy in the second half and looked good to get an equaliser. They had several corners and Reece Fielding wasn’t far off with one of his headers. The Steels did have the ball in the back of the net when Mangham was able to score from close range but it’d be deemed offside, a decision that looked to be correct.
Shildon had a great chance to kill the game off and secure all three points for themselves. Ben Trotter had been quiet in the game but came alive to pass three players before going one-on-one with Hall. The Yorkshire international won the duel and made an impressive save to keep Stocksbridge in the game.
It was soon after when the game started to get very tasty. Joe Posthill went in very late on Jack Tinker which started the first fracas which were not helped by the fact no free kick was given. Tinker got his revenge later with a lunging tackle on Posthill which in the modern game could have very easily been a red card in the modern game. Instead it was just a booking.
Ian Richards decided to change the game at this point. Despite his impressive game keeping Dean Thexton quiet, Fielding came off along with Goodwin with Andy Ring and Alex O’Connor coming on. This came with a formation change as the team went to 3-5-2, an exotic formation by the standards of non-league.
This change worked. The ball was spread out to Crofts who put the ball in. There were many men in the box but it was Cooksey who got onto the end of it who head the ball in and get Stocksbridge level.
Both teams pushed up to get a late winner. A big long ball from the back went over the heads of everyone in the Shildon defence and Mangham was alive to it. Unluckily for him it didn’t bounce right and he couldn’t get onto it. A late free kick from Shildon could have caused danger but it was blocked by the one man wall, leading to a crucial Steels point.
MOTM: Ross Goodwin