Stocksbridge Park Steels claimed their first clean sheet in 11 months after a 0-0 draw with Stockton Town.
Both sides had chances to win the game. Jonathan Franks smashed the bar early on and Mikey Roberts had his goalbound shot blocked by Liam McFadyen. For the Steels, they hit the post on two occasions with both Lewis Whitham and Joe Lumsden being foiled by the woodwork.
Stockton could have had their first goal ever in the Northern Premier League early on. After getting a corner when Jamie Owens’ shot was blocked, Stocksbridge failed to clear properly. Jonathan Franks latched onto this and smashed it onto the bar when many of the travelling fans thought it was destined to go in. Franks had another opportunity a few minutes later when a clever pass found him in space but he hit that chance over.
Stocksbridge did have a slow start but did grow into the game and had chances of their own. Nathaniel Crofts got a great chance when the ball was played into him in space by Stockton keeper Lewis McDonald was quick to it and gave the winger no space to get a good shot off.
Then came the numerous times the Steels rattled the woodwork. Lewis Whitham’s initial shot was saved, but Stockton only cleared it so far and the young winger was soon on the ball. Same as before he cut inside from the left wing and curled it and the shot found its way onto the post. Just a minute later, a good ball was whipped in for Joe Lumsden’s glancing header to whip it onto the post to the relief of a flailing McDonald.
As the half came close to the end, Stockton got back into the game and had their chances. The biggest came from a long throw which the Steels were not able to clear. There was a melee in the box as someone tried to get some space to do something and that man ending up being Owens. He hit a powerful shot but a key block made sure the game went to half time goalless.
Much like the first half, Stockton started off as the better team. While Stocksbridge had the first shot, a Sam Finlaw effort which went wide, it was the Anchors who had the better chances. Jamie Owens went clear on goal but a Liam McFadyen tackle took the sting out of the shot which allowed Hall to clear.
The big Captain Marvel moment came not long after. Reece Fielding lost possession on the half way line allowing Stockton to break with Mikey Roberts in acres of space and looking certain to score. That was until a truly superb sliding tackle from McFadyen saved the day for the Steels and kept it scoreless.
Stocksbridge did get back into the game and have a few moments of their own. Lumsden was able to worm his way past some players but the pressure from the Stockton defence limited him to a weak shot that was easily saved by McDonald. Whitham was also able to run across the box for his shot to be palmed wide.
The big chance came later on. Substitute Josh Nodder forced a saved from McDonald, though he could only palm it in front of him. Ruthven got onto the ball first and sent the shot wide with a big sigh of relief from the Stockton defence.
Stockton had the final chance of the game as they found joy down the right wing with the ironically named substitute Nathan Steel. He cut in to get some space and sent off a powerful shot which Ed Hall went down low to save well and finish the game as a 0-0 draw, getting Stocksbridge’s first clean sheet since their 3-0 win over Sheffield on September 29th 2020.
Man of the Match: Liam McFadyen