Stocksbridge Park Steels fell to a 3-0 defeat to Liversedge in their first game without Chris Hilton.
Oliver Fearon gave Liversedge the lead early on when converted when a shot caused chaos in the box and he took advantage to score. Fearon got another when he headed in at the far post. In the second half, the game was killed off when Benjamin Atkinson scored from close range. Substitute Gavin Allott was sent off for violent conduct as his high foot connect with Ed Hall’s head.
Both sides gave each other a fright early on. Joseph Walton got some space in the box and the initial shot was blocked by Liam McFadyen. Walton gathered the ball again, shot again but after asking the same question he got the same answer with McFadyen being there to block again. Stocksbridge then went up at the other end and had a chance of their own. Lewis Whitham’s free kick wasn’t clear properly and Nathaniel Crofts gathered to shoot but it hit it just wide.
Liversedge would get another chance and this time they would take it. Stocksbridge cleared the initial corner but they were soon in trouble again when a shot was fired right back. In the melee that followed, Fearon was there to finish and give the West Yorkshire the lead.
The game settled for a bit until some classic route one from Stocksbridge almost broke it apart. Ed Hall’s big ball up landed perfectly for Whitham who pulled it down as well as you could. Unfortunately a big push in his back forced him to take a heavy touch and it went out harmlessly for a goal kick.
While Hall was almost the creative hero, he was also very capable at his day job as well. Liversedge got the ball high up the pitch and quickly sent a cross in. Alfie Raw was in the perfect place to score but a reflex save from Hall kept them to one. Not long after this, Hall’s kick landed at a Liversedge player’s feet and they continued to attack again. It was another cross from the right which landed at the far post for Paul Walker. He hit it sweetly but Hall was equal to it and palmed it over the bar.
Stocksbridge then had their best chance of the half. The ball was played in for Scott Ruthven and as he tried to turn, he went down in the box with many wanting a penalty. One wasn’t given but the ball fell for Whitham who smashed it against the post.
The Steels would be punished for their inability to take their chances at the other end. Walker sent in a beautiful lofted ball from the left and Fearon headed in to make sure the visitors had a two goal advantage going into half-time.
While the first half had plenty going on, the second did not. It became a cagey affair as Liversedge looked to contain the game as much as they could without expending much energy with another game coming on Saturday for them. After a dull midfield battle, they had some brief attacks through Raw but both of his shots were closer to the houses on the next street over than the goal.
Liversedge did get another goal though to make sure the contest was dead. The initial cross went under Walton’s feet but the striker didn’t give up and chased it down the right wing. He gathered the ball, sent it back in and Atkinson fired it in to make it 3-0.
One of the few attacks Stocksbridge had of note was around the 65th minute mark. Crofts had managed to get some space on the left and cut it back for Jordan Lemon who was playing in a far more advanced position than normal. He took a heavy touch but was able to recover it and get a shot on target but Porter was able to save.
There’d be one last dramatic moment. A long ball was sent to Stocksbridge’s side and substitute Gavin Allott raised his foot and kicked an onrushing Ed Hall in the head. A foul was given and after a lot of anger from home fans, the referee would give Allott his marching orders not long after he came on. Hall was also forced to come off and with no sub keeper on the bench, McFadyen went in goal as he has done before. He showed he was a capable keeper when claiming the ball at the feet of of an attacker, meaning Steels fans had something to cheer.
Whitham to his credit wasn’t giving up and got a decent chance at the end. He broke through the defence and cut around the defender to get a shooting opportunity. This at least tested Porter but unfortunately it meant the Steels would go without a goal, their third league game in a row without one.
MOTM: Lewis Whitham