A stunning strike from Dylan Youmbi ensured Stocksbridge Park Steels got a point in their match against North Shields.
It was the visitors who started off the better but the Stocksbridge defence stopped them having any real chances in the early moments of the game. In fact, the Steels had the first shot on goal after good interplay between Lewis Macaskill and Kurtis Turner allowed the latter to have an effort only for it to be blocked.
North Shields would have the first major moment of the game though. The forward charged into the box and Elliot Murray put a challenge in, with the home crowd applauding what they thought was a great tackle. The referee thought differently though, as he pointed to the spot. Dan Wilson stepped up to take the penalty, but debutant Ben Townsend was equal to it as he dived to is left to save the spot kick.
The Steels were having to hold on with North Shields putting pressure on but they did almost take the lead. Mitch Langton ventured forward from his defensive midfield position and would successfully take on two defenders. The only thing lacking was the finish with Langton fizzing a powerful shot wide of the near post.
North Shields really should have had the lead before the end of the first half. Firstly, Connor Oliver was played in and set to go one-on-one with Townsend. Oliver though didn’t seem to know what to do when he was in the box and took too many touches, which allowed the Stocksbridge defence to get back and defend. Just a minute later, a low cross landed at the feet of a North Shields attacker but he also paused before the easiest opportunity at a goal, allowing Stocksbridge to get back to defend and ensure the first half would remain goalless.
The visitors had another great opportunity early into the second half. They had a free kick due to a handball and this gave Oliver a good opportunity. He got the free kick over the wall and it would smash off the post. That didn’t end the chance though, as Paul Van-Zandvliet rushed onto it but he couldn’t get a clean connection, allowing Kurtis Turner to clear his effort off the line.
Stocksbridge could have easily had the lead later on. Following a set piece, Stocksbridge had three shots on goal, but all of them were blocked by a North Shields defence that were resolute in trying to keep the Steels out.
North Shields’ defence would be rewarded later on with their attack giving them the lead. It would be another penalty, with a coming together being penalised by the referee despite the protestations of the Stocksbridge players. Tom Potter stepped up this time and Townsend couldn’t repeat his heroics with him being sent the wrong way.
The Steels would fight back though and the equaliser would be worth waiting for. Dylan Youmbi started driving at the defence and he decided to go for it from range. His 25-yard shot was a thunderbolt which left Finlay Hodgson with no chance, giving the youngster his first goal since moving to Stocksbridge on loan from Bradford City.
Stocksbridge easily could have stole it at the end. Johnny Oluleye was obviously inspired by his fellow loanee as he also drove the ball at goal. His shot seemed to be heading into the back of the net as well but Hodgson pulled off an amazing save to stop the Steels from an unlikely late comeback.
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