Stocksbridge Park Steels needed extra time in order to beat Prestwich Heys 2-1 in the FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay.
Prestwich got the lead as Kai Haigh scored from close range after the Steels failed to clear. Stocksbridge equalised through a close range finish through Gareth Curtis before a well hit effort from Alex O’Connor sealed the win in extra time.
Early on, both sides had chances to take the leads in five minutes. James Berry gathered the ball and his shot was pushed onto the post by Harrison Davison-Hale. The ball bounced back into play and Mitch Bryant was the first onto it. Elliot Murray was made a crucial block tackle which stopped a certain goal.
At the other end, the Steels broke on the left wing with Tomas Poole volleying the ball into the box. It bounced for Luke Rawson who hit it first time but he volleyed it just over.
Stocksbridge looked to take control of the game and were looking to get the opening goal. The Steels earned a free kick from 25 yards out and Poole hit the target but Russ Saunders made the save. However he’ll have been kicking himself when Rawson slipped him through, but Poole could only hit it over the bar.
Stocksbridge would be punished for their inability to take their chances. Kaiden Barlow’s shot was initially saved and the ball went loose in the box. The Steels were unable to clear the ball and Haigh pounced, tapping it in from close range to give Prestwich the lead going into half time.
In the second half, Stocksbridge got off to a great start. The initial shot was saved by Saunders and it went to the left of the goal. Curtis pounced onto it and hit the shot and while it was almost blocked, the forward got the ball into the back of the net for a goal that couldn’t be taken off of him.
The game would start to become more aggressive. Prestwich joint manager Lee O’Brien was very unhappy with some of the referee’s decisions, in particular the decision not to give a second yellow to Ross Goodwin. This blew up with a foul on Kurtis Turner, with the joint manager throwing several pointed words at the Stocksbridge bench. The referee had a talk with him for this, but no major decision was made.
Prestwich almost nicked it at the end with Berry’s free kick being saved by Davison-Hale and it bounced out to the Heys attackers. Some how, Stocksbridge were able to defend this and the game would go to extra time.
Just like in second half, the Steels got the best start to extra time. Poole whipped in a free kick and it evaded everyone in the box. It fell to O’Connor who duly smashed it past the goalkeeper and Stocksbridge finally had the lead.
Prestwich continued to press and look for an equaliser as they looked to force the game into penalties. Substitute Rob Payne headed over from close range when it seemed certain they’d score. Payne also had another close range shot but Davison-Hale some how saved it.
Stocksbridge would control the game well until the end and Lewis Macaskill would be a pain for Prestwich’s defence. In the end, the Steels took it to the corner and never let it leave for three minutes, sealing a win and a match against Atherton Collieries.
MOTM: Elliot Murray
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