Stocksbridge bounced back from their FA Cup exit with their best performance of the season against league high flyers Cleethorpes Town. Two goals in the first half put Steels firmly in control and in the second half the team blunted the Owls hopes of a comeback with an excellent solid team performance and then Lewis Macaskill’s first goal of the club in stoppage time putting icing on the cake.
Steels manager made one change from the team from midweek, with new signing Leigh Whelan going straight in the side. Steels were still without the injured Elliot Murray (3 weeks at least), Cody Prior (6 – 8 weeks) Jordan Lemon (10 days), Ross Goodwin is hoping to be back for Lincoln United and to comply our missing players Zack Reynolds was missing due to illness, so Baker made his home debut as well. On the bench was our other recent signing Keegan Townrow.
On a blustery afternoon Stocksbridge started brightly with an early long ball by Tinker almost catching out the keeper, Steels were not to be denied as a a excellent ball into Ify Ofeogbue allowed him to muscle past his marker and shoot low and hard into the bottom corner, for his first goal for the club and give us the lead after just 4 minutes. Stocksbridge recent record of conceding straight after scoring almost continued as the highly rated Declan Howe broke free and saw his shot cannon off the outside of the post.
Stocksbridge’s was resolute in defence with both full backs having excellent games, stopping Cleethorpes from getting crosses into the box. The rest of the first half was pretty uneventful with both teams restricted to half chances but Stocksbridge always looked the more dangerous and likely to score, O’Connor was put through after some excellent play but was unable to get a shot off. At the other end Harrison Davison Hale was a rock in goal and produced a good excellent stop to keep Steels in the lead.
A corner by Poole missed everyone and was nearly in but was cleared for another corner. Turner was having an excellent game as Whelan playing in the number 4 role, allowed Turner to be more adventurous, he was barrelling down on goal but was brought down, resulting in a yellow card for the Cleethorpes defender and a free kick that was straight down the keepers throat.
However the second goal came on 40 minutes as Poole was brought down and his free kick missed everyone, fooled the keeper and went all the way in to give Steels a 2-0 lead going into the break.
Stocksbridge fans expected an full on assualt by Cleethorpes in the second half, but Stocksbridge put in their best performance of the season to keep one of the leagues best strikers quiet and limited the Owls to only a few chances. The best chance for them came to Bateson who went clear only for Hale to produce a stunning save. They had a massive shot for handball denied but from my vantage point it was hard to tell.
61 minutes and the manager knowing that Cleethorpes was going to push up brought on Macaskill for Ify. it proved a master stroke as Lewis managed to cause havoc with Rawson for the rest of the second half. The more the game wore on the more it looked like the only team that would score would be Stocksbridge. Poole almost double his tally but a good save from the keeper. With 5 minutes to go Townrow came on to make his debut as the manager went 5 at the back to protect the clean sheet.
Then in stoppage time a great ball to Macaskill, allowed him to break free and slot past the keeper to get a goal his recent performances deserved and give Stocksbridge all 3 points. To a man this was our best performance all season and the trick now is to keep the same standard every game. If we can then we are going to be very hard to play against. The result was our first home win of the season and only our 2nd of the season. We move up to 15th but besides Worksop Town we have at least 2 games in hand on every team above us. A 10 day break now will hopefully see at least 2 players return from injury/illness.
MOTM: Jack Tinker
- vs Cleethorpes Town (H) – 08/10/22 (Photos by Ian Revitt )
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