Luke Mangham scored his second hat trick in a week as Stocksbridge Park Steels beat Lincoln United 4-3.
Lincoln took the lead when Benjamin Richards towered over everyone to head in. Luke Mangham equalised after getting onto the end of a Nathaniel Crofts cross before Mangham got another when he tackled the goalkeeper and then finished. Lincoln would get one back through a Hayden Cann header before the lead was restored with a backheel finish by Mangham. Stocksbridge went up by two when Kurtis Turner scored from close range though there was a nervy end to the game when Matthew Cotton scored a penalty kick. Stocksbridge would hold out for the win though.
Lincoln had the better of the early parts of the game though their chances were limited though Cotton came close with a shot from the edge of the box which would go over. This would end with a Whites goal though. Some good play allowed Lincoln to put in a cross and Richards rose higher above anyone to get on the end of it and to score.
The away side didn’t stay in the lead for very long though. Stocksbridge caught Lincoln on the counter with Crofts getting past his defender before putting in a fantastic cross which the onrushing Mangham would duly finish.
From there, Stocksbridge were able to take control and have more of the ball. They should have taken the lead from a corner as well. The ball bounced through the defence and Reece Fielding was able to get a final touch onto it to make sure it went goalwards. Jack Steggles though was down quick to prevent it from going in.
At the other end, Lincoln were starting to test Michael Roxburgh. Kallum Smith forced a save from him but it was Andy Janssen who ought to have scored. He broke through the backline of the Steels defence to go one-on-one with the young keeper but it was the on-loan Huddersfield man who won out as he closed him down quickly and saved the eventual shot.
Janssen would be made to regret his big miss instantly. The ball went to the over end and it’d land at Steggles feet. He took his time and was punished with Mangham closing him down and tackling him. With an open goal at his mercy, the striker took his goal with ease.
Lincoln got one more big opportunity before the end of the half. They had a free kick from just outside of the area and Cotton managed to get it on target. Roxburgh was equal to it though and saved it impressively, ending the first half.
The second half started with Janssen once again going clear on goal in a very similar position to what he was last time. He chose differently this time though and tried to square it to Cotton. The pass was blocked and that finished the chance off.
The chances continued for the Whites. The biggest came from a short free kick routine which fooled the Steels the defence and allowed a cross to go over everyone to the far post where Simon Biggs had the goal gaping for his header. Roxburgh though somehow got across and made an acrobatic save to keep the Steels ahead.
They wouldn’t be ahead for long though. The resulting corner was sent in and Cann was there to head in to make sure the game was level again.
Stocksbridge wouldn’t take too long to get that lead back though. The Steels got the ball on the right and sent the ball low and hard into the box for Mangham to score with the cheekiest of backheels. It was probably the best way to cap off another hat trick for the league’s 2nd highest goalscorer.
Lincoln did rally and have a few chances of their own as they looked to get back into the game. A penalty appeal was turned down after a tough challenge in the box while Cotton forced a good save from Roxburgh who was showing why he is so highly rated in this game. But they didn’t find the back of the net with this spell.
And they were punished on the counter for it. Like some of the previous goals, it came from the wings as Josh Nodder whipped one in for Kurtis Turner to finish from close range. It was his first goal since his return earlier in the season and it appeared to win the game for the Steels.
It would end up being a nervy ending for the Steels though. Janssen managed to break into the box on a ball that appeared to be innocuous at first and Roxburgh would end up taking him down when he rushed out. The goalkeeper would be booked for the foul and Cotton stepped up to send him the wrong way, scoring a penalty against Stocksbridge just like he did the last time the two teams played.
This meant that Stocksbridge would have to survive an onslaught in the last ten minutes as Lincoln threw everything at the defence to try and get a goal. Janssen continued to cause problems and his cross-cum-shot was absolutely tantalising though no striker was able to get onto the end of it. But Stocksbridge did well to prevent many chances and were able to ride the game out and claim the win.
MOTM: Luke Mangham