Stocksbridge Park Steels slipped to a 2-0 defeat despite opponents Loughborough Dynamo having two men sent off in the second half.
Loughborough took the lead with their first attack of the game with Daniel Gordon slipping past the defender after being given too much space and he was able to finish from a narrow angle. They would shortly after get a penalty following a clumsy barge by Jordan Lemon and Curt Burrows stepped up to bury the resulting spot kick. The second half would be the story of two red cards. Karl Demidh would be sent off for a two footed challenge on Michael Trench which saw the defender go off injured and goal scorer Gordon would also get his marching orders after his part in a second bookable offence.
Stocksbridge got off to a decent start as they looked to banish the poor performance from the match against Kidsgrove Athletic. Luke Mangham put in a decent cross and it ended up at the feet of Kurtis Turner who blared over. The best chance of first half would come not long after with Robert Ludlum getting a free header from a corner only for it to go into the arms of Ruben Rabstein in the Loughborough goal. Mangham would go on to have his weekly overhead kick but it was also easily saved.
Frustratingly for Stocksbridge, Loughborough scored with their first attack of the game. Daniel Gordon got too much space and was able to advance with little trouble before using some pace to pass a defender then finish from a narrow angle.
Loughborough’s second goal was another frustrating one. Jordan Lemon barged Karl Demidh down in the box when chasing the ball and the referee didn’t hesitate to give the penalty. Curt Burrows stepped up and didn’t make any mistake from the box.
Towards the end of the first half, Joe Lumsden showed some liveliness as Stocksbrodge battled to get back into the game. As well as some good runs, he was able to get some shots off. However, the first shot ended up in a neighbor’s garden while he wasn’t able to get a good enough connection on a floating ball meaning Rabstein collected to keep Loughborough 2-0 up going into half time.
Loughborough instantly had a chance to kill the game off when a lofted ball was played through and Demidh was able to latch onto it. He would then hit the ball well over in a let off for the Stocksbridge defence.
Stocksbridge’s best chance of the game came just a few minutes later. The corner saw a low cross put in and Loughborough botched their clearance. It went to Ludlum at the far post but he would end up hitting over to the anguish of the home fans.
The major drama would then happen. Loughborough missed a great chance when Burrows got clear only for his shot to be well saved by Ed Hall. However it was just a minute after when Demidh put in a shocking two-footed challenge on Trench which saw him get a straight red card. Trench would be down for four minutes but was able to walk off the pitch.
This gave Stocksbridge some energy going forward and they had some half chances. Kurtis Turner’s long range shot was saved by Rabstein, who didn’t do the best job holding onto it, before a great pass from Scott Ruthven let Mangham free but good defending put enough pressure on him to force him to hit wide.
The second red card would come shortly after. After Rabstein collected the ball following some uncertainty, Ruthven kicked the ball while it was still in his hands. This triggered yet another melee like the one that happened following Demidh’s horror challenge. After it was calmed down, the referee handed goalscorer Gordon his second booking for his part in the melee.
Stocksbridge pushed forward against the nine men but despite the two-man advantage, they were not able to create the clear cut chance which would get them back in the game. Lewis Whitham had a shot going towards the bottom corner saved and Ruthven hit a shot over from close range, but they weren’t able to break Loughborough down and slipped to their second defeat in a row.