Match Reports

Steels Reserves 1-0 Swinton Athletic

Written by Dakir Thanveer

Stocksbridge Park Steels Reserves earned a 1-0 victory over Swinton Athletic in the EV2 Sportswear Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League at home on Wednesday.

An unfortunate run of form saw Mark Fretwell’s side go into the match on the back of a five-game winless run. That, though, came to an end under the lights at Bracken Moor on Wednesday, thanks to a lone Daniel Nelson goal.

Only 12 minutes had passed when the Steels got their first chance of the game. A tidy bit of combination play between Matthew Lee and John Hennessey down the right flank allowed the latter to play a cut back into the box. On the end of it was Alex Cormack, who could not keep his shot on target.

A quarter of an hour into the game, it was evident that Stocksbridge were a team set out on putting their recent run of form behind them, pegging Swinton Athletic back into their own half.

The Steels soon received a free-kick in a dangerous position after their goalkeeper Harley Middleton claimed a Harry Hurst long ball outside his box, resulting in a booking. However, Lee’s attempt to curl the ball in with his left foot did not pan out.

Swinton Athletic had their first sight of goal in the 27th minute of the game when a tame effort appeared to be rolling into the net before Kyle Austin cleared it off the goal-line. The visitors eventually won a corner after having a second bite at the cherry, but the 17-year-old was on guard again.

Nathan Walsh thought he had given Swinton Athletic the lead two minutes later when he flicked in a pass from Ellis Hancock. The celebrations, though, were cut-short as the referee whistled for offside.

The game soon switched to the other end with Lee pouncing on a poor clearance and bursting into the box with intent. Although a promising chance, his shots failed to test the goalkeeper.

Hurst, meanwhile, was shown a yellow card for smartly stopping a counter-attack just before half-time.

The first period ended with two consecutive – albeit uneventful – corners for the Steels after Cormack had a shot saved by Middleton.

Stocksbridge picked up right where they left off, starting the second half on the front foot.

Stepping up from midfield, Declan Childes burst into the box and cut onto his right foot before attempting a curler, which whizzed past the goal.

Walsh, meanwhile, had a chance on the other end after a Stocksbridge clearance went straight to him. The Swinton Athletic frontman dribbled past a defender before having a go, but failed to test Daniel Emery in goal.

Manager Fretwell freshened things up with a double change in the 57th minute. Nelson and Kian Holloway were brought on for Whylie Walford and Lee.

A minute later, Austin was booked for a foul in the opposition half.

Cormack, meanwhile, tested Middleton in the Swinton Athletic goal with a curler attempt after initially having his corner defended. The goalkeeper, though, was up for it, saving the shot well and low.

A knock forced Tom Redman off the pitch, with Daniel Bend replacing him. Aaron Mchale moved into centre-back after the change, while Bend took his place at left-back.

There was only just over a quarter of an hour left to play when Nelson notched the winning goal for Stocksbridge. The ball found its way to the midfielder in the box after a deflection and he tucked it into the bottom left corner with composure.

Both sides made substitutions in the following minutes, with Ryan Mansell replacing Cormack for the Steels.

Walsh’s eyes lit up when he was played through on goal in the 84th minute – with the Stocksbridge players shouting for offside in vain – but Emery was alert, coming off the line to clear the danger despite having a quiet evening.

After seven minutes of added time, the referee eventually blew the final whistle, confirming a 1-0 win for Stocksbridge.

Having returned to winning ways, the Reserves now turn their attention towards the Saturday Cup final against Caribbean Sports FC on Saturday (April 20).

Steels Reserves XI: Emery; Austin, Hurst, Redman (Bend), Mchale; Cormack (Mansell), Childes Walford (Nelson); Lee (Holloway), John Hennessey, Townsend.

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