Match Reports

Steels Reserves 3-1 Caribbean Sports

Written by Dakir Thanveer

Stocksbridge Park Steels Reserves won the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Saturday Cup, beating Caribbean Sports FC 3-1 in the final at Oxford Street on Saturday.

As they have done on several occasions this season, Mark Fretwell’s side started the game on the front foot, dominating possession and pegging the opponents into their own half.

Stocksbridge won the first corner of the game after just 11 minutes had passed on the clock. While Brad Adams initial delivery was defended, the Steels retained the ball in the final third in the second and third phases of play in what was a sign of the team’s dominance.

Kyle Austin soon had a go on goal, but his ambitious effort from distance was off target.

However, it was Caribbean Sports who got the first goal of the match. A lapse of concentration at the back saw a clearance go off opposition attacker Linton Lambert straight into the back of the net in the 26th minute.

Caribbean Sports came close to doubling their lead ten minutes later, with Lambert’s thumping strike from the edge of the box coming back off the crossbar.

Stocksbridge, meanwhile, continued their hunt for an equaliser on the other end. Oliver Townsend – getting on the end of a pinged ball from Sam Green – delivered a cross into the box, finding John Hennessey. The striker’s header, though, was brilliantly saved by Caribbean Sports goalkeeper Stephen Clark.

Adams had a second bite at the cherry, but Clark was on guard again.

The efforts eventually paid as Stocksbridge pulled level right at the stroke of half-time. A pinpoint cross from the right-hand side was met by Hennessey, whose header was beyond Clark’s reach this time.

Fretwell made it clear that he wanted his side to pick right where they left at half-time as he made three changes at the beginning of the second period. Matthew Lee, Thomson Cartledge and Whylie Walford replaced Adams, Townsend and Owen Oram-Jones.

Steels looked like a team on a mission right from the first whistle of the second period, taking just seconds to create their first chance of the half.  Taking a free-kick that he won himself, Declan Childes delivered a threatening inswinger into the box that only missed Hennessey in front of the goal by a whisker.

Hennessey had the ball into the back of the net four minutes later only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. The striker soon had another headed attempt on goal, getting on the end of an inswinger from Childes, but was denied by Clark on this occasion.

It became increasingly evident that it was only a matter of time before Stocksbridge took the lead, with Lee being a major headache to the Caribbean Sports defenders on the right flank.

The spectators at Oxford Street were treated to a peach of a goal in the 63rd minute when Lee made a mazy run into the box, faked a shot to go past his man and curled the ball into the bottom left corner, giving Steels the lead.

Less than ten minutes later, the tricky winger almost turned provider, playing a through ball to Walford, whose shot, though, was saved by Clark.

Stocksbridge took another step towards glory in the 77th minute, doubling their lead through Cartledge, who tapped in a neat cutback from Austin.

Austin then came close to claiming his second assist of the afternoon when he set up Adams, who was back on the pitch for Hennessey, for a close-range finish. The attacker, though, was denied by a last-ditch clearance.

Adams was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet as he had another shot saved off the line with just a minute to 90. As it happened, he had another thumping effort hit the side netting seconds later.

Ryan Mansell and Daniel Bend came on for the final few minutes of the game as Stocksbridge continued their dominance. Clark limited the damage for the opponents, saving another strike from Cartledge before the final whistle.

In the end, Stocksbridge came out of the game as deserving winners. The only frustration for the team was not being able to keep a clean sheet and score more goals.­­­

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