First half mistakes cost Stocksbridge Parks Steel as they lost 3-2 to Newcastle Town.
Newcastle got an early lead from the penalty spot as Ryan Mclean sent Hall the wrong way. Mclean got another when he made the most of a poor back pass from Matt Reay to score into an empty net. Reece Fielding put Stocksbridge back in the game with a bullet header but Newcastle got their two goal advantage through a poacher’s finish by Ryan Baxter. Mangham scored from close range to get the Steels back in it but Newcastle were able to hold on for the win.
Stocksbridge could have taken the early initiative after two chances in the third minute. Newcastle didn’t clear an early corner and Ross Goodwin was the first on it. His volley though was excellently saved by Dominic Kurasic. Kurasic would on hand 30 seconds later when Josh Nodder tried a low curler from outside of the box but the Newcastle keeper once again was able to pull off an impressive save.
The Steels would then be punished at the other end of the pitch. In what would become a familiar battle throughout the game, Mclean ran at Jordan Lemon and the winger went down after a trip. This got him a penalty and Mclean stepped up to send Hall the wrong way and give Newcastle the lead.
Nodder would then do all he could to get Stocksbridge level, but he’d be matched by Kurasic. Firstly, Nodder’s narrow angle shot from inside the box was well saved by the keeper. Then in a similar effort to the one he had in the 3rd minute, Nodder’s curler was saved by Kurasic again. This time though Stocksbridge fans thought a goal was coming when Luke Mangham was the first onto the parried ball. Unfortunately Kurasic made another impressive save and Stocksbridge were forced to wait for their goal.
As if it wasn’t bad enough Kurasic was having a blinder for Newcastle, Stocksbridge made another mistake at the back which cost them. Matt Reay misplaced his back pass to Ed Hall and Mclean was alive to it. He took the ball and hit it into the empty net for one of the easier goals he’ll score this season.
Thankfully, Stocksbridge showed spirit and got right back into the game. From a corner, Nodder put in a great ball for Reece Fielding to head in. It would be his first goal of the season and had the Steels back in this game.
But ten minutes later, Newcastle got their two goal cushion back. The initial shot from Newcastle outside the box was blocked but the clearance went right to Baxter. He wasn’t going to say no to the chance and he duly finished, putting the Staffordshire side 3-1 up.
Before the half ended, both sides had their moments. Kurtis Turner wasn’t too far off for Stocksbridge when his crossbody shot went just wide while Nodder had an effort deflected into the keeper’s hands. Newcastle had the better opportunities at the end, with Mclean once again causing havoc by running through the Steels defence before having his close range shot saved well by Hall. The Steels keeper could also be proud of his save from Joseph Berks who also managed to run through the back four before being denied by the keeper’s quick feet.
In the second half, Stocksbridge were able to make it a game again even if there was some luck. A loose ball hit the back of Scott Ruthven’s foot and almost went in though it instead rebounded onto the post. Ruthven worked hard to collect the ball and play it back to Mangham who fired it in to make it 3-2.
From there with the goalscorers Mclean and Baxter both off the pitch after being substituted, Newcastle looked to kill the game off. They did a very good job of it, limiting Stocksbridge’s attacks and giving them very few chances to equalise. They did get one good opportunity though. Mangham got the ball in some space and after being denied a chance to run into the box, he decided to have a go instead. It wasn’t too far off from going in with Kurasic making an impressive acrobatic save to keep Newcastle in the lead.
Newcastle continued to kill the game off but Stocksbridge did have a late flurry which almost stole them a point. Firstly, Kurt Turner’s thunderbolt of a low shot went just wide. The best chance would come moments later. Fielding’s weak long range shot was spiled by Kurasic and Tom Whiting came in to try and be the debut hero. But once again Kurasic pulled off some incredible heroics to make the save and get Newcastle the win.