Stocksbridge Park Steels fell to a 2-1 loss to National League North Spennymoor Town after conceding twice in two minutes.
Joe Lumsden gave Stocksbridge the lead in the first half after finishing the second time around following his first effort being saved. However 39-year-old skipper James Curtis equalised with a header after a well worked corner routine and they got the win a minute later when Rob Ramshaw headed in from another corner.
At first it seemed like it was going to be a very open game. Spennymoor went forward straight away with a long ball being played to Robert Ramshaw who flashed the ball just wide. They continued to be lively early on with Mark Anderson having a weak shot saved by Ed Hall and Glenn Taylor probably should have scored when he had space in the centre of the box but thankfully he steered the ball wide.
However Stocksbridge did show some attacking threat in the early part of the game as well. The crowd urged Sam Finlaw to shoot when he found himself in space and he did though the powerful effort went over. Nathaniel Crofts was a pain for the Spennymoor defence throughout but when he got enough space for a shot, it went wide. There was some good play after Lumsden ran through the defence without being challenged. He played the ball to an onrushing Ross Goodwin whose shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Spennymoor did show their extra quality as the game progressed as they took control of the game. Stocksbridge weren’t able to get the ball out of their own half for very long, if at all. However the defence remained solid to limit The Moors’ chances. The biggest chance for Spennymoor came when Trialist 16, who was lively throughout, robbed the ball from Rob Ludlam and went clear on goal. Hall came to the rescue with an impressive save though, continuing the good form he has shown throughout pre-season. The Moors could have had a penalty when Jason Kennedy went down in the box, but it wasn’t given.
It was against the run of play when Stocksbridge scored but they wouldn’t have cared. Crofts once again caused issues when he got on the ball and played it through to Lumsden. He carried the ball a bit before shooting though it was initially saved. The ball fell back to Lumsden though and on the second attempt, he fired in and gave the Steels the lead going into half-time.
In the second half, it was all Spennymoor. They kept the ball for what felt like forever and worked hard to make the breakthrough. But they struggled to create clear cut chances, a credit to the Steels defence. In fact, it was Stocksbridge who looked deadlier as when they went forward. Lumsden’s teasing pass was cleared on the goal line and Ludlam whistled a shot just wide after Lewis Whitham’s free kick was cleared.
Spennymoor had the biggest chance to equalise when they got a penalty. Their wing back was tripped by the trialist and the referee took a second before giving the spot kick. Glen Taylor stepped up for The Moors but smashed it against the post, keeping Stocksbridge ahead for now.
Spennymoor remained frustrated and would have thought themselves lucky when Reece Fielding’s header deflected into the goalkeeper’s arms. But eventually, they got their goal. It was a well worked short corner that was then whipped in and it was truly Captain fantastic as Curtis headed in despite Hall getting a hand to it.
A minute later, Spennymoor had the lead and the win. It was another corner but far more traditionally taken. It went to the far post and was headed across goal for Ramshaw to head it and get the expected, if far more difficult than anticipated, win for Spennymoor.
MOTM: Joe Lumsden