Stocksbridge Park Steels saw their amazing season come to an end in the most heart breaking way as they lost on penalties to Stockton Town.
Stockton started the game off well, with Matty Tymon coming close early on with a header that was denied by Ben Townsend, and soon took advantage with an early goal. The initial free kick was whipped in and Tymon was there only for his header to be saved again by Townsend. However, it fell into the path of Tom Coulthard who tapped home from close range to give the Anchors the lead.
The Anchors continued to have most of the possession the first half and they seemed to have one foot in the final after scoring their second. Lewis King’s cross seemed to be a lost cause but Cameron Painter followed it and headed it across goal. Mitch Langton seemed to have cleared it off the line, with help of his hand, but the referee believed otherwise and said it crossed the line, meaning Stockton were 2-0 up.
Stockton could have killed it off at the end of the first half. Good play gave the ball to Stephen Thompson was able to go one-on-one with Townsend. However, he blasted it over, giving Stocksbridge hope going into the second half.
And with that hope, Stocksbridge were able to take advantage. Lewis Macaskill came on at the break and made an immediate difference, cutting inside to force a save from Callum Roberts. However, he palmed it into the path of Ross Goodwin who took his time before continuing his impressive performances while heading to the North East.
Two minutes later, Stocksbridge were level. A long ball over the top couldn’t be dealt with by a Stockton defence worried about the rapid pace of Ify Ofoegbu. Roberts came out to get it but didn’t get it cleanly, allowing Ofoegbu to get onto it and knock the ball into the empty net.
Stocksbridge thought they might have stolen it as well. Stocksbridge got a controversial free kick on the left hand side and Tomas Poole sent in his usual quality delivery. Ofoegbu got onto the end of it and knocked it past Roberts, only for the linesman’s flag to go up. It denied Stocksbridge the lead and with Stockton missing some late chances, this game would go to extra time.
Extra time would be an end-to-end battle as both teams looked to take advantage of how rare it is for non-league players to go the full 120 minutes. The big moment came at the end as Stockton’s close-range deflected effort forced a stunning save from Townsend which forced the game into penalties.
Unfortunately, this would be the end for the Steels. While Townsend was able to make one save, misses from Kurtis Turner and Ify Ofoegbu meant that Mikey Roberts just needed to score his spot kick to send Stockton through. He would do so and Stocksbridge’s season would come to an end.