Stocksbridge Park Steels got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Tadcaster Albion.
Despite being bottom of the table, Tadcaster started off as the better team. They were getting plenty of success on the wings but they lacked someone in the middle able to finish it off. One moment early on was Rafael Ferreira was able to get past Jordan Lemon and flash a cross across goal, but no one was there for a potential tap in.
Stocksbridge grew into the game as they half went on as they had more and more possession. They’d also get the first goal of the game though there was plenty of luck about it. Great play found Bailey-Tye Baker pushing forward and with the chance of a shot. He hit a powerful one and it ricocheted off the face of Alex O’Connor, wrong footing Tadcaster goalkeeper Josh Mazfari and getting the Steels ahead.
The Steels could have been two-nil ahead before the end of the first half as well. Good play on the right hand side got the ball into the box but various miscues from both attack and the defence saw it bounce across the penalty area before it fell to Lewis Macaskill. The ball bobbled before reaching him which made Macaskill’s volley more difficult and why it went over the bar and not into the top corner.
Tadcaster got off to a great start in the second half as they looked to get an equaliser. A short corner routine caught the Steels defence out and gave Ferreira the run of the box but he shot was charged down and blocked. A couple of minutes later, Tadcaster thought they had a penalty when Lemon tripped Ferreira, but the referee thought it was just outside of the box. They still almost got a goal from a free kick but it was crossed into James Beaston who volleyed it wide.
After resisting this pressure, Stocksbridge were able to get back in control of the fixture and they came close to doubling their lead. Charlie Wood’s pressure on the defence forced them into the mistake and they gave the ball to Luke Rawson who went one-on-one with Mazfari. Unfortunately, he could only send the ball wide.
Rawson would soon make amends though. Kurtis Turner showed a burst of pace to beat his man and get to the byline in the box. He pinned the ball back and Rawson raced onto it to score from close range and make Stocksbridge’s win a bit more secure.
This meant the game would dwindle as it approached the 90th minute though Tadcaster strained to get something back and preserve their place in the Northern Premier League. Stocksbridge almost made it 3-0 on a few occasions. Macaskill did turn the ball in from a corner, but a foul in the build-up disallowed it. O’Connor also almost got a more deliberate goal but his long range strike was well saved by Mazfari. At the other end, the closest Tadcaster got was Raj Palit’s free kick which forced Ben Townsend into an impressive save.
However, Stocksbridge held on, keeping their place in the play-offs while relegated Tadcaster in the process.