NPL
Reserve Reports

Wakefield AFC 1-1 Steels Reserves

The Steels Reserves managed to hold on for a point at high flying Wakefield AFC, in-form Jimmy Middleton put the Steels ahead in the third minute with a tidy finish over the keeper. However the pendulum swung midway through the half and Owen Kirman fired a low effort which snuck inside the post.

As the referee blew the whistle to mark the start of the first half, challenges flew in simultaneously which was an indicator of the physicality of this game.

It didn’t take long for the Steels to find themselves ahead, Dan Broomhead drove towards goal and faked the shot, instead of taking it he played a deft throughball to an unmarked Jimmy Middleton who beat the offside trap and with his trademark composure, lifted it over the onrushing goalkeeper into the bottom corner.

This marked the start of a dogged part in the match, both teams favoured the physical approach which made for entertaining viewing. A ridged backline and forward pressing made it difficult for the hosts to get themselves into the match.

However, this dominant spell wouldn’t last as Wakefield’s Owen Kirman tried his luck from just outside the area, his effort managed to squeeze through bodies in red and white, off both posts and into the net to equalise.

Minutes later, Wakefield tried again with a similar effort but this time Steels keeper Josh Womack gratefully grasped the shot.

Wakefield dragged themselves into the game and almost put themselves in front if not for the valiant efforts of the Steels defence, as the Wakefield left back had his shot blocked by Millen, it fell to Morrison who must’ve thought all he had to do was direct the ball towards the net, heroic bodies-on-the-line stuff from Stocksbridge’s centre-backs ensured that this wasn’t to be the case.

At the other end Clarke Greaves was inches away from getting onto the end of another Broomhead throughball, however Corey Woodward denied him the chance with a last ditch sliding challenge.

The second half began as lively as the first, but not in the favour of Holmshaw’s men – Morrison managed to shrug off his marker and take the ball round Womack, with the goal at his mercy again he attempted to finish the job but Will Middleton, who followed him the whole way, got a toe onto the shot forcing it wide, however the referee awarded a goal kick.

Wakey pushed for a second, and thought they’d had it when the ball was floated in for Woodward who nodded it towards the back post but Womack was there to smother the effort on the line.

Things got even more worrying for the Steels when Kirman weaved his way into the box only to be swiped by Will Middleton, the referee proceeded to point to the spot to give Wakey their chance to get ahead. The resulting penalty however was completely wasted by Billy Mole who tried to be too cheeky and chipped the ball well over the bar.

The game shifted slightly in Stocksbridge’s favour after couple of robust challenges, including a studs up sliding tackle on Dylan Gregory. It was after said challenge the referee decided to give captain Jamie Morris his marching orders to reduce the hosts to 10 men.

Despite this, it was the visitors who had to hold on for the points when Morrison found himself again baring down on goal 5 yards out after a cross fell to his feet, but yet again he failed to capitalise and blasted over the bar.

Stocksbridge were grateful to hear the final whistle after an incredibly physically challenging game in which they were forced to rely on defensive robustness to come away with a valuable point.

 

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