Early mistakes cost Stocksbridge Park Steels U18 after lost 3-1 to York City U18s and got knocked out of the FA Youth Cup. A mistake from Tom Kirkland allowed Kyle Lancaster to score the opener for York after just two minutes. Ten minutes later, Blake Dury scored a free header from a corner to win the tie for the visitors from North Yorkshire.
The match was SEEMINGLY killed off in the last minute by a penalty from Brandon Finn though Blaine Pashley got a consolation for Stocksbridge after good long ball into the box caused a scramble.
An early mistake meant that the Young Steels were behind after just two minutes. Kirkland misplaced a header backed to him and in the chaos that ensued as Stocksbridge tried to clear, Lancaster was able to get the ball and fire in to give York the early lead.
And not long after it was two. York got a corner after Kirkland punched an Alfie Evans shot out for a corner. From the corner, Dury was unmarked for a simple header which doubled the lead for the North Yorkshire side.
Following these early problems which could be put down to nerves, Stocksbridge were able to grow into the game and have a few chances of their own. They came very close to getting one back when Ben Chamberlain in the York goal failed to claim the ball which left Riley Barratt with a great chance only for a crucial block from a York defender to deflect it wide.
Other chances for Stocksbridge would come later in the half. Leo Penty’s volley from the left looked certain to go in but ended up floating just over the bar. Micah Parsons came even closer not long after when his crisp shot rattled the bar. There was also a penalty shout due to a perceived trip in the box but the referee was not willing to give it on this occasion. The pressure was coming from Stocksbridge and they could count themselves unlucky not to get at least one before the break.
While Stocksbridge were having the better of the game, York did have a very good counter attack game and did remind the Young Steels they had plenty of threat of their own. Just before the end of the half they came close to killing off the tie. Luke Jones’ edge of the box shot was well saved by Kirkland and was up quickest to make the double save from a narrow angle shot by Jonny Shephard. Finn also almost got one for York when he was able to roll into some space and curl one just wide of the post.
In the second half York came out with more energy and were able to have more of the ball and keep Stocksbridge from having many chances at the other end. In the early goings, the only thing Stocksbridge fans had to get excited about was a Joseph Srour free kick which was slammed into the wall.
It was York who could have had the goal to truly finish the game off. Dury almost got a second when he was left unmarked but his header went just wide at the near post. Jones and Finn also went clear on goal but crowded themselves out before a weak shot from the latter went into the hands of Kirkland.
The excitement came towards the end of the game in stoppage time. Josh Knowles was showing some good footwork and the Stocksbridge defender went in with a sliding challenge. Despite heavy protests from the Young Steels players and staff, the referee gave the penalty. Finn stepped up and scored, though Kirkland was close to saving it after guessing the right way.
Stocksbridge at least were able to finish the game with some pride after getting a consolation goal. It was traditional route one football with a big ball into the box and it worked as York failed to clear and the substitute Pashley fired it in.
Unfortunately the loss means Stocksbridge are now out of the FA Youth Cup though their performance against an academy side the standard of York will be something to be proud about.