Stocksbridge Park Steels 1-2 Glossop North End
Injury-hit Stocksbridge Park Steels fell to defeat on New Year’s Day as Glossop North End fortuitously stole the points at Bracken Moor.
The Steels flew out of the blocks in the BetVictor South East, with Josh Nodder sending a shot resembling a cruise missile into Glossop’s goal from distance. Glossop did not seem up to much and the Steels pressed on and had several further great opportunities.
Glossop equalised out of nothing before half-time and in a second half low on quality, North End capitalised on Stocksbridge’s tiring legs to take all three points.
With a full-strength side out, it would have been a totally different story.
The end of a decade always encourages reflection and Chris Hilton must have thought that the problems he faced heading into the fixture were a throwback to his early Worsbrough Bridge days ten years ago when raising a team was not easy.
With a changing room resembling a scene out of Saving Private Ryan, Hilton managed to scrape an eleven – even then only just as several of the starting eleven were bandaged up. That included the returning to fitness Nenad Smiljanic who then had seven bells kicked out of him on the field.
On the bench, Hilton had no real options either. Illness-stricken star striker Danny Frost heroically ventured off his sickbed, but it was clear during his five minute cameo he was under the weather. Unused substitute Kurtis Turner even failed a fitness test before kick off, underlining Stocksbridge’s problems. Ross Goodwin, who did come on, was taking to the field for the first time in three months
With Luke Mangham also out because of tonsillitis, it meant Scott Ruthven led the line on his own and in the first half the striker did cause the visitors numerous problems.
It was his perseverance that forced the opener. Ruthven caused Glossop goalkeeper Dale Latham to flap at a cross. The ball was thrust into the path of Nodder who curled it into the top corner from 25 yards.
Ruthven then missed a sitter after hitting the crossbar from six-yards after pouncing on the rebound from a save by Latham.
Glossop’s only threat was down the right and that how the equaliser was found. Glossop countered from a Steels corner. Bevan Burey broke clear, made it to the Stocksbridge penalty area before centring for Mohamed Sheriff to score.
Burey was Glossop’s only danger man and he caused mayhem several times in the second half, without the visitors testing Stocksbridge’s on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Jacob Carney.
With several of their key men running on empty, Stocksbridge struggled to impose themselves and perhaps a better team would have easily put them to the sword.
The introduction of striker Braulio Maeico with 18 minutes to go proved to be the difference. His pace caught the Steels out and with one of his first touches, the striker went through and fired past Carney.
With Stocksbridge trying to throw bodies forward, Maeico almost scored again, but Carney denied him with a superb save.
Goodwin and Frost were thrown on as a last resort, but the headlines of ‘Hero Frost scores 94th minute equaliser’ were not to be, despite several dangerous forays forward.
What They Said
Stocksbridge Park Steels manager Chris Hilton
“Mistakes have cost us.
“We got the lead and then create two or three good chances we don’t take them. They then go and equalise.
“Yeah I would say in the second half that they had the majority of the possession, but I don’t think they created more chances than us.
“One mistake and they punished us. That’s the way it is at the moment.
“I think a draw would have been a fair result, on the chances created. Their manager said to me that it could gone either way.”
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Carney, Greaves, Ludlam, Foulkes, McFadyen (captain), Fielding, Lemon, Smiljanic (Goodwin), Ruthven, Swinburn (Frost), Nodder. Sub unused: Turner.
Glossop North End: Latham, Wilshaw (captain), Coulibaly, Kaye, Hartshan, Quansan, Scosozo, Merrill (Mills), Ahmadi (Maeico), Sherriff (Fitton), Burey. Sub unused: Rogers.
Who Was In Charge
Ashley Royston (7/10)
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Nenad Smiljanic (Stocksbridge Park Steels)