NPL Division One East
Pontefract Collieries 0-1 Stocksbridge Park Steels
Edd Hall saved Vaughan Redford’s injury-time penalty to ensure Stocksbridge Park Steels walked away from Pontefract Collieries with their first away win of the season.
The dramatic finish provided a nervy-jangling moment for those involved with the Steels whose full-back Jordan Lemon had been sent off for handling Joao Rangel’s net-buster off-the-line in the preamble to the spot kick.
Ian Richards’ Stocksbridge had led from the 42nd minute thanks to Sam Finlaw’s first goal for the club.
It was another disappointing night for the Colls who huffed and puffed.
Even though the biggest game in their history looms on Saturday with the showdown against FC Halifax Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round, Craig Rouse named an unchanged team from their last fixture.
But Halifax manager Pete Wild, who skipped his side’s West Riding County Cup tie at Ilkley Town to watch Ponte, will not be too worried by what he witnessed.
Apart from a scramble which ended with the ball bouncing off Gavin Rothery and hitting the crossbar, Ponte did little to trouble Hall in the first half.
But then you could argue Stocksbridge had few clear-cut chances at the other end prior to the only goal of the game.
Luke Mangham made the goal with a trademark dash down the right and burst into the penalty area.
Finlaw sprinted from deep and the ball was played into his path and he stroked into the bottom corner.
Pontefract had various surges forward in the second half while Stocksbridge relied heavily on the counter-attack, although it has to be said that it was very effective.
Lewis Whitham, who surely has be on the cusp of a big move to at least the National North, has the ability to go past several players in an effortless way, was involved in two chances.
He played in Mangham who fired wide with only Ryan Musselwhite to beat.
The second opportunity saw Whitham go past at least one defender before setting Mangham free.
Mangham repaid the gesture by playing the ball across goal for Whitham who was denied a certain goal by last ditch defending from Scott Brown.
The proverbial kitchen sink was unleashed by Ponte in the final ten minutes.
Scott Smith was denied twice while Elliott Walker heroically prevented an equaliser with a goal-saving tackle before the frantic finale.
A cross from the left was cut out by an out-stretched arm from Hall as Redford sniffed a goal.
Rangel leathered the loose ball and Lemon put himself in the frame to Stocksbridge’s second choice ‘keeper after arguably produced a better save than Hall made all night by palming it off-the-line.
Cool as a cucumber referee Jack Hall immediately showed Lemon the red card and after a long delay Redford’s penalty was saved by Hall.
Pontefract Collieries: Musselwhite, Greenhough (captain), Gordon, Vann, Clarke, Brook (Brown 65), Rothery, Robson (Lazenby 70), Hey (Rangel 60), Redford, Smith. Subs unused: Shepherd, Williams.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Hall, Walker, Lemon, Finlaw (Ruthven 69), Ludlam, Fielding, Nodder (Tinker 90), Goodwin, Mangham, Turner, Whitham (Crofts 82). Subs unused: McFadyen, Lumsden.
Who Was In Charge
Jack Hall (8/10)
Always memorable drama at Ponte when Mr Hall is involved – just not wet conditions this time.
How Many Were There
Man of the Match
Elliott Walker (Stocksbridge Park Steels)