Clee welcomed Sheffield to New Linden in the unfamiliar position of bottom of the Evostik East, having gathered 2 points from the opening 4 matches. Progression in the FA Cup though meant confidence was still high in the camp and a win would allow the Owls to leapfrog the visitors.
With Oli Donald unavailable due to suspension, the management team of Marcus Newell and Dave Smith selected as follows:
Goal: Dylan Parkin
Defence: Sam Topliss, Tim Lowe, Matt Bloomer, Laurence McKay
Midfield: Josh Batty, Craig Disley, Alex Flett (captain), Lewis Collins, Jonathan Oglesby
Attack: Scott Vernon
Subs: Tom Davie, Brody Robertson, Jack Richardson, Mark Gray, Paul Walker
Almost a dream start for the Owls in the 3rd minute, when Batty ghosted in at the far post but he could not get enough purchase on the ball to beat Ross Durrant in the away goal. Leon Osbourne pulled a shot wide for the visitors, before Vernon was narrowly flagged offside when in a promising position.
A lively opening period and the game, after the home side were on top for the first 15 minutes, became fairly even.
On 30 minutes, captain Flett went on a trademark powerful run but his angled shot flashed over. This was immediately followed by a big appeal for an away penalty. However, McKay was adjudged by the referee to have won the ball cleanly.
It was the Owls who grabbed the initiative after 37 minutes and there was a hint of controversy in the build-up. A long floated ball appeared to drift harmlessly out of play but, to the surprise of Sheffield, a corner was given on the left. The defence failed to deal with the delivery and the evergreen Matt Bloomer (pictured) headed home from close range.
Just the boost needed but the joy was short-lived as the visitors responded with a 2-goal salvo before the break.
Firstly, hesitancy at the back following a long ball allowed Marc Newsham to guide home the equaliser. Worse was to follow in the last play of the half and, again, it was Newsham who profited. A cross from James Kay eluded the defence and the striker showed good control to finish past Parkin.
HT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Bloomer 37) Sheffield FC 2 (Newsham 43, 45+3)
The second 45 got off to a sensational start, with Clee completely turning around the deficit within 3 minutes of the re-start.
With only 27 seconds on the watch, winger Jon Oglesby curled in a superb shot to get the Owls level. Then, with the away defence all at sea, the prolific Josh Batty rocketed the ball home to the joy of the home faithful gathered behind the net.
Disley received the first card of the night after 50 minutes. Despite this, Clee were now in full flow and a fourth goal at this stage would perhaps have settled matters. However, it was Sheffield who scored the sixth of the evening shortly before the halfway stage of the half. Central defender Julian Lawrence climbed highest in the box to power his header home.
All to play for now as the game reached its climax and Clee made a triple substitution in a bid to secure the first league triumph of the campaign. Davie, Robertson and Richardson came on for McKay, Batty and Flett respectively.
It was end-to-end as both sides looked for the winner. Sheffield substitute Mitchell Dunne hit the woodwork when he should have scored, with the rebounding ball gratefully clutched by Parkin. Immediately, Clee went on the attack and an Oglesby shot tested Durrant, who dived low to make the save.
It was to be the visitors who made the decisive strike with 9 minutes to play. Dunne showed good acceleration to outpace Davie and his low shot flashed past Parkin to the delight of the away contingent.
The Owls battled throughout the closing stages but there was to be no late drama on this occasion as, once again, the shipping of 4 goals had cost Clee dearly.
FT Cleethorpes Town 3 (Bloomer 37, Oglesby 46, Batty 48) Sheffield FC 4 (Newsham 43, 45+3, Lawrence 66, Dunne 81) Attendance: 288
Belper Town (away)
Silver X Stadium, Christchurch Meadow, Bridge Street, Belper, DE56 1BA
Saturday 15th September – 3 pm
Adults £9, Concessions £5, Under 14s free
UP THE OWLS!
Updated 19:02 - 12 Sep 2018 by Club Man