Rushall Olympic: 1. Chris Gemmell, 2. Mitchell Tolley, 3. Jonny Haynes, 4. Lucan Spittle ©, 5. James Skedgel, 6. Nick Amos (Forde 72), 7. Ahmed Obeng (Campbell 78), 8. Christian Dacres, 9. Craig Bannister (Brady 78), 10. Alex Melbourne, 11. Luke Bottomer. Subs: 12. Gary Fitzpatrick, 14. Danny Campbell, 15. Kyle Brady, 16. Decio Gomes, 17. Alex Forde.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: 1. Ben Scott, 2. Daryl Weston, 3. Mark Whitehouse, 4. Richard Haigh, 5. Declan McGivern, 6. Anthony Tansley, 7. Andy Ring (Harrison 65), 8. Matt Telling ©, 9. Jack Muldoon (Coleman 65), 10. Scott Hogan, 11. Alex Callery. Subs: 12. Ryan Harrison, 14. Rory Coleman, 15. Kevin Davies, 16. Alec Denton (Callery 46), 17. Pete Collinge.
Referee: Mr. G. Law
Rushall Olympic cruised home to their 50th point of their debut Evo-Stik League Premier Division campaign after a clinical Craig Bannister hat-trick guided his side through to a comfortable 3-0 success against Stocksbridge Park Steels at Dales Lane.
It was a fantastic start for the hosts as they surged in to the lead within just over 90 seconds of the start as they forced a quick corner on the right. As Jonny Haynes curled the resulting flag kick into the box, it picked out BANNISTER to perfection who had the relatively simple task of stabbing home from close range.
With seven minutes gone and Rushall aiming to press home their advantage, Luke Bottomer was tripped up and from the resulting free-kick Alex Melbourne sent a curling effort around the defensive wall and marginally wide of the right hand post.
Three minutes later and a good centre from the right channel towards the far post was met by the head of Christian Dacres who could only direct it well over the Steels woodwork.
The visitors mounted their first noteworthy attack on 15 minutes when Scott Hogan darted dangerously in the box and appeared to take a tumble as Lucan Spittle came across to cover his run. As a muted penalty appeal was waived away to yield a corner from the right, Mark Whitehouse eventually picked out Andy Ring just inside the periphery of the area whose excellent header towards the left side of goal had to be brilliantly pushed around the upright by Chris Gemmell to concede another flag kick.
Seven minutes later Olympic’s Spittle was caught out by Hogan who stole a march on the Pics skipper, before cutting dangerously into the left side of the box and being denied by Gemmell who stood up extremely well to the challenge and gathered safely.
Any nerves the hosts may have harboured over their slender lead were all but banished in the 25th minutes as they double their advantage with a superb individual goal from BANNISTER. As powerhouse midfielder Nick Amos tenaciously won the ball in the centre he picked out the Pics front runner some 25 yards out who quickly looked up to spot ‘keeper Ben Scott well off his goal line and promptly directed a sublime finish into the top right corner via the custodians fingertips.
Just after the half hour mark and Stocksbridge were back on the offensive as Melbourne was caught in possession on defensive duties by the left hand by-line. However, as Hogan claimed the ball his sharp dipping drive from the edge of the box dropped just over the far post, much to the relief of the hosts.
Two minutes later and Melbourne immediately made amends with a good centre from the right that picked out Ahmed Obeng at the by-line on the far post. The wide man in turn pulled the ball back for Bannister, but a relatively weak strike from the edge of the box was safely mopped up by Scott.
Five minutes prior to the interval and as James Skedgel appeared to be infringed challenging for aerial possession at the edge of the box with Jack Muldoon, thankfully Gemmell was alert to the danger and claimed a header from the Steels forward, before the assistant referee finally saw fit to signal for a foul.
With 45 minutes on the watch a pacey 25 yard strike from the visitors James Callery was well saved by Gemmell at an awkward height, who smothered the ball safely in his midriff.
In the first minute of injury time a great ball in by Haynes through the left channel picked out Melbourne at the far post who centred low into the path of the in-rushing Obeng, but could only drive over from 10 yards out.
Half-Time: Rushall Olympic 2-0 Stocksbridge Park Steels
The first opportunity of the second period fell to the hosts as Obeng unleashed a powerful effort from just outside the box that rose marginally over the bar.
Moments later there was more danger for the visitors as Obeng got around his marker at the right hand by-line before rifling a good effort into the side netting from an acute angle.
Three minutes prior the hour mark and Olympic effectively sealed the points when some nifty footwork from Obeng allowed him to cut into the left face of the box before picking out BANNISTER who drilled clinically past ‘keeper Scott to claim a thoroughly deserved hat-trick.
Although the arrival of the third goal effectively signalled the end of the contest as a spectacle, it enabled the hosts to give their strike force some respite as Bannister and Obeng departed to earn a well deserved round of applause.
With nine minutes remaining Rushall had the ball in the back of the net for a fourth time as a centre from the right was flicked on by Kyle Brady to fellow substitute Danny Campbell who drilled confidently home on his debut, only to be denied by an off-side decision.
In the 88th minute some excellent work by Bottomer warranted more reward as he carved his way through the visitors defence towards the left hand by-line and pulled the ball back for Brady who could only hook over.
Full-Time: Rushall Olympic 3-0 Stocksbridge Park Steels