Stocksbridge Park Steels 0 Cleethorpes Town 3
By David Simpson
OWLS FLY TO COMFORTABLE ROAD WIN!
Clee moved back into play-off contention with an impressive performance in South Yorkshire. Goals from Josh Batty, Jon Oglesby and Scott Vernon saw the Owls home in a 3-0 scoreline.
After some consideration, Dave Smith elected to shake-up his selection for the must win encounter. In came Tim Lowe, Paul Walker, Craig Disley, Lewis Collins and Josh Batty. There was also a change to 4-4-2 and a midfield “diamond”, anchored by Disley and spearheaded by Collins.
The reshuffled side lined up as follows:
Goal: Theo Richardson
Defence: Tim Lowe, Paul Walker, Oli Donald, Sam Topliss
Midfield: Craig Disley, Jack Richardson, Alex Flett (captain), Lewis Collins
Attack: Brody Robertson, Josh Batty
Subs: Jack Boswell, Danny North, Jon Oglesby, Loz McKay, Scott Vernon
It was a chilly evening as the fixture got underway and the visitors were almost caught cold within the first 90 seconds. A teasing corner from the right was firmly met by a home player and the Owls were relieved to see the ball cannon away to safety off the base of the post.
After this initial scare, Clee started to play some nice football. Lowe volleyed wide from a Topliss cross and then, in the 12th minute, new pairing Robertson and Batty combined cleverly to nearly set-up a clear opportunity. Stocksbridge still had their share of possession but were limited to a couple of long-range off-target shots.
Cheered on by a decent away following for a night match, the Owls became more dominant as the clock moved towards the half-hour. Collins forced Steels’ keeper Robson into a smart low save and, shortly afterwards, Donald had a good chance. Finding space 8-yards out, the defender could not quite get the ball under full control and his effort was comfortably held.
Pressure was building and Clee got a deserved reward in the 38th minute.
Lowe, who had been mightily impressive with some rampaging runs, again made ground down the right and delivered a deep cross. Josh Batty (pictured) still had plenty to do but the returning striker looped a fine cushioned header over Robson into the net. Delight all round and particularly for the scorer, who moved to a landmark 20 goals for the season.
No more goalmouth action as the half closed, with the Owls heading in well satisfied with their fluid play in the new formation.
HT Stocksbridge PS 0 Cleethorpes Town 1 (Batty 38)
The Steels started after the interval on the front foot and enjoyed their best period, without creating a gilt-edged opening.
Once again, a right-wing corner provided the clearest moment for the home outfit, but it was headed well over. The defence, marshalled resolutely by Walker and Donald, were coping admirably and, with Disley putting in a good shift ahead of the back-line, Clee weathered the intermittent pressure.
Jon Oglesby was introduced in the 58th minute for Lewis Collins and the winger did not take too long to have a dramatic impact.
Superb persistence in the centre-circle by Robertson allowed him to pinpoint Jon Oglesby on the left. The substitute jinked inside his marker before whipping a trademark curling right-footer into the top corner. Absolute joy for the visiting fans gathered in the Jamie Vardy Stand and the strike was very reminiscent to Oglesby’s sensational finishes at Bamber Bridge and Morpeth.
The second was just what was needed and allowed Clee to become even more expansive, keeping the ball well to frustrate the hosts. Scott Vernon and Loz McKay both came on in the latter stages, replacing Josh Batty and Tim Lowe respectively.
McKay soon threatened with a run to the by-line and a decent delivery. However, Robertson, who had looked much happier in an out-and-out forward role, snatched at the chance and it disappeared into the night sky.
As the clock ticked into the last of 3 added minutes, there was to be a final moment for the travellers to savour.
Keeper Richardson played a short ball to Topliss and the full-back, who yet again had been his usual reliable self, lofted the ball along the right-wing. The defence appeared to be deceived by Robertson running back from an offside position and, whilst they looked pleadingly at the assistant, Scott Vernon accelerated clear. Using all his experience to draw Robson from his line, the striker proceeded to lift the ball over the prone stopper to round off an excellent road performance by the Owls.
HT Stocksbridge PS 0 Cleethorpes Town 3 (Batty 38, Oglesby 67, Vernon 90+3) Attendance: 105
Pleased with that… I thought we played well! Dave Smith took the bull by the horns by rightly shaking things up after the flat performance against Belper and was well rewarded for his 5 changes. Plenty for the manager to consider going forward…
That’s 23 away matches played in 2018/19 now and, having seen them all, I would place this display in third, only behind Bamber Bridge and Morpeth. Talking of which, I think Jon Oglesby is going to have plenty of entries in our goal of the season competition!! Another memorable strike.
Absolutely delighted that Josh Batty, who has sometimes cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks, got to his target 20 – he certainly knows where the goal is! Also, Craig Disley caught my eye by doing the simple things well. No qualms that some there gave the man-on-the-match to Craig but, after reflection, my own choice is Tim Lowe. For me, the full-back just gave us an added energy, particularly in the first 45.
So, one down and four to go! Anything less than 3 points at Sheffield and our season is over – this should hopefully provide us with the clarity of thought needed to grab the all-important result.
Finally, a good turn-out last night – much appreciated by the players and management afterwards. Should be another big contingent at the weekend – hope to see you at the “home of football”.
Saturday 13th April 3pm
Sdeffield FC – Evostik East
Home of Football Stadium, Sheffield Road, Dronfield, S18 2GD
Adults £8, Concessions £4
UP THE OWLS!