Robins fall victim to clinical Steels

Pitching In Northern Premier League – East Division

North Shields 0-3 Stocksbridge Park Steels

Yesterday saw the Robins return to action at the Daren Persson Stadium for the first time of 2023, in a much anticipated clash with the inform Stocksbridge Park Steels.

A first competitive start was handed to recent signing Callum Larmouth, Evan Hogarty and Chris McDonald slotted into the defensive line as part of three changes from the last time the Robins were in competitive action on January 2nd.

The visitors were the quicker of the two sides out of the blocks, looking to apply early pressure in the opening exchanges which the Robins appeared to soak up, blocking any passage through the Steels tried to carve out.

GOAL ‘6 Stocksbridge Park Steels – Ify Ofoegbu, 0-1

Ofoegbu drifted through the middle of the Robins defence to latch onto a long ball before calmly slotting home beyond Hodgson to give the visitors an early lead.

The Robins reacted well from conceding early and looked to work a way back into the game, looking to use the outlets of Cunningham down the left with the aerial threat of Wilson up front.

Remaining patient with plenty of time on their hands, they moved the ball well, applying pressure on the Steels goal.

A flurry of corners provided a great opportunity to draw level but the all important touch was missing. Moments later the Steels were forced to clear the ball off their own goal line.

The Robins thought they had drawn level, when Jack Walker rose highest inside the penalty area to head home a Tom Potter corner, only to be deemed by the match official to have fouled Parks’ custodian Ben Townsend in the process.

At the other end, Hogdson reacted quickest, to come off his line and provide a sublime low block to deny the visitors doubling their advantage.

On the stroke of halftime, the visitor’s Ross Goodwin picked up the first caution of the afternoon for a late challenge on Tom Potter, deep inside the Robins half.

The referee brought the half proceedings to a conclusion with the Robins unlucky not to be level, the visitors looking content on sitting back, resting on their laurels with a one goal advantage.

The start to the second half saw the Robins come flying out of the blocks and straight on the attack, they set out to control the tempo of the game and reduce the visitors to very limited time in possession.

The very first attack of half was short lived, courtesy of the linesman flag to the surprise of the home following as nobody seemed to be able to pick out the guilty party.

GOAL ‘56 Stocksbridge Park Steels – Lewis Macaskill, 0-2

A loose ball in midfield was capitalized on by the visitors, the ball somehow found its way to Thomas Poole, who crossed the ball into the center towards Macaskill, who quickest to it, as he rounded the out rushing Hodsgon before slotting the ball home into an empty net and doubling the visitors lead.

Despite the setback, Shields continued to play on the front foot and look for a way back, looking to unlock the Steels defense through Potter and Larmouth.

Paul Van Zandvliet replaced the hard working Liam Doyle in midfield and was quick to get to grips with the game, linking up with Larmouth and forcing a corner. From the play the ball fell to Connor Oliver, who from 25 yards hit a tame effort over the bar.

Evan Hogarty was on hand to provide good defensive cover to deny the visitors from adding a third.

A double change for the Robins, saw Dan Turner and David Robinson replacing Dan Wilson and Cam Cunnignham respectively with a quarter of an hour left.

GOAL ‘80 Stocksbridge Park Steels – Luke Rawson, 0-3

Game, set and match.

The hosts hit on the counter, the ball played in hitting the goal frame, before being played back into the penalty area where Rawson pounced to slot home and ensure that all 3 points went home with the visitors.

Chris McDonald was cautioned for a challenge in vain to curtail another Stockbridge break away deep in their own half.

Callum Larmouth showed glimpses of his ability throughout the contest and near the depth almost pulled one back, skipping past two defenders before trying a speculative effort outside the area, narrowly going over the top.

Hodgson at the other end, was called into action tipping a header onto his goal frame to keep out the visitors from adding a fourth.

The referee brought the afternoons proceedings to an end, condemning the Robins to their second consecutive defeat of 2023.

The Pub & Kitchen Player of the Game was awarded to Evan Hogarty for a composed defensive performance.

North Shields: Hodgson, Forster, Hogarty, Doyle (Van Zandvliet), McDonald, Walker, Potter, Oliver ©, Wilson (Turner), Larmouth, Cunningham (Robinson).

Subs not used: Chrisp, Palmer

Next game up for the Robins is next Saturday 4th Feb, as we make the trip to West Yorkshire as we take on Brighouse Town.