FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Stocksbridge Park Steels 3 Scarborough Athletic 4.
By Paul Webster
Two controversial decisions in the dying minutes spoilt what was otherwise an excellent cup tie.
With the score at 3-3 and looking to be heading towards a replay as the game entered the final minute.
A long clearance from Scarborough keeper Joe Cracknall saw Lewis Clarkson get in down the left to put in a low driven cross that struck Matt Telling as he slid in with a forward. The assistant referee immediately signaled the ball had struck the midfielder on the hand much to the protests of the home side as Gary Bradshaw stepped to beat Ben Scott from the spot for the winner.
But the controversy didn’t stop there. In a last gasp Stocksbridge attack in the final minute of time added Janni Lipka’s shot was charged down by raised hands of a defender only for referee Craig Ainsworth, standing a few yard away, to wave away the penalty appeals then blow for the end of the game amid the furious home players.
Steels had taken a sixth minute lead when Brett Bowden-Lovell playing as a makeshift striker held of the challenge of a defender to rifle a shot inside the keeper‘s near post.
Scott made to fine saves to keep the home side in front before the visitors deservedly drew level on 28 minutes Clarkson going round Scott to roll the ball home after a through pass down the middle.
Stocksbridge regained the lead 34 minutes. Stephen Hoyles blasting home after a corner had been knocked down.
Steels might well have increased their lead five minutes before the break when from a James Knowles cross Nathan Joynes at the far post put a downward header inches wide.
Scott again came to the home sides rescue with two excellent saves at the start of the first half before Steels responded with Danny South heading just over on 55 minutes from a Knowles corner.
However, Scarborough hit back again on 63 minute with Bradshaw showing all his experience to curl in a fine effort from the edge of the box.
Stocksbridge though went ahead for a third time just four minutes later. Brett Lovell getting his second of the game with an angled shot that went through the keeper legs. But with 12 minutes remaining Ryan Williams put Scarborough back on level terms, knocking home the rebound after the ball had rebounded back off a post.
A draw would have been about the right result until the match officials lost the plot with two hotly disputed decisions with the feeling from both camps that if one was a penalty, then the other certainly was too.
Man-of-the-Match: Ben Scott (Stocksbridge PS)
Stocksbridge Park Steels: 6, 67, Brett Bowden Lovell. 34, Stephen Hoyles
Scarborough Athletic: 26, Lewis Clarkson. 65, 89 (Pen) Gary Bradshaw. 78, Ryan Williams.