First Team vs. Ossett Town (2 : 3)
Sheffield’s cup campaigns came to a complete halt this evening at The Home of Football, writes Stuart James, as they were undone by a battling first half performance from Evo-Stik North outfit Ossett Town who ran out 3-2 winners. Town earned a trip to Darlington next week after coming from behind, after Zeph Thomas kept up his astonishing goal rate with a volley that would rate in any striker’s top locker, the visitors silenced the home faithful with two goals in eight minutes from Nick Wood and Callum Ward.
Club rallied in the second half, and went close on several occasions, but were unable to level the scores. Ossett got the killer blow in the 83rd minute through Fernando Moke, and despite Andrew Gascoigne pulling one back a minute later, Sheffield were unable to get the vital third that would take the game to penalties.
Sheffield fielded a much changed side from the one that so impressively beat Mickleover at the weekend, but it was still a starting eleven that looked as though it meant business, and within four minutes the crowd were on their feet as the hosts took the lead in spectacular fashion. A long ball from midfield was flicked on by the head of Vill Powell, falling about 35 yards from goal with Zeph Thomas shaping for an audacious volley, one THOMAS decided to take with confidence and direction to arrow into the top corner like an Exocet missile.
It was one of the best goals seen this season, but instead of building on the early lead, Club found themselves on the back foot and defending against a determined Ossett side. After Rob Poulter had done extremely well to turn Fernando Moke’s effort round the post, Moke put in the perfect corner, with WOOD climbing at the back post to head home.
The warning should have been heeded that Town weren’t here to play a supporting role in this evening’s performance, and Club were punished in the 19th minute as Nick Wood turned provider, as his slick pass picked out WARD who slammed the ball beyond the keeper. It was no more than Ossett deserved, and a lackadaisical Sheffield side seemed content to stroll through the half, without testing the visitors once.
Instead Town looked the more likely to build on the lead, and if it wasn’t for a superb double tackle by Joe Whitehorne on James Eyres and then Calum Ward, it would have been three. The visitors had a better chance in the dying moments of the half, as Eyres whipped a fantastic ball across the face of the goal, without anyone getting the vital touch to steer it home.
The second period saw Sheffield look livelier, and to be fair shadowed a forgettable first half performance with a much improved showing, with several players looking as if they’d finally woken up. Mark Fereday made an immediate impact, crossing the ball to Andrew Gascoigne, who in turn went the closest imaginable with a header that rattled the post.
Vill Powell also had a chance to level things up, as a pin-ball style scramble saw the ball land at his feet, but he couldn’t get enough purchase on it to steer it beyond Rob Peet. Some good work between Andrew Gascoigne and the impressive Ben Algar saw the latter force a good block, whilst Callum Harrison (on his 101st appearance for the Club) tested the keeper from distance, and Mark Fereday went pretty close from 20 yards out.
As it was Sheffield were hit by a sucker punch, Fernando Moke was allowed to bring the ball from his own half unchallenged, and feeling luck was on his side MOKE let one go from 25 yards that deceived Poulter to nestle in the corner of the net. Club responded in the best possible way, and after Joel Purkiss slotted a neat ball through a flat looking backline, GASCOIGNE latched on to tuck the ball under Peet.
The final minutes saw Sheffield press, but to no avail, and despite the final few minutes seeing the hosts camped in attack Ossett held on for a well-deserved victory - and a return to Darlington for the second time in ten days.
Ben Webster's photos of the game can be viewed here.
Sheffield FC: Poulter, Turner, Waddle, Whitehorne (Burrell), Cardwell, Harrison ©, Roney, Gascoigne, Thomas (Fereday), Powell (Purkiss), Algar. Subs Not Used: Woolley, Stirrup.
Ossett Town: Peet, N.Wood, Jeff, Patterson, Connor, Qualter ©, Moke (Brandon), Fox, Eyres (McDonnell), Ward (C.Wood), Clarke-Adams. Sub Not Used: Fisher.
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