Stocksbridge run riot at Ashby Avenue

Sam Wilkinson branded his Lincoln United side a disgrace after the Whites fell to a 5-1 thrashing at home to ten-man Stocksbridge Park Steels last night.

A Joe Lumsden brace and goals from Matthew Reay, Scott Ruthven and Richard Stirrup sealed an emphatic victory for the away side in torrential rain at Ashby Avenue.

The defeat means Lincoln remain 13th in the Evo-Stik Division One South table

Lincoln were looking to make it three wins from three going into the game, and they started brightly. In the first minute, Jack Wightwick broke away from a ball over the back four, and found Matt Cotton with just the keeper to beat, but David Reay got down well to parry his shot away.

But the Whites’ early pressure didn’t last. After twelve minutes, Stocksbridge left back George Grayson found space on the left and swung in a cross to an unmarked Scott Ruthven, who headed into the bottom corner with keeper Phil McGann stranded.

It could have been a different story for Lincoln should Matt Cotton have buried what would have been a goal of the season contender. Wightwick’s corner was cleared away only as far as Cotton who, after a few keepy ups, fired a spectacular volley just over the bar.

But it was Stocksbridge who deservedly doubled their lead after more shoddy defending from the Whites defence. Defender Matthew Reay rose highest to nod in Rory Coleman’s corner on the half hour mark.

And the drama continued when goalscorer Reay turned hero to villain as he blatantly used his hand to block Rob Norris’ goal bound shot. The referee had no choice but to give the Stocksbridge player a straight red card and a penalty to Lincoln United. But it wasn’t to be Lincoln’s night as Danny Brooks’ penalty was saved well by the keeper to his left.

But with the extra man, the Whites started piling on the pressure, and they got their goal with a helping hand from the Stocksbridge defence. They failed to clear their lines from a simple cross, with Cotton on hand to pinch the ball, round one defender and slot past the keeper to bring his side back into the game.

But the first half wasn’t finished there. Lincoln were warned when Stocksbridge striker Joe Lumsden’s solo effort on the counter attack nearly produced a goal, but his shot was fired just wide after taking on three players.

And the Whites were duly punished for ball watching just before the half time whistle. Some standstill defending allowed Brodie Litchfield to go on a mazy run of his own. He eventually found Rory Coleman on the left, who pulled it back for Lumsden to tap in his first of the night and Stocksbridge’s two goal cushion was restored.

Wilkinson would have had some harsh words for his players at half time, but things went from bad to worse for his side just five minutes into the second half.

The ten-man visitors made it four when Richard Stirrup capitalised on some terrible defending as he struck a shot from just outside the box into the top corner, after some impressive build up play from Lumsden.

And even with the extra man, Lincoln couldn’t cope with the pace of Litchfield and Lumsden in torrential conditions. Just past the hour mark, the pair linked up yet again, Litchfield finding Lumsden in acres of space in the box, and the striker sealed his brace with a neat finish inside the penalty area to make it 5-1.

It could have been six had Lumsden converted from the spot, after Litchfield was fouled by McGann after bursting into the penalty area. But the striker couldn’t seal his hat-trick as his penalty cannoned off the crossbar.

But that was to be the last real chance of the game, as Stocksbridge Park Steels made it three wins from their last four games. Lincoln United however now languish in 13th place and have now conceded 19 goals in their last six games in all competitions, with no clean sheet since their second game of the season back in August.

Whites: Phil McGann, Harry Millard, Callum Ward, Andy Toyne, Phil Watt (C), James Blunden, Jack Wightwick, Rob Norris, Danny Brooks, Jack McGovern, Matt Cotton

Subs: Sean Cann, Connor Robinson, Callum Foster, Kian Feeley, Sam Vince.

Stocksbridge Park Steels: David Reay, Tom Charlesworth, George Grayson, Jack Poulton, Todd Jordan, Matthew Reay, Brodie Litchfield, Richard Stirrup (C), Joe Lumsden, Scott Ruthven, Rory Coleman

Subs: Ben Rhodes, Will Osgathorpe, Lee Thompson, Alex Wiles, Liam McFadyen

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