House of Steel capitulates after Cardiff score four times before hosts can reply

So we know: the gap between Steelers and Devils has widened, not narrowed. The Sheffield-reconstruction in the Summer has served only to highlight how good Cardiff are...exactly the opposite of what it was designed for.

Sunday, 23rd September 2018, 19:39 pm
Updated Monday, 24th September 2018, 09:05 am
Sheffield Steelers celebrate in Saturday's win at Manchester. Pic Dean Rose

Sunday saw Paul Thompson's men nosedive 6-1. They have now lost three of their last four.

Without injured Robert Dowd and Davey Phillips and an import recruit yet to find, they were over-run in the first 15 minutes and never recovered.

They had an early chance when Josh Pitt fired at Ben Bowns' blocker, but after that it was a horror show, especially for goalie Jackson Whistle, who was ill before the game.

His temperature worsened after he tried to pat away a loose puck, failed to make contact and Stephen Dixon slotted home at 4;25.

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Whistle was beaten by a low Craig Moore shot you'd expect the GB understudy to save two minutes later. And a deflection from Layne Ulmer slowly made its way past him for 0-3 at 7;37.

The Arena was a deadly-quiet place as he was replaced by Brad Day, who promptly faced three shots, one of which zipped past him for 0-4, courtesy of Bryce Reddick.

Devils' Mike Hedden hit the post before Sheffield started to show some character, Pitt scoring amid a scrum at the crease at 16;36.

Steelers, who had stolen a 2-1 win at Manchester Storm on Saturday with two goals in the last six minutes, needed an epic recovery. But they couldn't find a goal despite a little more fluency up front.

Pitt missed a decent chance, Tanner Eberle put in strenuous shifts and home debutant Brendan Brooks, a match-winner at Storm, hit the post.

Cardiff coach Andrew Lord called a time out as if to recognise this - he was rewarded when Joey Martin knocked in a soft goal from the edge of the crease.

Jiri Gula took a penalty and Dixon stroked in his second of the night, for 1-6.

Devils' Hedden hit the post and Matt Pope's effort was stopped on the line.

Jonathan Phillips, at least, hammered in Sheffield's second at 44;13. But it was no consolation. And the boos rang out.

Afterwards, coach Paul Thompson took responsibility for the defeat and admitted he is under pressure.