Non-League: Scott Ruthven hits four goals as Stocksbridge Park Steels run riot away at Ilkeston
Scott Ruthven hit four goals as Stocksbridge Park Steels moved up to fifth in the BetVictor South East Division, following a rousing 5-2 away victory at Ilkeston FC – who had started the day second in the table.
A win for the Robins as it turned out would have sent them top of the table. However, that never looked likely once a rampant Stocksbridge had taken control with three goals in a six-minute spell midway through the first half. They then added two more either side of the interval.
Ilkeston managed to make the scoreline look a little more respectable by pulling a couple back, but the damaged had already been done as Steels ran out comfortable winners.
Stocksbridge finally made the breakthrough they had been threatening on 19 minutes as Ruthven timed his run to perfection to head in Luke Mangham’s cross.
It was 2-0 two minutes later as home keeper Ross Durrant allowed Josh Nodder’s 25-yard effort to slip through his hands.
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Ruthven grabbed his second on 25 minutes, heading in a Kurtis Turner cross from six yards.
Mangham was denied by a last-ditch block as he bore down on goal, then Lewis Whitham ought to had made it four - only to scope a cross over the bar from inside the six-yard box as Stocksbridge ran the home defence ragged.
Five minutes before the interval and it was 4-0 with Ruthven completing his hat-trick with a firm shot from just outside the area that deflected over the keeper.
If the game wasn’t already over as a contest it certainly was three minutes after the restart as Steels netted a fifth, Ruthven tucking the ball home from close range to finish another good attacking move.
The hosts did get on the scoresheet on 64 minutes, Tom Marshall’s penalty going in off the crossbar following a rather harsh handball against Michel Trench.
With six minutes remaining Ilkeston grabbed a second on the break with a good low finish from Rod Orlando-Young after cutting inside. Ed Hall made a superb save to prevent the home side a third on 90 minutes but it was all too little too late.
Ten-man Sheffield FC picked up a good away point from a 0-0 draw at Spalding United in a game that was short on clear cut chances.
Ben Turner blasted an early chance over the crossbar while Club couldn’t make the most of a mistake when the Tulips ‘goalkeeper fumbled a Cody Prior corner just before the interval.
Marc Newsham was denied by a last-ditch tackle after the break before Rian McLean saw his header pushed to safety.
Sheffield had Rob Darkin sent off on with the 13 minutes remaining for a soft second yellow card. With the hosts looking to make their numerical advantage count, Turner came to Club’s rescue by clearing a close range shot off the line at the far post to ensure the spoils were shared.
It was another washout in the Toolstation NCE League with many games postponed due to waterlogged pitches once more. They included Hallam’s much-anticipated clash with promotion rivals Winterton Rangers at Sandygate Road, along with Handsworth’s intriguing trip to Bottesford Town.