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

Sheffield Steelers celebrate in Saturday's win at Manchester. Pic Dean Rose
Sheffield Steelers celebrate in Saturday's win at Manchester. Pic Dean Rose

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 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.

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.