Frickley Athletic were left to look back on a disappointing holiday period as a late goal denied them victory over Cleethorpes Town at Westfield Lane on New Year’s Day.
The Blues were looking to bounce back from their Boxing Day defeat and led at half-time through a Tyler Walton penalty, but were pegged back by a Lewis Collins effort five minutes from time and drew 1-1.
Manager Martin McIntosh restored Ant Wilson to the starting line-up as he partnered Jacob Hazel in attack against a Cleethorpes team that has been steadily improving in the Evo-Stik League’s East Division after a difficult start to the season.
But it was goalkeeper Hugo Warhurst who was first to make an impact with a great save to deny the visitors.
Hazel got a good shot in for the Blues only for Cleethorpes keeper Theo Richardson to make a decent save.
Warhurst saved with his legs to deny Jon Oglesby before Frickley went ahead two minutes to half-time when Hazel was brought down in the area and Walton stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way in putting away the resulting spot kick.
Into the second half the hosts created a good opportunity early on, but Ben Algar saw his effort well saved by the keeper.
Wilson went on a good run only for the promising attack to end with a corner that came to nothing.
A Hazel shot was palmed away on the hour and Josh Batty fired over for Cleethorpes, but it remained 1-0 until five minutes from time.
The visitors finished the game strongly and were rewarded with an equaliser as Lewis Collins showed composure to curl in a shot that beat Warhurst.
There was little time for Frickley to hit back and snatch a winner and after victories in his first three games in charge McIntosh has now overseen two draws and a defeat.
Frickley will be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday, but face a tough task away to league leaders Morpeth Town. The table toppers have won nine of their 11 home games so far this season and were victorious on home soil when beating Tadcaster Albion 1-0 on Tuesday.
Christmas cheer was in short supply for Frickley Athletic as they suffered their first defeat on Boxing Day since manager Martin McIntosh took over.
A goal in each half proved enough for Stocksbridge Park Steels to sink the Blues who also failed to score for the first time under their new boss as they went down 2-0.
Sam Cable returned to the starting line-up for the Evo-Stik East Division game in a straight swap for Ant Wilson while Phil Watt was available again after suspension and took a place on the bench in place of Brad Mears.
Stocksbridge made it clear that, despite their lowly league position, they were up for this one. It took only 10 minutes for them to make their pressure pay as a dangerous ball in from the right led to a scramble and after the ball eventually dropped to Scott Ruthven his shot took a wicked deflection to end in the bottom corner of the net.
Frickley looked to hit back with Cable heading narrowly wide and seeing another effort blocked, but it stayed 1-0 to half-time with both sides huffing and puffing without much end product.
The second half followed a similar pattern with openings at a premium. Tyler Walton hit one effort well over and Danny Rowe’s free-kick hit the stanchion of the home goal.
Jacob Hazel hit an effort over after a rare good passage of play, but the hosts took the game out of the Blues’ reach with a second goal in the 84th minute as substitute Alex Wiles headed home from a corner.
Sam Liversidge picked up the man of the match for Frickley after impressing at right wing back, doing well in getting forward while being sound at the back. Tom Burgin and Greg Young also battled hard in defence.