Sheffield FC 3 Shepshed Dynamo 2
Prior to the match, both sides were in poor form as Sheffield FC had secured only four points out of a possible 24.
Meanwhile, second-from-bottom Shepshed Dynamo had won three of their last 30 league matches.
A dominant start
The visitors made a bright start to the match when former Nottingham Forest full-back Jordan Fairclough set up Rob Norris, only for his attempt to be cleared by Daz Winter.
They continued to create chances in the opening minutes of the match, as Dan Whatsize managed to save Norris’ shot when the former Boston United forward connected with Aidan Brady’s cross.
It was the awarded corner that was the catalyst for the game’s first goal, which was scored after just five minutes.
Norris whipped the ball into the penalty area and an unmarked Greg Smith headed the ball past Whatsize.
Dynamo could have doubled their lead, just minutes later, when Dean Oliver’s header forced a difficult save from the impressive Whatsize.
The away side continued to attack and they scored their second goal after 12 minutes.
Sheffield FC’s defence struggled to break down some good link-up play from Dynamo’s forwards, and it was Norris who found the space to slot the ball past Whatsize.
Norris could have created a third goal but Oliver put a free header wide, while Whatsize made an excellent save from former Carlton Town defender Sam Leggitt.
The turning point
The game changed on the 22nd minute, though, when Smith was sent-off for a reckless two-footed tackle on Andy Gascoigne.
Sheffield FC took full advantage of this, as James Gregory’s header went inches over the bar.
The home side got back into the match when Brian Cusworth delivered the ball into the penalty area for Ant Lynam, who steered it past Saxby to make the score 2-1.
Dynamo still had chances to score, despite being down to ten-men, when Oliver headed Norris’ free-kick over the bar.
It was the home side who looked the most likely team to score, though, as captain Matt Roney’s chip was palmed away by Saxby, after the former Nuneaton Borough goalkeeper weakly punched his corner away.
A winning battle
Sheffield FC started the second half well, with Roney – who was making his 200th appearance for the club – being a constant threat on the wings.
They found an equaliser in the 47th minute, when Gregory latched onto a defence-splitting pass and found enough space to curl the ball past Saxby.
The young winger could have scored a second goal just moments later, after connecting with Winter’s free-kick, but was denied by Iain Screaton’s block.
The Dronfield-based outfit continued to create chances as Roney’s smart chip went just wide, while Lynam’s powerful shot clipped the post in the 61st minute.
The home side found a winner, though, when a penalty was awarded, after Screaton brought down Roney in the area.
Saxby saved Gascoigne’s penalty, but the former Mansfield Town midfielder tapped in the rebound from close range to score his 13th goal of the season.
Substitute Justin Jenkins nearly grabbed a dramatic last-minute equaliser for the visitors, but Whatsize produced a fine point-blank save to secure all three points for Sheffield FC.
It is the club’s first victory under caretaker manager Gavin Smith – who was appointed last week after Chris Dolby’s resignation – and will ease any faint relegation fears, as they have moved up to 16th place in the league.
Sheffield FC: Whatsize, Starosta (Hadfield, 10), Davis (Woolley, 64), Winter, White, Harrison, Roney, Gascoigne, Cusworth, Lynam (Purkiss, 79), Gregory
Goalscorers: Lynam (26), Gregory (47), Gascoigne (77)
Shepshed Dynamo: Saxby, Fairclough, Kirton (Whyley, 76), Leggitt (Steadman, 64), Dean, Screaton, Norris (Jenkins, 85), Bolland, Oliver, Smith, Brady
Goalscorers: Smith (4), Norris (12)
This match report was published by JUS News in February 2011.