Final score: New Year sickener for Steelers: Manchester Storm 5-3 Sheffield

Anthony DeLuca celebrated a hat-trick after 21 minutes at Manchester
Anthony DeLuca celebrated a hat-trick after 21 minutes at Manchester

Tom Barrasso went into 2019 warning that his Steelers' team may well be potent offensively but had much to learn when it came to the art of defending.

And so it was, on the first day of the New Year as Sheffield again showed their Achilles heel, shipping in five goals - three of them in the last period. Unusually for them, they ran out of steam.

It is another strong reminder that Sheffield cannot expect to win anything until they find consistency.

They surrendered a 2-0 lead over the next-from-bottom Storm, and a hat-trick for Anthony DeLuca will now, sadly, be forgotten because of the overall 3-5 defeat.

Steelers, icing without Justin Buzzeo (thigh) and Brandon Whistle (ill,) went straight for Storm's defence with John Armstrong hitting the pipework. And the game was just 59 seconds old when DeLuca rifled in his third goal in four games to put Sheffield ahead.

DeLuca has a canny eye for a chance and found a gap above Matt Ginn's blocker. And he doubled his tally just 15 seconds later to make it 2-0 at Altrincham - he is clearly enjoying his partnership with Josh Pitt and Jordan Owens.

Matt Climie under pressure at Manchester

Matt Climie under pressure at Manchester

The 23-year-old could have sealed a hat-trick, but it was Storm next on the scoreboard. With Ryan Martinelli serving a hooking minor, Mike Hammond halved his team's arrears, much to the relief of home fans in the highest attended hockey fixture in the rink's history.

Matt Climie pulled off a decent save from American forward Rob Linsmayer and it looked like he'd kept his team's noses - but he was beaten by a Dallas Ehrhardt effort 19 seconds from the first interval.

DeLuca emulated his lightning-fast start to a period, by drilling in his hat-trick at 21;26, to give Sheffield a 3-2 advantage.

The Steeler seemed to be in every play of significance - he drew a roughing penalty from Luke Moffatt at 25;23, although the visitors couldn't make the powerplay count. Storm were also shut out when Robert Dowd saw the penalty box for slashing.

New Year's Day game

New Year's Day game

Sheffield's control of the game was ruptured in three short minutes.

First Dane Byers converted and then Linden Springer found the back of the net from the point, to create a 4-3 lead.

Ciaran Long gave them security with a fifth at 56:21.