Mens 1's Match Report - 22nd Sept 2018
By Henri Williams
Sheffield University Bankers Mens 2s - 1 v Driffield Mens 1s - 2
Driffield M1s came to SUBHC on the back of a hard pre-season of team building and getting to grips with a new formation, under the leadership of the new captain Aaron Gate. Moving from the traditional formation of 4-3-3 to 3-3-4 had produced some mixed results against Hull and Bradford in the pre-season friendlies, but had also shown some promise and it was about to be properly put to the test away from home against a strong University side.
Driffield made a nervous start to the game and could not find their form with a series of poor controls and wayward passes gifting the ball back to Sheffield Bankers. Things needed to improve fast for the Woldsmen as the Sheffield players took strong advantage of the weak Driffield play and created a number of good chances, severely testing Falkingham in goal. However, Driffield eventually managed to compose themselves and started to build confidence, moving the ball round the pitch and through midfield, with much of the play building from the back line of Needham, Jackson and Lee.
But just as Driffield were beginning to dominate possession Martindale was caught on the ball in midfield and Sheffield broke strongly and fired the ball into the Driffield D where it was deflected skilfully by a Sheffield stick and into the back of the net to take the lead 1-0.
Driffield now had an uphill battle ahead of them with only 10 minutes left of the first half. They desperately needed a quick response and they got it within minutes from Cherry. The veteran striker posted up to receive the ball just inside the Sheffield half and turned towards goal before dribbling past 4 Sheffield players and in to the opposition D. Having lost control of the ball on entering the D and seeing the keeper bearing down on him, Cherry drew on his years of experience to jab the ball past the keepers left foot to bring the scores level.
The equaliser visibly lifted the Driffield team’s spirits coming in to the 2nd half and they started to play much the better hockey. Again, the Driffield play was built from the back 3 with great maturity being shown by the youngsters Needham and Lee. The midfield and attacking players started to do an excellent job of finding space and creating channels to open up the Sheffield defensive lines and the result was that Cherry, Levitt and Martindale began to get regularly released to break at the Sheffield back line. Levitt in particular had some great chances as his hard work in the gym has returned a lot of pace to his game.
Driffield continued to ply pressure on the Sheffield defence and were duly rewarded with another goal when Cherry found Levitt with space in the opposition D, who made no mistake in slapping the ball powerfully into the back of the net to take the lead 2-1.
Driffield continued this run of strong play, dominating possession and probing the Sheffield defence for much of the rest of the half and looked like extending their lead on several occasions. However, Sheffield began to work themselves back in to the game and for the last 10 minutes began to put Driffield under the cosh. The Driffield players were made to work very hard indeed, with some gritty man marking from the midfield and some last ditch defending from the back line and Falkingham. Jackson and Gate in particular had to make an array of vital challenges and clearances around the Driffield 23 metre line. The pressure from Sheffield Bankers continued to build and in the final minute of the game they managed to scramble the ball into the back of the Driffield goal only to have it disallowed for a dangerous swing and a miss in the lead up to it. This was a big let off for Driffield who were nearly made to rue the missed opportunities earlier in the game.
Thankfully for the woldsmen the game was to end 2-1 and the team will take great heart from the 3 points as proof that the new system can be made to work. It was also great to see the talented youngsters, Needham, Lee, Voase and Martindale starting to make much more of an impact, which is very promising for the rest of the season.
Driffield will host Gateshead at the Leisure Centre next week, who were relegated from North One last season and will prove somewhat of an unknown quantity to the Woldsmen. But they will be sure to go into the game full of confidence and will want to capitalise on more of the chances the new system should continue to create for the front players.
Many thanks to the support of our Sponsors Yorkwold Pigpro and Cherry Hire.
Team: Falkingham (GK), Needham, Jackson, Lee, Gate (C), Bell, Dewhirst, Shepherd, Robson, Voase, Cherry, Martindale, Levitt.