A hard day at the mill: Airedale leave Men’s 2s feeling deflated
By Adam Chard
Goals from Saltonstall and Hardeman not enough to avoid first defeat of the season
Airedale Men’s 1s 3
Driffield Men’s 2s 2
Scorers: Saltonstall, Hardeman
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 29th September 2018
Titus Salt School, Saltaire
4. Saltonstall ©
After the elation of a 7-0 home win in their opening fixture of the season, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI were on the road, visiting pastures new. It was the first time the team had ever faced Airedale, who play in the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire, meaning the opposition would be an unknown quantity.
With some players unavailable, the Woldsmen travelled with just one substitute. Defender Joseph Watson came back into the side, whilst Jonathan Trowsdale and Willem Smith were asked to play as strikers in a formation change.
The famous Salt’s Mill formed the backdrop to the game on an unseasonably warm and sunny September afternoon and namesake Adam “Salty” Saltonstall would be hoping for some industrious work from his team to get a result.
Both teams started in positive fashion with some swift attacking play. Airedale, in particular, were feeding their exceptionally pacy winger, however a Joseph Watson and Graham Hickie did a good job in keeping him quiet.
As the game wore on, Driffield began to make an impression from an attacking point of view. Willem Smith and Jonathan Trowsdale created some half chances, however the Airedale keeper was rarely called into any serious action.
Callum Sears again showed composure way beyond his years when called upon and Michael Hirst proved to be a calming influence in midfield.
As the half wore on, the home side grew in confidence, despite the Woldsmen’s best efforts. After winning a penalty corner, a mis-trapped stop crucially gave the Airedale striker an extra second to compose himself before drilling a powerful strike which beat both Adam Chard and Adam Saltonstall on the right post.
Driffield rallied and forced a penalty corner of their own, after Jack Hardeman put the ball onto a foot in the circle. However, Adam Saltonstall’s strike went wide.
The Woldsmen were to rue missed opportunities when Airedale struck again. With just 5 minutes to go until half time, a piece of skill on the wing set their attack free. With a 2-on-1 situation, keeper Adam Chard could only look on as the ball was slipped to the Airedale No 12 for an easy tap in.
Half time: Airedale 1s 2 Driffield 2s 0
Driffield needed a response to their initial set back and they certainly got one. With Graham Hickie leading the charge, the visitors began to press and harry the Airedale defence, forcing a number of mistakes and dominating the play.
Marcus Chacksfield and Joe Watson were both doing a great job overlapping and giving an extra attacking option in behind the defence. Patient play got its just reward, when another penalty corner was awarded. This time, Adam Saltonstall’s strike was deadly, cutting the deficit.
The home side were clearly under intolerable pressure as the Woldsmen turned the screw. Ash Ewbank was playing like a man possessed, getting into some very dangerous positions. Another penalty corner saw Willem Smith pull a drag flick out of his bag, which was well saved by the Airedale keeper. However, just moments later, Willem Smith was forced to hobble off the pitch with his shin pad split in two, after running into a rugged challenge.
With Smith off the pitch, the momentum swung in the home side’s favour and they forced a penalty corner of their own. After another break down in the routine, the ball fell kindly for their winger whose shot beat Adam Chard in goal to make it 3-1.
Worse was to come. With Driffield now having to throw caution to the wind, Adam Saltonstall chased down a long ball upfield and went down heavily in a collision with an Airedale attacker. With Saltonstall unable to continue and only one substitute, the injured Smith was forced to come back on and play out the rest of the game.
Showing true grit and determination, Driffield put the home side on the back foot for the remainder of the game. With just a couple of minutes on the clock, a neat ball through from Ash Ewbank found Jack Hardeman lurking. His deft touch diverted the ball past the on-rushing keeper to give the visitors faint hope. Sadly for the Woldsmen, their last attacking play came to nothing, as the umpire blew for full time.
Full time: Airedale 1s 3 Driffield 2s 2
Losing Captain Adam Saltonstall with what looks like a long-term injury was a real blow for Driffield, who had played with a revitalised spirit in the second half. Despite the loss, the Woldsmen shouldn’t feel disheartened. Their spirit and resilience demonstrated the sort of character they will need to survive in this tough division.
This coming weekend, City of York 4s make the short trip up Garrowby Hill to face Driffield 2s.
Man of the Match: Graham Hickie—a commanding display in both defence and attack.