Men’s 2s suffer narrow 0-1 loss to Wakefield 3s
By Adam Chard
Another tough away day for Driff ends in defeat.
Wakefield Men’s 3s 1
Driffield Men’s 2s 0
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 17th November 2018
Wakefield Sports Club, Wakefield
5. Hickie ©
8. Needham W
9. Billam H
14. Needham O
After 2 defeats on the bounce, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI were desperately looking for 3 points to get them back on track. With a visit to Wakefield 3s, a team languishing near the bottom of YHA Division 2, the Woldsmen would have been hopeful of grabbing all three points.
In recent weeks, due to injuries and unavailability, the 2nd team have suffered a bit of a selection crisis. With key midfielder Ben Miller called up to the first team, Driff handed a debut to Under 14s player Oliver Needham. Meanwhile, Jonathan Trowsdale was pulled into an attacking midfield role alongside Matthew Knapton.
With a late start time of 3pm, Driffield had plenty of time to warm up and focus on the task in hand. However, it was the home side who came flying out of the blocks in the opening minutes. With much of the play taking place in the Driffield third, the visitors had to face an early onslaught. Lucikily, Watson, Hickie, Hall and Chacksfield were all alert, clearing away the danger.
Wakefield continued to dominate possession and, when they did break through, Adam Chard was on hand to make a smart stick save down to his right.
Despite this early possession, the home side certainly didn’t have things all their own way. Matthew Knapton was linking up well with Jonathan Trowsdale in midfield, playing some dangerous balls into Harry Billam and Mike Sowersby. However, the Woldsmen just lacked that final telling ball.
On 15 minutes, pressure finally told as Wakefield made yet another charge into the circle. A smart ball back across the face of goal found a home attacker, who finished well as Chard scrambled back across the line.
Instead of being down-hearted, Driffield then went onto play some of the best hockey of the match. Again, Knapton was pivotal, along with Harry Billam whose running and work-rate were, yet again, impeccable. With 5 minutes to go until half time, David Clifton on the right wing won a penalty corner. The ball was trapped for Matthew Knapton whose drag flick was well saved by the keeper.
Wakefield resorted to some rough house tactics at times and one of their midfielders was sin-binned for a cynical and overly physical shove into the back of the impressive Oliver Needham.
Half time: Wakefield 3s 1 Driffield 2s 0
Wakefield 3s certainly didn’t look like a team who should be near the relegation zone, as they come out with even more purpose in the second half. Again, Graham Hickie was to lead by example, making clean tackle after clean tackle and carrying the ball away smartly.
Despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Wakefield were struggling to make any clear-cut chances. Will Needham on the left was harshly penalised when tracking back to win the ball. Despite a snap flick from close range, Adam Chard was equal to it, deflecting the ball away.
Mike Sowersby and Harry Billam continued to put in the hard yards, in an attempt to force some mistakes from the Wakefield back line and came agonisingly close to snatching an equaliser on 55 minutes. Sowersby cut out a mis-timed pass and played a quick ball into Billam, who was unlucky to see his effort go just wide of the post.
As the game wore on, the pace and experience of Wakefield was telling, as the Woldsmen visibly tired. However, Driffield refused to give up, leading to a lot of time-wasting tactics from the home side which probably should have been punished earlier.
Marcus Chacksfield was having a fine game on the right of defence, as was Charlie Hall, who shadowed and blocked out several Wakefield attacks.
With just a couple of minutes to go, a Wakefield attacker was finally sin-binned for playing the ball after the whistle was gone but the 1-man advantage was too little too late for Driffield. With seconds left, a ball, which was meant to go into the circle, headed high and handsome over the goal, which just about summed up Driffield’s day.
Full time: Wakefield 3s 1 Driffield 2s 0
A third defeat in a row, whilst disappointing, shouldn’t leave Driffield downhearted. This was an excellent display against a side who will undoubtedly be at least mid-table come the end of the season. On the positive side, Driffield defended solidly throughout, with the younger players, like Oliver Needham, George Morgan, David Clifton and Marcus Chacksfield all gaining vital experience.
The Woldsmen are back at home this weekend, taking on Acomb 1s, a team they beat in a pre-season friendly.
Man of the Match: Harry Billam—for the second week running, put in loads of effort and probably should have been rewarded with a goal.