Acomb leave Driff M2s feeling worse for wear
By Adam Chard
Despite goals from Sowersby and Morgan, Driff suffer a 2-4 defeat
Driffield Men’s 2s 2
Acomb Men’s 1s 1
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 24th November 2018
Driffield Sports Centre, Driffield
5. Hickie ©
8. Needham W
9. Billam H
11. Billam T
14. Needham O
Despite suffering a third successive defeat, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI were looking forward to facing an Acomb side they had defeated 2-1 in a pre-season friendly. Both teams would no doubt line up differently from that wet September day but the psychological advantage would be with the Woldsmen.
Adding a further boost, Driffield could name a strengthened side with many regular second team players available, including Jack Hardeman, Tom Billam and Ashley Ewbank. Tom Voase, returning from injury would also add a bit of higher level experience to proceedings, whilst team captain Adam Saltonstall made a timely return to the bench, coming slowly back from a serious knee injury.
On a crisp winter afternoon, the game swung into action immediately, with the home side making the most of their early possession. Jack Hardeman and Jonathan Trowsdale were stroking the balls around with ease, giving wingers Tom Billam and WILLIAM Needham an early touch of the ball.
Driffield caught their visitors napping on 5 minutes. Some lovely quick play from Knapton, saw the ball played into Harry Billam whose strike was deflected deftly by Mike Sowersby to beat the keeper.
The home side continued to play some excellent hockey, pinning their York-based opponents back in their own half. With plenty of options on the bench, things were looking excellent for Driffield in these early stages.
However, as has been seen in recent weeks, the Woldsmen were the masters of their own downfall. A rare Acomb foray into the circle, combined with some slack marking, allowed the visiting striker a clear chance on goal. Adam Chard in goal managed to get a toe end on the shot, only to see it deflect and hit Matthew Knapton on the line. The umpire had no hesitation in awarding a penalty flick. Chard managed to get a stick to the resulting flick but it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball going in, making the score 1-1.
Driffield continued to press and probe, although perhaps not as quickly as they should and created a few more half chances. The most notable being a shot on the half volley from Jack Hardeman.
On 20 minutes, the home side were handed an advantage when an Acomb defender complained too much about a decision and was shown a yellow card. The Woldsmen took full advantage of the extra man and surged forward. A quick bit of passing between Marcus Chacksfield and WILLIAM Needham saw the ball played into George Morgan who deflected the ball past the stricken keeper.
Going into the last 10 minutes, Driffield found themselves down to 10 men, as Ashley Ewbank was sin-binned for persistent fouling. This proved to be a pivotal moment, as Acomb found another gear and forced a penalty corner. The resulting drag flick was good, beating Chard high and to his right, for the equaliser.
Half time: Driffield 2s 2 Acomb 1s 2
It was even stevens coming out the break. The half time team talk focused on being smarter with decision making and being first to the ball. Despite this, Driffield looked slightly laboured and Acomb began to sense an opportunity.
The Woldsmen were finding it difficult to maintain possession, with frustration clearly beginning to creep into their game. Olly Needham, on the wing, brought some relief with some excellent attacking play, whilst George Morgan continued to impress.
However, it was the visitors who struck the first blow of the second half. On 47 minutes, Acomb won another penalty corner. The initial strike was saved and cleared to the edge of the circle, however, as the defence rushed out, the ball was played back in to an unmarked forward who made no mistake, smashing his shot past Chard for 2-3.
The home side huffed and puffed but patience was running out. Captain Graham Hickie attempted to lead by example, taking the play well into the Acomb final quarter, however, the end ball was sadly lacking.
Summing up Driffield’s day, a ball fell kindly to Mike Sowersby, whose volleyed effort went agonisingly wide of the target, much to the big man’s displeasure.
Into the last 10 minutes and Acomb finally wrapped up the game. An attack down their right wing was pulled across the face of goal where their gangly forward had an easy tap in.
Full time: Wakefield 3s 1 Driffield 2s 0
Four defeats in a row prompted some frank words from team captain Saltonstall. After such a bright opening to the season, the 2nd team have struggled to maintain a consistent side, which has led to some frustrating performances. Defending in all areas of the pitch is the key to keeping experienced sides, like Acomb, at bay. The Woldsmen will have to learn fast if they are to avoid a relegation dog fight.
Driffield have the chance to pick up a badly-needed 3 points at Sheffield Hallam 5s (who sit below them in the table) on Saturday.
Man of the Match: George Morgan—some fantastic attacking play was rewarded with his first goal for the second team.