Men's 2s draw on the road again
By Adam Chard
Goals from Smith and Billam H mean Men's 2nd XI finish 2018 with a draw.
Halifax Men’s 2s 2
Driffield Men’s 2s 2
Scorers: Smith, Billam H.
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 8th December 2018
Park Lane Acadamy, Halifax
GK. Chard ©
3. Billam T
7. Billam H
12. Needham W
It was another long road trip for Driffield Men’s 2nd XI, as they headed to Halifax in the hope of ending 2018 on a high. It has certainly proved a tough season since being promoted over the summer and the Woldsmen were handed the chance of a morale-boosting result against a Halifax side who sat second bottom of the table.
Despite only travelling with one substitute, Driffield could field a strong team. Whilst Graham Hickie was missing from the starting line-up for the first time this season, Tom Voase and Andy Wallace would bring some good experience. There was a bit of a change in formation with Jonathan Trowsdale and Tom Billam having to play in defence, whilst Harry Billam was brought into the midfield. Goalkeeper Adam Chard took the captain’s armband for the first time.
On a grey and drizzly days in the West Yorkshire hills, it was the home side who started the brighter of the two teams. They forced Driffield onto the back foot almost immediately, however Matthew Knapton and Jonathan Trowsdale dealt with anything coming through the middle, whilst Joe Watson and Tom Billam supported.
Despite forcing a couple of penalty corners and testing Adam Chard in goal with an early shot, Halifax could find no way through and it was Driffield who started to make an impression on the game.
A quick and accurate pass from Smith, playing on the right, found Mike Sowersby, who rather rushed his first time attempt, when finding acres of space in the circle. The new partnership of Harry Billam and Jack Hardeman in the midfield was proving successful, with both players providing some insightful balls.
The Woldsmen were finding plenty of space in the final third and both Voase and Wallace came close with efforts from the top of the circle.
On 27 minutes, Driffield won a penalty corner of their own. Like in the previous match versus Sheffield Hallam, Willem Smith let an unstoppable drag flick fly, which ricocheted off the inside of the post and in, to make it 1-0.
The Woldsmen continued to dominate, although too many times players tried to dribble through the defence instead of taking the ball round.
On 30 minutes, Willem Smith found himself with a clear shot on goal but saw his shot go agonisingly wide. Will Needham was the next to find himself out of luck, when a fabulous deflection off a Hardeman strike found the keeper’s chest, before being cleared to safety.
After knocking at the door several times, Driffield finally extended their lead. A quick pass from Andrew Wallace found Harry Billam at the top of the circle. His first time reverse stick shot found the keeper unsighted, making it 2-0.
Just a minute before half time came a real blow; both Harry Billam and Willem Smith picked up injuries, with Harry Billam unable to continue.
Half time: Halifax 2s 0 Driffield 2s 2
With Driffield having to play a slightly reshuffled formation and with no substitutes, it was the home side that looked to take the advantage. Halifax began to press further up the pitch, forcing the Woldsmen to give the ball away several times.
Despite this, Joseph Watson and Andrew Wallace were providing the perfect outlet on the left. Wallace produced a sublime bit of skill, beating three players in just one movement, before beating a fourth for luck! Sadly, the resulting ball didn’t quite reach Sowersby up front.
Hard work from the home team was finally rewarded when they halved the deficit. A run into the circle from the right saw the ball pulled back, with a good finish into the roof of the net.
Worse was to come for Driffield, when Hardeman was green carded for allegedly questioning the umpire. His punishment was then extended to a yellow card when the umpire believed he had made a comment to him when walking off—something Hardeman vehemently denied.
With just 10 players, the Woldsmen managed to fend off a wave of attacks and came close to extending the lead themselves when Will Needham made a great run down the right, supported by Will Smith. However, Driffield were unable to convert the chance.
Hardeman came back on but by now Driffield looked slow and ponderous, allowing Halifax more possession as they failed to recycle the ball. On 62 minutes, after some half-hearted challenges, a Halifax attacker was allowed to waltz straight down the middle of the pitch, before finishing past Chard for a soft equaliser. From this point, the match petered out into a stalemate, as the home side settled for a valuable point.
Full time: Halifax 2s 2 Driffield 2s 2
After dominating the first half and looking much the better side, it was a case of 2 points dropped with a second half that certainly didn’t live up to expectations. Driffield finish 2018 just 1 point off the relegation zone. They start the new year on 12th January with a real six-pointer at home to Wakefield 3s.
Man of the Match: Joseph Watson—solid and assured in defence, dangerous in attack.