Back to winning ways for Driffield Men’s 2s
By Adam Chard
A solitary Gate goal in an attritional match secures all three points for The Woldsmen
Driffield Men’s 2s 1
Wakefield Men’s 3s 0
Scorer: Gate A
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 12th January 2019
Driffield Sports Centre, Driffield
GK. Chard ©
8. Billam T
11. Martindale G
12. Gate A
With a winless streak which stretched back to late October, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI were looking to begin 2019 on a high with the visit of Wakefield 3s. Sitting x places below The Woldsmen in the table, Wakefield had narrowly won the corresponding fixture in November 1-0.
With a number of players back from injury, Driffield were able to name a strong squad, which included young talent in the form of George Martindale, Tom Voase and Joe Watson. Due to both Adam Saltonstall and Graham Hickie being unavailable, Jono Trowsdale partnered Matthew Knapton at the back. Goalkeeper Adam Chard took the captain’s armband for the second game in a row.
The opening five minutes was a little scrappy in parts, with neither side able to hold onto possession easily. Jack Hardeman and Willem Smith, forming the central midfield partnership, were forced to work hard to collect the ball from deep.
Both George Martindale and Tom Billam, on the left and right wing respectively, were causing the Wakefield defence some problems with their pace and incessant running.
Despite this, the Woldsmen simply couldn’t work any clear cut chances. A penalty corner on 15 minutes was squandered when the ball was mis-trapped and the visitors were able to clear the danger.
Wakefield grew in confidence as the half wore on and soon manufactured a couple of chances of their own. It was only last-ditch defending from Joe Watson and George Martindale, with an incredible save on the line, that kept the score to nil.
Driffield began to boss the play a little more, with Aaron Gate and Matthew Knapton unleashing some decisive passes from the back. Mike Sowersby and Tom Voase came close a couple of times but were crowded out by a well-organised Wakefield defence. Next, it was Willem Smith’s turn to go close, although his attempted dribble around the keeper was smothered and cleared.
Gate was also up to join the play with just a few minutes of the half to play but saw his effort go high over the bar.
The visitors just had time to win and take another penalty corner before the half time whistle blew, but experienced defending from Danny Bell, Matthew Knapton and Joe Watson saw the danger averted.
Half time: Driffield 2s 0 Wakefield 3s 0
Reverting to the same starting line-up, Driffield went on the attack at the start of the second period. Increasingly relying on the pace of George Martindale to win back possession and distribute, Driffield were, by now, certainly looking the likelier to score.
Tom Voase found himself with a good opportunity on the edge of the circle, however his shot flashed just wide.
The match became quite physical in nature, with both sides trying to dominate possession, however Driffield kept their discipline well, winning several free hits in dangerous areas.
The breakthrough came on 55 minutes. After some quick thinking from Tom Billam, a quick ball into the circle hit a Wakefield foot and a penalty corner was awarded. The ball was shifted to Willem Smith, whose initial effort was blocked, before falling to Aaron Gate, whose well-placed flick found the corner of the goal.
Wakefield desperately tried to get back into the game and their winger was green carded when following through with a dangerous swing well after the whistle had blown.
Mike Sowersby had the chance to make the game safe when put clean through on goal, however the Wakefield keeper made a solid save when a square ball may have been the better option.
The real fireworks began with just 10 minutes left. An overly robust challenge from Driffield midfielder Ben Miller appeared to incense the opposition. After one Wakefield player ran the length of the pitch to remonstrate with the official, he was shown a yellow card for his protestations. An obscene gesture aimed at the umpire resulted in a red card. Miller was also shown a yellow card for his challenge, meaning both teams would see out the game with 10 men apiece.
Wakefield went for goal with the resulting penalty corner, but goalkeeper and acting captain Adam Chard was equal to it, deflecting the ball away.
For the remaining few minutes, the Woldsmen scrapped and fought for every ball and there was a palpable relief when the final whistle blew.
Full time: Driffield 2s 1 Wakefield 3s 0
This was a big 3 points taking the team up to 7th in table, just 2 points ahead of their opponents. With the bottom half of Division 2 from 7th down to 12th separated by just 4 points, Driffield need to ensure they turn draws into wins wherever possible, through dogged determination and hard work.
This certainly wasn’t the prettiest of matches but if this team can grind out results like this, they should be able to survive in this division.
Man of the Match: George Martindale—non-stop running and energy, plus a clearance off the line, made all the difference.