Men's 2s brought down to earth with a bump at City of York
By Adam Chard
Six second half goals leave Driffield reeling.
City of York Men’s 4s 6
Driffield Men’s 2s 0
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 26th January 2019
York University, York
GK. Chard ©
8. Billam T
14. Billam H
After the euphoria of beating top-of-the-table Ben Rhydding 2s, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI looked to extend their unbeaten run with the relatively short journey to City of York 4s. Having drawn 1-1 with them earlier in the season, the Woldsmen were looking to carry their excellent momentum into this match.
There were several changes to squad, including the return of experienced defender Graham Hickie, whilst youngsters Marcus Chacksfield and Callum Seers came back into the starting line-up. Striker Harry Billam also took a place on the subs bench, after recovering from a broken finger.
Both teams literally struggled to find their footing in the early exchanges, with one corner of the pitch smattered in a layer of wet leaves. Indeed, Graham Hickie and Joe Watson suffered heavy falls within the first 5 minutes.
City of York began to show some of experience and skill that has seen them rise to 4th in the table. The back line of Joe Watson, Graham Hickie, Matthew Knapton and Marcus Chacksfield all had to be on top of their game as the home side ran some dangerous lines.
With York dominating proceedings, Driffield were finding it difficult to break out of their own half. Indeed, both Willem Smith and Callum Seers were having to drop deep to collect the ball, with Mike Sowersby cutting a lonely figure up front.
City of York certainly created good chances in the opening 30 minutes. Adam Chard was called into action after conceding a penalty corner, getting a big right kicker to the ball and clearing away. The home side were left wondering how they hadn’t scored as Chard made a reaction save, before blocking the ball a further 4 times.
Matthew Knapton continued his good form but received a nasty blow on the knuckles, as the ball was lifted into his body from the right wing.
The Woldsmen had relatively few sights of goal, with Tom Billam providing a couple of lively bursts across the pitch, unleashing Jack Hardeman who couldn’t quite find Mike Sowersby with the final ball.
Driffield continued to defend doggedly as the final seconds of the half ticked down.
Half time: City of York 4s 0 Driffield 2s 0
Going into the second half, Driffield continued to thwart the home side with some determined play, feeling confident they could get a result. However, as with many sporting encounters, the whole complex of the game turned on a controversial decision.
An incisive pass to the right wing found Graham Hickie in a foot race with the York attacker. After a failed tackle, the York winger appeared to knock the ball on with his foot. However, the umpire’s whistle didn’t blow and the attacker worked the ball around Chard and into the goal from a tight angle. The Woldsmen protested but to no avail.
With their tails up, York went on the attack again and within 2 minutes they had doubled their lead. Some lax marking and tackling left a striker free at the top of the circle and his shot found the bottom left corner.
Feeling that an injustice had been done, Driffield went back on the attack and forced a penalty corner. Willem Smith’s good drag flick was saved by a defender’s stick on the line and you got the feeling this simply wasn’t going to be Driffield’s day.
York continued to dominate possession and sensed blood as Driffield heads went down. Another swift break caught the defence napping. Chard made a good save to the initial strike but the ball eventually found its way to a York stick and it was shovelled over the line for 3-0.
By this point Driffield looked completely demoralised and, sadly inevitably, a fourth goal arrived quickly after the York winger had a second bite of the cherry from a penalty corner.
Up front, Callum Seers and George Martindale were making some great runs off the ball to spread the defence but the experienced York back line thwarted Driffield at every opportunity.
Fifth and sixth goals really didn’t do the Woldsmen any justice, flattering the home side somewhat.
Full time: City of York 4s 6 Driffield 2s 0
A fine first half performance was completely undone by some lacklustre play in the second. The match completely turned on a controversial decision, however it was the way the team capitulated which will be cause for concern as they look to remain in Division 2.
Next weekend, Driffield 2s host Rotherham 2s who sit rock bottom of the table, in a must-win match.
Man of the Match: Tom Billam—a lively performance on a day to forget.