Ewbank delivers knockout blow in Lincoln
By Adam Chard
A battling performance secures all three points for the Men's 2s.
Lindum Men’s 3s 0
Driffield Men’s 2s 1
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 9th February 2019
Lindum Hockey Club, Lincoln
GK. Chard ©
9. Billam H
Picking themselves up and dusting themselves down after a 0-6 loss, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI faced the long trip to Lindum 3s in a bid to secure 3 vital points. An unexpected 2 week break due to snow had given the team ample time to recover and regroup, ready for a frenetic run-in to the end of the season.
Driffield were without key players Graham Hickie, Tom Billam and Marcus Chacksfield but welcomed back Ashley Ewbank into a streamlined squad. After drawing 1-1 versus Lindum 3s earlier in the season, the Lincoln-based outfit now sit just below Driffield in the Division 2 table, meaning this was to be a real winner-takes-all encounter.
On a sunny but blustery day, played in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral, both teams started tentatively, unable to stamp their mark on proceedings. The home side shaded the early exchanges, putting Driffield on the back foot. However, the back line of Knapton, Watson, Hirst and Trowsdale used all their experience to keep Lindum out. As the home side pressed, the Woldsmen began to play a little deeper and were in danger of losing their shape. In the midfield, Hardeman and Smith were both working hard to release Ewbank and Morgan on the wings. Pace appeared to be the key to unlocking the home defence and it was Driffield who came closest to an opener when Harry Billam tried a shot on the turn.
Lindum played a good high press when the Driffield defence were in possession and Watson and Knapton resorted to aerial balls to deal with this. Mike Sowersby was able to collect and run at the defence on several occasions but couldn’t find that final ball.
Callum Seers brought some fresh legs to proceedings, winning a penalty corner for Driffield. However, Willem Smith’s drag flick was saved by the keeper.
Lindum began to press in midfield and, after a couple of contentious back stick calls from the umpire, Jack Hardeman was shown the green card for persistent obstruction—a decision he obviously didn’t agree with!
On 30 minutes, the home side looked to push their advantage and broke through. A scramble in the circle, involving keeper Adam Chard and at least 3 defenders, resulted in a penalty corner. Hirst and Watson were out fast, before Matthew Knapton cleared the danger.
Half time: Lindum 3s 0 Driffield 2s 0
In a bid to win more possession in midfield, Driffield reverted to a 4-5-1 formation, with Mike Sowersby forging a lone role up front. The gamble appeared to pay off as Driffield attacked with more purpose.
Willem Smith was seeing more of the ball in midfield and found plenty of space to run into. A fabulous ball into the circle found Jack Hardeman, whose deft touch was well saved. Driffield forced another couple of penalty corners, although Willem Smith saw his first drag flick acrobatically saved and his second go wide.
However, it certainly wasn’t one way traffic. Lindum’s tricky striker was causing all manner of problems with close stick skills and Driffield conceded penalty corners of their own. Again, Watson, Knapton, Hirst and Trowsdale set themselves well and defended brilliantly.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, more chances came and went. First, Lindum saw a snap shot hit the inside of the post, before being cleared away. They then had a good strike which went just wide of Chard’s post.
Harry Billam was making a big difference in midfield, working his socks off to win possession and distribute to Sowersby.
With just 10 minutes left, Driffield delivered the knockout blow. A superb precision ball found the Lindum defence napping. Ashley Ewbank, who had switched wings with George Morgan, galloped into space, drew the keeper, before slipping the ball through his legs for a fabulous goal.
The home side weren’t going to take this lying down and roared straight back down the other end, forcing a penalty corner. This time, the strike was straight at Chard, who cleared away forcefully.
Lindum then had another sight at goal, with their winger putting in a good reverse stick strike, which Chard deflected with a big left hand.
By now, it was beginning the Driffield end was beginning to resemble the Alamo, with defence and midfield working hard to maintain the clean sheet.
With just seconds to go, Lindum won a penalty corner and brought all 10 outfield players up. The first effort was a drag flick, which Adam Chard saved, only for a second corner to be awarded as Jono Trowsdale had no choice but to shovel it over the back line. The next corner hit the unfortunate Trowsdale in the stomach but, as it was an effort on goal, a third corner was awarded. A passing move was half cleared to the edge of the area where it fell to a Lindum striker. His rising shot was deflected over the bar by Chard with a reaction save. The final whistle signalled the end of a frenetic last few minutes.
Full time: Lindum 3s 0 Driffield 2s 1
A vital 3 points secured which will go a long way to securing Driffield’s Division 2 status for another season. This win was down to dogged determination, with Driffield’s pace and work ethic proving slightly too much in an even contest.
This Saturday, Driffield host Airedale, seeking revenge for a 1-2 loss earlier in the season.
Man of the Match: Adam Chard—a string of saves in the last few minutes helped maintain yet another clean sheet.
As always, thanks go to sponsors YorkWold PigPro and the Spread Eagle for post-match teas.