Men's 2s narrowly defeated at Acomb
By Adam Chard
Goals from Mike Sowersby and Harry Billam not quite enough on the day.
Acomb Men’s 1s 3
Driffield Men’s 2s 2
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 2nd March 2019
Energise Sports Centre, York
GK. Chard ©
5. Billam T
8. Needham O
9. Billam H
11. Needham W
With just 4 matches of the season remaining, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI needed just one more win to be mathematically sure of their place in the division next season. Standing in their way was an Acomb side who had defeated them earlier in the season.
Driffield travelled the relatively short distance with just 11 players and no subs. Charlie Hall, Will Needham and Oliver Needham all made the step up from the third team, whilst Adam Chard returned in goal, taking the captain’s armband.
Both teams started the game tentatively, with the midfield trio of Willem Smith, Harry Billam and Jack Hardeman breaking up opposition attacks. Tom Billam, playing at right back, combined well with Will Needham on the wing to keep Acomb on their toes.
Whilst both sides found it difficult to keep hold of the ball, the first clear cut chance fell to Mike Sowersby. An excellent through ball from Willem Smith found Sowersby on the gallop, forcing the keeper into a good stick save as the Driffield striker looked to get round him.
This sparked the home side into action, as they forced a succession of penalty corners. However, despite mixing up their routines, Knapton, Hall, Watson and Tom Billam were experienced enough to snuff out the danger.
Driffield then deservedly took the lead. Some great build-up play involving Oliver Needham and Jack Hardeman, saw a precise ball fed into Mike Sowersby who shrugged off a challenge before rifling the ball through the keeper’s legs.
Acomb came roaring back and equalised just 5 minutes later. Some slack marking allowed a midfielder to advance into the circle, drawing Chard before slipping it to an attacker for an easy tap in.
However, Driffield continued to press, coming close on several occasions. The speed of Will Needham was causing all sorts of problems for Acomb on the wing and Mike Sowersby was inches away from connecting with a dangerous cross.
With just a few minutes remaining in the half, more poor tracking allowed the home side to edge ahead. A free midfielder put an incisive ball past the despairing lunge of Matthew Knapton. The striker had time to compose himself before shooting past Chard, to make it 2-1.
Half time: Acomb 1s 2 Driffield 2s 1
Driffield came out decisively in the second half, looking to hit back quickly. Willem Smith continued to look dangerous, dribbling round several defenders before releasing Harry Billam.
Meanwhile, there was still plenty of work to do at the back, with Charlie Hall rolling back the years to put in a number of fine tackles. Indeed, the whole defence were coping well with Acomb’s onslaught with Knapton, Tom Billam and Watson using all their nous to prevent any clear cut chances.
On 45 minutes, a superb piece of flowing play ended in a well-crafted equaliser for the Woldsmen. A wonderfully-weighted pass from Willem Smith dropped straight into the path of Will Needham. His pinpoint cross was met first time by Harry Billam, whose accurate shot found the right hand corner of the goal.
Acomb weren’t going to take this lying down and pressed the Driffield goal. After winning several penalty corners, they finally found a way through. After an initial shot was saved, the rebound fell kindly to the home striker, whose second strike was deflected in off the bar by Charlie Hall’s stick.
The lack of substitutes was telling and Driffield rode their luck just minutes later, when the Acomb striker somehow let the ball hit his feet when an empty goal was gaping. The home side attacked again and Chard was only able to watch as a snap shot cannoned back off the post and away to danger.
Despite this, the Woldsmen looked the more likely to score going into the final ten minutes. Willem Smith had a great effort which was cleared off the line, whilst Jack Hardeman thought he had scored, only to see his shot ricochet off the inside of the keeper’s leg guard and away to safety.
In the end, it was simply a bridge too far for the 11 men of Driffield, ending in a narrow defeat.
Full time: Acomb 1s 3 Driffield 2s 2
Driffield will rightly feel aggrieved after playing so well against a side sitting in fifth place. However, it is a testament to their hard work and determination that they ran Acomb so close. The eleven men who travelled to York can certainly hold their heads up high, taking many positives into their clash with relegation-threatened Sheffield Hallam.
Man of the Match: Will Needham—speed on the wing caused Acomb no end of problems.
As always, thanks go to sponsors YorkWold PigPro and the Spread Eagle for post-match teas.