Will Smith brace means fresh points for Driff
By Adam Chard
Home win sees Men’s 2s safe for another season
Driffield Men’s 2s 2
Sheffield Hallam Men’s 5s 1
Goalscorer: Smith 2 (1 PF)
YHA League Division 2
Saturday 9th March 2019
Driffield Sports Centre, Driffield
GK. Adam Chard
2. Michael Hirst
3. Charlie Hall
4. Matthew Knapton
5. Graham Hickie ©
6. Jack Hardeman
7. Willem Smith
8. Callum Seers
9. Harry Billam
10. Mike Sowersby
11. Tom Billam
12. George Morgan
After defeat on the road, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI would be looking to secure their league status with a win versus relegation-threatened Sheffield Hallam 5s. Having drawn 2-2 in a tough encounter in the Steel City, the Woldsmen would have to be on their game to come away with the all-important three points.
With key players such as Joe Watson, Jonathan Trowsdale and Ash Ewbank unavailable, Driffield once again called upon veteran defender Charlie Hall and youngsters George Morgan and Callum Seers to bolster the side, whilst Graham Hickie took over the captain’s armband from Adam Chard.
It was the visitors who started the brightest, with some incisive attacking play right from the first whistle. Driffield were forced onto the back foot immediately and, on 3 minutes, Adam Chard was relieved to see a shot cannon off the inside of his kicker and away to safety.
Sheffield didn’t allow the home side to settle and soon forced a penalty corner. However, the experienced back line showed plenty of know-how, getting in the right position to clear the danger. Indeed, both Matthew Knapton and Charlie Hall were having a tough old day in defence, man-marking a physical attacking team.
As the game wore on, Driffield began to settle into their usual high tempo passing game. Jack Hardeman and Willem Smith both combined well in midfield, with Callum Seers and Graham Hickie providing some good overlapping options on the right.
Meanwhile, brothers Tom and Harry Billam were causing all sorts of problems down the left hand side, as they fed Mike Sowersby in. The Driffield striker being denied by a good smothering save by the Sheffield keeper.
On 27 minutes, the Woldsmen won a penalty corner, which was laid off to Matthew Knapton. His accurate strike was partially saved by the keeper who only succeeded into deflecting the shot onto a defender’s foot on the line. The “man in black” (or yellow in this instance) had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Willem Smith picked a corner and put away his penalty flick with aplomb to give Driff the lead.
With just 5 minutes until half time, Sheffield roared back down the other end in search of an equaliser. Working their way into the circle, the visiting striker let fly with a shot but Adam Chard was equal to it.
Half time: Driffield 2s 1 Sheffield Hallam 5s 0
With such a slim lead, the game was always bound to become increasingly tense—and so it proved. After one appeal to many, a Sheffield attacker saw green and the visitors were temporarily down to 9 as a midfielder was also sidelined with injury.
Driffield looked to push the advantage, coming close with strikes by Harry Billam and Mike Sowersby. Next, it was George Morgan’s turn to shine, as he left 2 defenders in his wake on a mazy run down the right wing.
Sheffield, back up to 11 players, continued to look dangerous, however Charlie Hall used all his experience to win the ball cleanly before bringing Smith and Hardeman into the play.
In a pivotal few minutes, Sheffield Hallam won a penalty corner, however the umpire blew up for an infringement. After appealing to the umpire, another Hallam player saw green. The Woldsmen went straight back down the other end and won a penalty corner of their own. The ball was injected perfectly by Mike Sowersby for Matthew Knapton to stop, before Willem Smith unleashed an unstoppable drag flick for 2-0.
Driffield could and should have made it 3-0, when a Mike Sowersby shot rebounded agonisingly off the upright and away for a sideline hit. At the other end, the visitors threatened to half the deficit when a ball across the circle was mis-hit at the back post, allowing Chard to clear away.
With just 7 minutes to go, and Charlie Hall green carded, Sheffield finally broke through, scoring a tap in at the back post after a period of pressure.
Driffield showed plenty of experience as the clock ticked down, playing the ball into the channels and keeping hold of it deep in Sheffield territory until the final whistle blew.
Full time: Driffield 2s 2 Sheffield Hallam 5s 1
This was a fully deserved win for Driffield, who are now assured of their status in what will become Yorkshire Division 1 next season. The Men’s 2nd XI now have just 2 games to go, with the chance to go above Sheffield University Bankers 4s if they win there this weekend.
Man of the Match: Will Smith—In the pursuit of happiness, Smith certainly wasn’t one of the bad boys, and things went off without a hitch for this fresh prince.
As always, thanks go to sponsors YorkWold PigPro and the Spread Eagle for post-match teas.