Rotherham Men’s 2s 0
Driffield Men’s 2s 7
YHA League Division 1
Saturday 5th October 2019
Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, Rotherham
Goalscorers: Hardeman, McGhie 2, Sowersby 2, Billam H, Knapton
GK. Adam Chard
2. Graham Hickie
3. Michael Hirst
4. Matthew Knapton
5. Adam Saltonstall ©
6. Jack Hardeman
7. Harry Billam
8. Ashley Ewbank
9. Mike Sowersby
10. Ben McGhie
11. Callum Seers
12. Charlie Hall
13. George Morgan
After two wins a row, Driffield Men’s 2nd XI headed to Rotherham to see if they could maintain their 100% record. The Woldsmen have a good record at the Sheffield Hallam University ground, so there was certainly cause for optimism.
Driffield were able to name a very strong squad with a highly experienced back line and plenty of talent in midfield and attack. The only notable absences were Noddy Lamb (injured) and Willem Smith who was called up to the first team squad.
On an unseasonably sunny October day, both teams started brightly, however Driffield were the first to mount an attack of any note. Ben McGhie was looking an ever-present threat in the midfield and the home side did their best to contain him, conceded several early penalty corners.
The Driffield penalty corners didn’t work out early doors, however it was encouraging to see some inventive routines which flashed just inches wide of the post.
As the match wore on, Driffield began to dominate, with Harry Billam and Jack Hardeman working hard, whilst talented youngsters Callum Seers and George Morgan provided real speed and skill on the wing.
Ashley Ewbank was combining well down the left with Michael Hirst, which saw the experienced utility player break into the Rotherham circle on several occasions. On 15 minutes, Ben McGhie was able to unleash a vicious reverse stick strike which looked like it was on target, only to be blown for dangerous play when it struck a defender’s shoulder.
However, it wasn’t long before Driffield broke the deadlock. Some neat passing around the circle involving Callum Seers, Ben McGhie and Mike Sowersby, ended with the ball falling invitingly to Jack Hardeman and, from just a couple of yards out, the midfielder made no mistake.
By now, the home side had offered little in the way of danger up front, however the goal seemed to spark them into life and Adam Chard in goal, had to pull off a save to his right to maintain the lead.
Going into the latter stages of the half, Driffield kept knocking at the door but found it hard to get that second goal.
Half time: Rotherham 2s 0 Driffield 2s 1
Captain Adam Saltonstall made a few tactical changes at half time and these certainly paid dividends. As Rotherham came out to find an equalising goal, the Woldsmen were able to expose gaps in midfield and started to turn the screw.
With just 5 minutes gone, a great run through the middle from Ben McGhie opened up the defence and his shot took a wicked deflection off a stick to wrong foot the Rotherham keeper, making it a wholly deserved 2-0 lead.
From this point, the flood gates opened and Driffield started to assert their dominance. Harry Billam worked his socks off to chase back and rob the home side of the ball on many occasions, whilst Graham Hickie put a man-of-the-match performance in, looking calm, assured and using every inch of his experience to turn defence into attack.
Next to feature on the scoresheet was Mike Sowersby, who, turning his marker managed to scramble the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the goal. However, just 5 minutes later, he scored a much better goal. Working himself into a position on the left, he drew the keeper before calmly flicking the ball into the roof of the net.
With Adam Saltonstall coming off, Driffield could call upon the ever-reliable Charlie Hall to deputise in defence.
Rotherham forced a couple of penalty corners which Driffield defended resolutely but it was the Woldsmen who were set to continue the goal threat. The dangerous Ben McGhie again received a superb through ball from Knapton, before calmly slotting past the advancing keeper, who had played very well to keep his side in contention.
With just 7 minutes left on the clock, the Woldsmen continued the goal rout. A lovely bit of trickery on the right from George Morgan saw the ball flashed across the goal, where Harry Billam was waiting in the perfect position to pounce.
Just ahead of the full time whistle, Driffield made it a heavenly seven as Matthew Knapton flicked a penalty corner hard past the despairing keeper.
Full time: Rotherham 2s 0 Driffield 2s 7
Driffield Men’s 2s go top of the Division 1 table with their third win in a row, just ahead of close rivals Scarborough 1s. Driffield meet Scarborough on Saturday in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table derby clash and they’ll be hoping to put in a performance that has seen them score 15 and concede just 1 goal so far.
Man of the Match: Graham Hickie—a calm and assured performance, turning defence into attack at every opportunity.
As always, thanks go to sponsors YorkWold PigPro and the Spread Eagle for post-match teas.