There was a second defeat in consecutive weeks for Dronfield Town but once again their performance wasn’t without its merits. Brigg Town climbed to the summit of the Northern Counties East League Division One by virtue of their 4-1 win but were more than matched by the side in fifteenth for long periods. As some distance begins to open up between the top and bottom half of the table, the Derbyshire side turn their attentions to the visit of the side immediately above them in the standings, Hall Road Rangers, next Saturday.
A key in Dronfield’s recent revival has been fast starts and today was no different. With three minutes on the clock, Ethan Flower fed Sam Bebbington, whose right footed drive from the edge of the area skidded just wide.
Chances were at a premium for the next eighteen minutes when a quick interchange from a free kick mid-way in Dronfield’s half saw Brigg’s Martin Pembleton hit the side netting on the volley.
The home side threatened further on twenty six minutes when Brigg top scorer Scott Phillips freed Josh Batty. Batty rounded Richard Henson in the Dronfield goal but dallied with his shot which was cleared off the line by Billy Wright.
Brigg took the lead on thirty six minutes. From an unlucky ricochet, the ball fell to Batty in the Dronfield penalty area. Despite going away from goal he was upended by Henson; the referee pointing to the spot immediately. Phillips stepped up to put the ball to Henson’s left hand side to make it one nil.
Brigg’s lead only lasted three minutes. Dronfield skipper Callum Mawbey evaded the Brigg defence cutting in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable finish that bounced in off the underside of the crossbar to draw the visitors deservedly level.
The game was punctuated by inconsistent officiating but it was the home side who had the better of the early chances in the second half. On forty nine minutes, Batty found Jonathan Oglesby, who brought out a good close range save from Henson, palming the ball away to his right hand side.
Jack Bowskin had an effort from distance that fizzed just wide on fifty seven minutes but it was Dronfield who had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead on the hour mark.
Mawbey showed a clean pair of heels to the Brigg rearguard but unfortunately put his shot straight at David Birch in the home side’s goal.
Brigg did take the lead two minutes after. Alfie Usher’s left wing cross was met by the head of Jack Bowskin at the far post to make it 2-1.
The final eleven minutes saw the home side seal the win with two further goals. On seventy nine minutes, Jack Richardson’s low ball from the right zipped across the face of the goal and was tapped in at the far post by Josh Batty.
Two minutes from time, a 4-1 victory was wrapped up that sent Brigg to the top of the table. Phillips, with his back to goal, fed Batty who made no mistake from close range to claim his second of the game.
Although again defeated, Dronfield were far from disgraced against another highly-resourced side from the upper reaches of the table. As a league-within-a-league opens up, the Dronfield managerial team of Chris Millington, Nick Siddons and Chris Bullock turn their focus to the following Saturday when the team immediately above Town in the league table, Hall Road Rangers, are the visitors to the HE Barnes Stadium.
Brigg Town: Birch, Bowskin, Heward, Richardson, Johnson, Pembleton, Oglesby, McCarron, Phillips, Batty, Usher. Subs: Graves, Fenty, Scart, Fisher, O’Sullivan.
Dronfield Town: Henson, Hunter, Stewart, Willis, Wright, Bovill, Flower, Rooke, Mawbey, Bebbington, Terry. Subs: Gladwin, Siddons, Chapell, Wood.