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REPORT: Dronfield end 2022 with comprehensive victory

Dronfield Town ended 2022 in the best possible way with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Nostell Miners Welfare. Goals from Callum Mawbey, Connor Chapell, Joe Pearson and Mark Fereday secured the win after Nostell had taken a shock early lead through Liam Owen. A bumper crowd of 209 at the HE Barnes Stadium watched the final fixture of the year play out, mostly in awful weather conditions, as Dronfield climbed to ninth in the Northern Counties East League Division One table. The Derbyshire side open 2023 with the long road trip to Harrogate Railway Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday.

The encounter couldn’t have opened in worse fashion for the hosts. Nostell’s Taheed Ahmed broke free and fed Jake Dickinson, whose low ball in from the right was tapped in by Liam Owen with just 3 minutes on the clock.

The early blow saw Dronfield finally get out of first gear and a pair of shots from Owen Lester and Connor Chapell, which were both deflected out for corners, signalled that the home side was in the ascendancy.

And so it proved on 19 minutes when Town’s leading scorer Callum Mawbey showed great presence to hold off a Nostell defender and fire home on the angle to make it 1-1.

Dronfield wasted no time in taking the lead only 3 minutes later. Connor Chapell cut in from the right and hit the target from the edge of the area through a crowd of players into the bottom corner to put the hosts ahead by 2-1.

The entertainment continued swiftly after when a mistake in the Dronfield defence put Joe Wood in the clear; Lewis Naylor making an excellent save in the one-on-one situation.

Nostell’s keeper Chris Borrow was injured in a fifty-fifty collision with Mawbey on the half hour mark but battled manfully through despite some obvious discomfort.

The dangerous Wood jinked through on 39 minutes but no-one was on the end of his left wing cross but the first half action didn’t end there.

On 41 minutes, Mawbey chased down a ball with the Nostell stopper Borrow. As the ball bounced up to a tempting height, the Dronfield hitman’s header bounced off the crossbar of the open goal.

Town put the game out of reach just a minute after the restart. Nostell appeared somewhat crestfallen as Mawbey’s low ball in from the right gave Joe Pearson the easiest of tasks to tap home and make it 3-1.

The visitors withdrew Wood and Dickinson and introduced Booth and Penny-Larter in a bid to get back into the game but in truth, Dronfield were well and truly in charge of affairs by this point.

Town also made changes – Mark Fereday and James Lindores entering the encounter in place of Arran Bovill and Matty Ord – and it was Fereday who saw his rising shot go just wide on 74 minutes after good work by Pearson.

A minute later, Connor Chapell’s strike hit the foot of the post but that was only a prelude to Dronfield wrapping up a comprehensive win five minutes from time.

Mark Fereday out-muscled Nostell’s Harry Atkinson to go through on goal and slide the ball past Borrow to secure a well-deserved 4-1 victory.

The win proved to be a welcome boost to Dronfield’s goal difference as well as taking them up to ninth in the Northern Counties East League Division One table, some eight points off the playoff positions.

Bank Holiday Monday (2nd January) sees Dronfield make the long journey north to second-placed Harrogate Railway Athletic, a playoff team themselves in 2021-22.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Riley, Stewart, Lester, Wright, Gladwin, Chapell, Bovill, Mawbey, Pearson, Ord. Subs: Lindores, Siddons, Knight, Fereday, Flower.

Nostell MW: Borrow, Dickinson, McGahan, Allsop, Atkinson, Hawkhead, Wood, Lalousis, Smith, Owen, Ahmed. Subs: Penny-Larter, Booth, Mamaniat.

Attendance: 209

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