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REPORT: Dronfield go down in entertaining penultimate encounter

Dronfield Town’s penultimate game of the season ended in defeat at the hands of playoff-bound Brigg Town. Dronfield more than played their part in an entertaining encounter but goals from Andrew Taylor, Joshua Batty and the prolific Scott Phillips claimed the points for the visitors despite the reply from Town’s Danny Wood. The win secured a home semi-final in the playoffs for Brigg and left Dronfield among a group of five teams looking for a top ten finish. Town’s final game of 2021-22 sees them visit one of those sides, Hall Road Rangers next Saturday.

The contest set off at a good tempo and it was Dronfield who took the game to their promotion-seeking opponents. On 9 minutes, Charlie Stewart’s long throw from the left found Sam Terry, who shot into Brigg keeper David Birch’s arms.

Four minutes afterwards, Dronfield striker Danny Wood held off his man and carried the ball forward but didn’t quite fully connect with his shot as Birch once again saved comfortably.

It took fifteen minutes before Brigg managed their first attempt on goal. Jonathan Oglesby cut in from the left and curled a right footed strike from the edge of the area that Lewis Naylor managed to claim.

Naylor came to Dronfield’s rescue on 24 minutes when Scott Phillips headed Josh Batty into space but the Dronfield custodian came off his line well to force the Brigg attacker out of play.

The visitor’s confidence grew as Oglesby curled a dangerous effort just over the bar from the edge of the box but still they invoked a change on 37 minutes when a visibly displeased Owen Vincent was withdrawn for Andrew Taylor.

The change paid dividends five minutes later when the substitute opened the scoring. Taylor wriggled into the box and slotted low past Naylor from 12 yards out to give Brigg a 1-0 lead.

The dangerous Oglesby shot through a crowd of players a minute before the break forcing Naylor to athletically turn the ball round the post to keep the deficit at a single goal by the interval.

The second half didn’t begin well for the Derbyshire outfit. Six minutes after the resumption, Batty chased the ball down the right hand side. His attempted cross cum shot appeared to take a deflection off Dronfield’s Billy Wright but nonetheless ended in the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Despite the setback, Dronfield continued to seek a way back into the contest. Lewis Naylor’s long clearance found Sam Terry clear in space. The striker contrived to put his shot over the bar however with the goal at his mercy.

The response came shortly after though. Out of Connor Chapell’s corner, Town’s Sam Bebbington chased an apparently lost cause and turned the ball goalwards allowing Danny Wood to stab home from close range to make it 2-1.

Dronfield suffered the misfortune of Sam Terry going down in an aerial collision on 70 minutes. The striker received medical attention for several minutes before leaving the field for a hospital check-up, forcing Town into a reorganisation.

It was the visitors who were to confirm the win on 82 minutes however. A testing cross from the left was met by a sidefoot volley from Scott Phillips, who found the net from six yards out for his 41st goal of the season.

Phillips found the net once again a minute from time, from an offside position according to the officials but it was of little concern as the North Lincolnshire side claimed the three points with a 3-1 win.

The defeat sees Dronfield drop to eleventh in the Northern Counties East League Division One table ahead of their final game of the campaign away at Hull-based Hall Road Rangers. Hall Road are one of a group of teams including Armthorpe, Nostell and Ollerton vying with Dronfield for a top ten finish. Whatever the eventual outcome, the men from S18 can be proud of their efforts in the first full season since the pandemic and can look to 2022-23 with renewed optimism.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Bebbington, Stewart, Rooke, Wright, Gladwin, Chapell, Flower, Wood, Mawbey, Terry. Subs: Furness, Hill, Lester, Knight, Timms.

Brigg Town: Birch, Dawson, O’Sullivan, Richardson, Johnson, Peat, Vincent, McCarron, Phillips, Batty, Oglesby. Subs: Fisher, Fenty, Pembleton, Graves, Taylor.

Attendance: 146

Photo: Michelle Bell

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