REPORT: Dronfield make it a Happy New Year with success on the road

Dronfield Town made it a Happy New Year with a comprehensive win on the road at eighth placed Worsbrough Bridge Athletic. Town moved into a three goal lead early in the second half as well as seeing a spot kick saved before their hosts gained a late consolation. Dronfield remain in fifteenth in the Northern Counties East League Division One table as a consequence of the 3-1 success but narrow the gap down to seven points on the side immediately above them, Glasshoughton Welfare. Coincidentally, Glasshoughton are the visitors to the HE Barnes Stadium next Saturday.

The game was a slow burner but when it did spring into life, it was Dronfield who took command on the heavy surface. On seventeen minutes, Mark Fereday’s left footed cross from the left wing just evaded strike partner Sam Bebbington’s head and four minutes later, Ethan Flower’s delivery from the right found Connor Chapell at the back post, whose stabbed effort went into Worsbrough keeper Ross Pritchard’s grateful hands.

By now, Dronfield had built up such a head of steam that a breakthrough seemed inevitable. On twenty five minutes, Mark Fereday’s persistence on the right resulted in a testing ball that was turned home from close range by Sam Bebbington.

It only took three further minutes for the one nil lead to become two. A superb ball up the right flank from Regan Rooke fell right into the path of a marauding Mark Fereday, who made no mistake in drilling low past Pritchard to make it two nil.

Town had the opportunity to make it three goals in five minutes but were thwarted by Briggers stopper Pritchard. Fereday’s shot was charged down by the hands of a Worsbrough defender in the area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Fereday, having his best game in a Dronfield shirt in recent memory, stepped up to take the kick only to see the shot athletically saved by the legs of Pritchard.

Undeterred, a nice move involving Fereday and Bebbington eventually saw Callum Mawbey shooting just over from the edge of the box on thirty five minutes.

It took Worsbrough fully thirty nine minutes to achieve an effort on target. Luke Francis’ header was turned round the post by Lewis Naylor and from the resulting corner, Elliot Wilson headed over the bar.

Worsbrough, aware of an under-par first half, came out livelier in the second but it was Dronfield who were to extend their advantage even further just three minutes after the break. Bebbington pulled the ball back from the by-line to the top of the area where an onrushing Callum Mawbey was on hand to smash it into the top corner and make it three nil.

Lewis Naylor’s long clearance down the Park Road slope found Sam Bebbington in the fifty fourth minute but the returning striker’s sliding effort just went past the post from twelve yards out.

Worsbrough introduced Harley Holt, Callum Walton and Mike Jepps, which resulted in a fifteen minute spell of pressure in the Dronfield half. Sheppard saw his close range shot deflected wide during this period but in truth, they had few real clear cut efforts that troubled the visitors.

Worsbrough did get a consolation on eighty six minutes. A cross from the left was flicked on as far as Dempsey Smith at the back post, who rifled home from close range to make it 3-1.

The officials managed to find a staggering six minutes of added time but when the final whistle did blow, there could have been no arguments about the destination of the three points, such was Dronfield’s dominance throughout the afternoon.

The win closes the gap on fourteenth placed Glasshoughton, defeated by 4-3 at home to Parkgate, to seven points. That gap could become four points as Dronfield welcome the West Yorkshire outfit to the HE Barnes Stadium next Saturday.

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic: Pritchard, Smith, Wilson, Wilde, Cawthorn, O’Connor, Sheppard, Glavin, Kershaw, Francis, Hutchinson. Subs: Liagve, Walton, Danville, Holt, Jepps.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Mike Fereday, Gladwin, Rooke, Wright, Hill, Chapell, Flower, Mark Fereday, Bebbington, Mawbey. Subs: Hatton, Willis, Knight, Hunter, Wood.

Attendance: 85

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