REPORT: Festive disappointment for Dronfield Town

There was festive disappointment for Dronfield Town FC despite the appearance of a bumper crowd at the HE Barnes Stadium. Visitors Parkgate FC raced into a three goal lead inside the opening half hour and added two more in the second half to complete a no-qualms 5-1 victory. Town didn’t quite reach the standards of their recent excellent run and will now look to regroup in the New Year with a visit to Worsbrough Bridge Athletic FC.

The Rotherham-based visiting side laid down an early marker with an eighth minute header from skipper James Stafford into Dronfield keeper Lewis Naylor’s grateful hands and only took another two minutes to get on the scoresheet.

A near side corner was met at the back post by Parkgate number nine Freddy Tracey to give the Steelmen a one-nil advantage.

It only took the visitors two further minutes to double their lead. Max Rhodes broke free down the right channel and made no mistake with a low shot drilled past Naylor, putting Parkgate up by 2-0.

A less-than-ideal twenty five minutes was capped for Dronfield when Parkgate got their third. Another near side corner was met by the glancing head of Stafford and at 3-0 down, there looked to be a mountain to climb for the Derbyshire side.

To their credit, the third goal did at least spark a rally from Dronfield. A neat move started on half way by youngster Isaac Knight saw the ball move out to Connor Chapell on the left flank. From his cross, Mark Fereday out-jumped Tim Whittaker and dinked the ball over Jordan Greaves in the Parkgate goal to make it 3-1.

The rally continued with Ethan Flower using his unfamiliar right foot to strike one from twenty yards that was saved low to Greaves right hand side but Parkgate concluded the half with a disallowed effort; Naylor parrying from Bagley’s stinging shot but Rhodes being in an offside position as he tapped in the rebound.

Both sides had early opportunities in the second half. A Fereday effort fizzed over the bar five minutes after the restart and Rhodes slid one past Naylor’s far post from close range.

Dronfield made a fifty-fifth minute double substitution in a bid to narrow the two goal gap. Owen Lester and Isaac Knight were replaced by Sam Terry and Regan Rooke but it was Parkgate who were to push home their advantage even further.

Attempts from Brandon Bagley and Luke Morris, the latter after a neat one-two at the top of the area, came to nothing but the visitors made it four after seventy one minutes.

Bagley managed to squeeze past Dronfield’s Will Hunter and slid his shot from the left low past Lewis Naylor to make it 4-1.

The visitors sealed the win five minutes later. From a ball into the Dronfield area, Will Wraith sidestepped his man and fired into the top corner from twelve yards out to wrap matters up at 5-1 in favour of the Steelmen.

A crowd of 306 witnessed the game at the HE Barnes Stadium, third in the division behind mammoth one thousand plus attendances at Hallam and North Ferriby. Dronfield remain in fifteenth in the Northern Counties East League Division One table and must now wait until January 8th to get back on track when they travel to Worsbrough Bridge Athletic.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Hunter, Gladwin, Lester, Wright, Fairweather, Chapell, Flower, Fereday, Mawbey, Knight. Subs: Terry, Hill, Rooke, Ord, Siddons.

Parkgate: Greaves, Morris, Staniland, Whittaker, Stafford, Wraith, Bancroft, Almond, Tracey, Rhodes, Bagley. Subs: Suleiman, Simpson, Muirhead, Whiting.

Attendance: 306

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