REPORT: Holler! Dronfield pick up first win of the season

Their improvement has been steady but Dronfield Town finally announced themselves on the 2021-22 Northern Counties East League Division One season with a thoroughly deserved first win of the campaign against Ollerton Town. Captain Stuart Hill’s early effort was cancelled out by the prolific Gavin King, only for Connor Chapell to seal the three points nine minutes from time with a thunderbolt strike. With the monkey off their back, Town can now look forward to a break from league action as attentions turn to the FA Vase.

Dronfield came into the game in 20th place but fresh from a good performance, despite a defeat, at Glasshoughton in midweek. Cooper and King put in early crosses for Ollerton that came to nothing but it was Town who soon grew into the game.

A Connor Chapell left wing free kick saw Stuart Hill having his shirt tugged by an Ollerton defender on eleven minutes – the referee waving away any protestations for claims of a penalty.

Just a minute later, Sam Bebbington’s accurate right wing cross was headed wide by Callum Mawbey, the goal appearing to be at his mercy.

Dronfield converted the dominance into a one goal lead after sixteen minutes. Stuart Hill’s speculative ball into the box from around half way evaded both sets of players, clearing Ollerton stopper Levi Owen to put the home side in front.

Hill almost doubled the advantage two minutes later – his header at the back post from Chapell’s free kick narrowly going wide.

Ollerton had a couple of reasonable chances as the half drew to a close. Ben Partridge squared from the right for King, who fluffed his chance from six yards out on twenty eight minutes.

The same player had almost a carbon copy effort seven minutes later. King’s side foot from Partridge’s low cross looked goal bound until Dronfield’s Tom Fairweather intervened with a timely block.

Ollerton withdrew Josh Madin and introduced Jacques Etia before the half came to an end; a move that looked tactical rather than injury-enforced.

Unsurprisingly, Ollerton came out fired up after the interval. Dronfield keeper Lewis Naylor made a good save to his right hand side from King’s stabbed effort immediately after the restart.

The North Notts side got on level terms after fifty four minutes. A pinpoint right wing cross from Lumley was neatly brought down by the chest of Gavin King, who finished with equal panache to make it 1-1.

Ollerton failed to capitalise on the momentum the goal gave them. Ollie Grady’s rising shot on sixty six minutes, under challenge from Mike Fereday, sailed just wide as Dronfield sensed that they could steal the initiative.

A hardworking, first three points of the season were sealed on eighty one minutes. An exquisite through ball from Sam Bebbington found Connor Chapell, who did well to hold off the challenge of an Ollerton defender and blast home inside the near post, capping a deserved 2-1 success.

The duck well and truly broken, Dronfield can forget about the pressures of the league as attentions turn to the FA Vase first qualifying round, when Barnton FC of the North West Counties League are the visitors to the HE Barnes Stadium on Saturday 11th September.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Wright, Gladwin, Fereday, Fairweather, Hill, Chapell, Lester, Bebbington, Savage, Mawbey. Subs: Flower, Sezerano, Rooke, Knight, Dawson.

Ollerton Town: Owen, Smart, Cooper, Stretton, Shaw, Madin, Lumley, Geeves, King, Grady, Partridge. Subs: Littlejohn, Etia, Turner, Martin, Dalmedo.

Attendance: 126

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