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REPORT: Honours even between Clay Cross and Dronfield

It was honours even in the second A61 derby of the week as hosts Clay Cross Town came from a goal behind to share the points with Dronfield Town. Cross’ Ashley Radmore put through his own goal on 20 minutes to give Dronfield the lead but a Billy Brooks equaliser 3 minutes after half time ensured that the spoils were shared. The game was an entertaining affair with both sides playing their part and unusually both sides ended the encounter with 10 men on the field. The point sees Dronfield climb one place in the table ahead of a midweek match-up with the side one place below them, Retford FC.

Both sides were vastly changed from their midweek League Cup tie but it was home club Clay Cross Town who made the livelier start. Dronfield had returning skipper Lewis Naylor thank when he saved with his legs from Cross’ Callam Lytham on the 10 minute mark.

Clay Cross suffered the blow of losing Reece Clegg to injury just a minute later to be replaced by former Staveley midfielder Kurtis Morley.

Naylor came to Dronfield’s rescue once again on 13 minutes when he pulled off another quality save from Cameron Pinnick’s header but despite their up-tempo start it was the hosts who went behind on 20 minutes.

An untroubled Ashley Radmore ignored the call of his keeper Rio Alberry, promptly back-heading the ball over the oncoming stopper as it crept agonisingly into the goal to give Dronfield the lead.

The lead spurred Dronfield into action. Connor Chapell, back at the club from a spell away at Maltby Main FC, was at the heart of their best moves and it was his shot that looked destined for the top corner until Alberry tipped it over the bar on 27 minutes.

Dronfield held their lead until half time but three minutes after the interval, Clay Cross got back on level terms. A delightful move saw Whitehead deliver a testing cross from the left flank that was met perfectly by Billy Brooks to fire home and make it 1-1.

The second half was everything that a local derby should be and some super football was played by both sides. Dronfield’s Max Rhodes shot looked bound for the top corner until Alberry pulled off a useful save and shortly after, Morley’s strike from the edge of the box brought another fine stop out of Naylor.

Both sides didn’t hold back in the tackle. Great defending from Dronfield’s Arran Bovill saw him brought down by Pinnick, who earned a yellow card for his trouble and a late challenge by Dronfield substitute Cam Knight saw his name go into the book in return.

A low drive from Dronfield’s Harry Walker again called Alberry into action but the game ended in slightly bizarre fashion with both sides only having ten men on the field.

Lytham looked to have fallen awkwardly and with Clay Cross using all five substitutes, they were reduced to ten for the remaining stages of the encounter.

Dronfield were unable to capitalise however. The visitors were adamant that the ball had been handled in the area and as Dan White discussed the referee’s refusal to point to the spot, the official chose to sin-bin him instead.

The game finished with honours even, both sides having played their part in an entertaining and incident-packed afternoon.

The point sees Dronfield climb up to ninth in the Northern Counties East League Division One and stretch their unbeaten run to seven games.

Next up at the HE Barnes Stadium is the visit of the side in tenth place. Retford FC come to Dronfield on Tuesday evening, having exited the FA Vase on penalties to Droylsden on Saturday. Kick off is 7.45pm.

Clay Cross Town: Alberry, Jules, Riley, Brooks, Radmore, Damms, Lytham, Devereux, Pinnick, Clegg, Whitehead. Subs: Wilson, Shelbourne, Snell, Pritchard, Morley.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Rooke, Riley, Walker, Bovill, White, Chapell, Lester, Rhodes, Bebbington, Pearson. Subs: Benson, Knight, Fereday, Lindores, Townsend.

Attendance: 98

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