REPORT: Injury-hit Dronfield defeated at Hallam

Dronfield Town, again shorn of several key players through injury and unavailability, went down after a four goal first half salvo from high-flying Hallam FC. The home side justified their second place in the Northern Counties East League Division One table with strikes from Brandon Bradbury, Chris Salt and two from the lively Iren Wilson. Town worryingly saw Stuart Hill and Mark Fereday leave the field with knocks and must somehow pick themselves up for the visit of Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday.

The opening fifteen minutes saw Dronfield spending plenty of time in the Hallam half. Unfortunately that was where the home side began to dominate and they soon took a one goal lead.

Niall Smith’s low left wing cross was met by a sliding Brandon Bradbury from six yards out to put Hallam a goal to the good.

The Countrymen, clearly buoyed by gaining the advantage, saw Liam Royles place a shot just wide from the edge of the box after a three-on-three break following a Dronfield corner.

Town had Lewis Naylor to thank for preventing Hallam doubling their tally on twenty minutes when he saved at point blank range from Royles after a deep cross from the far side.

However, they did manage to make it two on twenty seven minutes. Naylor produced a copycat point blank save after Jack Brownell’s cross from the byeline. However, Chris Salt was able to follow up to make it 2-0.

Dronfield’s best effort of the game came on thirty four minutes when Ethan Flower’s free kick from twenty yards out was scrambled round the post by the chest of Hallam keeper Alfie Hayes-Daubney.

The half ended with two quick goals from the lively Iren Wilson. On thirty eight minutes as Town failed to clear their lines, Wilson managed to advance and shoot low to Naylor’s right hand side to make it three without reply.

Just two minutes later, Wilson managed to hold off the attentions of Dronfield’s Tom Fairweather to again finish to Naylor’s right at four-nil.

New signing Scott Wesley made his debut as a second half substitute in place of a hobbling Stuart Hill but with the game practically over as a contest, a rather dour second forty five minutes played out.

Hallam’s Wilson had the ball in the goal just three minutes after the restart, ruled out after he had been rather too physical on the Dronfield defenders showing him attention.

Chris Savage saw his eighteen yard effort curl well wide on the fifty minute mark as the referee saw fit to issue a series of yellow cards. Wesley and fellow substitute Tom Berry went into the book along with Hallam’s Brownell, who left his foot in on Town youngster Isaac Knight when he threatened to break free down the left.

The impressive Wilson, who looked surely destined for a higher stage, managed a jinking run four minutes from time, eventually hitting the post from the edge of the six yard box but Dronfield could at least get some small consolation from holding their opponents goalless in the second half.

Town’s injury list appears to grow ever longer but they need to regroup and start claiming points, especially against the sides around them in the table. Tenth placed Armthorpe Welfare are the visitors to the HE Barnes Stadium on Saturday and would be the ideal time and place to kick start a run.

Hallam FC: Hayes-Daubney, Brownell, Smith, Salt, Wankiewicz, Bradbury, Patterson D, Patterson R, Wilson, Wood, Royles. Subs: Pemberton, Gregory, Scully.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Wright, Knight, Lester, Hill, Fairweather, Flower, Rooke, Mark Fereday, Savage, Mawbey. Subs: Willis, Berry, Wesley, Dawson, Siddons.

Attendance: 302

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