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REPORT: Late drama sees Dronfield claim a point at Glasshoughton

There was late drama in Dronfield Town’s latest Northern Counties East League Division One fixture. Hosts Glasshoughton Welfare took an 86th minute lead through veteran hitman Nathan Perks, equalised two minutes from time by Dronfield’s Nick Benson. The game itself had been a scrappy affair played on a rather uneven surface but Dronfield could be happy in gaining a point to arrest a run of three consecutive defeats. The draw pushes Town to the verge of mathematical safety ahead of a derby visit to Shirebrook Town next weekend.

The playing surface was decidedly a factor in the pattern of the game with both sides often choosing the aerial route rather than risking the bobbly turf. The 8th minute saw Cameron Hill using his physicality to get the ball to Callum Mawbey, whose shot went wide having sat up prior to connection.

The surface went against Dronfield on the 15 minute mark. The ball bobbled over Callum Riley’s foot putting Glasshoughton’s Zachary Sangster in the clear but his rather tame shot went past Lewis Naylor’s far post.

Glasshoughton came into the game as the form team having won 7 of their last 9 and things look ominous for Dronfield when Jonas Ndombasi dispossessed Jake Hatton but his shot at Naylor lacked power.

Dronfield had two useful opportunities towards the end of the half. Town’s Mark Fereday was involved in a tussle with Glasshoughton’s Fredy Bernard but having climbed to his feet, the Dronfield striker placed his shot comfortably over the bar.

Two minutes later, another Fereday run saw the ball eventually fall to the versatile Sam Bebbington, whose curling shot went just wide.

The half ended with a pair of Glasshoughton efforts. Bolton Makwedza’s cross from the right found the head of Sangster, who brought out a solid save from Lewis Naylor. Then on the stroke of half time, Naylor failed to connect fully with his punch as the ball came to Ndombasi, who fired wide with the Dronfield stopper out of position.

The second half for the most part was even more turgid than the first. Dronfield had a good opportunity on 51 minutes when following Sam Bebbington’s long throw from the right, the ball dropped to Joe Pearson at the edge of the area. His shot was at a comfortable height for Glasshoughton keeper Alfie Hayes-Daubney to claim however.

Glasshoughton made three substitutions by the 70th minute mark, including bringing on prolific striker Nathan Perks, as Dronfield introduced Nick Benson for Cameron Hill.

The Glasshoughton subs almost made an immediate impact as George Munashe-Mwale made a good run down the left with Ndombasi’s shot was almost deflected home by Perks from close range.

The game looked to be heading to an inevitable goalless draw when the home side struck. Perks’ free kick from the left wasn’t properly cleared by Dronfield and as the ball fell back to the striker, he unleashed a volley of the highest quality that flew into the back of the net to give Glasshoughton a 1-0 lead.

Dronfield hearts looked like being broken again but they snatched an equaliser right at the death. One of Bebbington’s trademark long throws was back headed by Callum Mawbey allowing Nick Benson to ghost in and head home from close range.

Not a game that will live long in the memory but the point was a crucial one in the scheme of Dronfield’s season. They continue to hold on to 13th place in the table but it now looks increasingly unlikely that the sides at the foot of the table can now catch them. Four games remain in the 2022-23 season, the first of which sees Dronfield travel to Shirebrook next Saturday.

Glasshoughton Welfare: Hayes-Daubney, Makwedza, Cunliffe, Nyarko, Bernard, Thomas, Rowley, Nelson, Ndombasi, Ferreira, Sangster. Subs: Munashe-Mwale, Bell, Perks, Gray, Semley.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Riley, Bebbington, Mike Fereday, Hatton, Gladwin, Knight, Mawbey, Mark Fereday, Hill, Pearson. Subs: Thorpe, Adams, Benson, Crowe, Lindores.

Attendance: 53

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