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REPORT: Tough start to new season continues for Dronfield Town

Dronfield Town’s tough start to the new Northern Counties East League Division One season continued with a 4-0 defeat away at Wakefield AFC. Town were without several key personnel for the early season encounter and looked like they’d drawn level with their hosts early in the second half after Mole had given Wakefield a 24th minute lead. However, with the goal ruled out, Wakefield went on to run in further strikes from Green, Morrison and Sandhu to complete their four goal win. Dronfield take a break from action on Saturday and return on August 26th with an FA Vase clash against fellow NCEL Division One side Parkgate.

The pitch at Wakefield’s new home of Belle Vue looked well-tended in the August sunshine and the home side made a lively start when Oliver Green struck the base of the post in the fourth minute.

It took a further minute for AFC to have the ball in the net – striker Billy Mole’s effort being ruled out for offside but it didn’t take long before the much-travelled Ashley Flynn forced a fine save from Dronfield’s Lewis Naylor.

The bombardment continued with Stuart Hill clearing off the line from Wakefield’s Daniel Youel and on 24 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken.

Billy Mole’s shot from distance appeared to take a deflection off Hill as it nestled in the bottom corner to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

Wakefield continued to press for a second; Flynn played in Ceesay, whose low shot just crept past the post on the half hour mark.

Despite the hosts undeniable possession, Dronfield continued to apply themselves and their best chance of the half came when James Lindores’ opportunist hook went over the Wakefield bar.

The second half got off to the worst possible start when the home side were awarded a penalty after only 2 minutes of play. A seemingly innocuous challenge by Charlie Stewart saw Billy Mole go to ground. The referee pointed to the spot and Stewart received a yellow card for his troubles. The prolific Ashley Flynn stepped up to take the kick but blazed his effort over the bar.

The penalty was the one blip in a useful start to the half for Dronfield and on 56 minutes, they appeared to have drawn level. A dangerous Stewart free kick from the far side was fired home by Callum Mawbey but the referee adjudged there to have been an infringement.

Despite having been on the backfoot for a twenty minute spell, it was Wakefield who doubled their lead. The lively Green fired right footed into the top corner from the edge of the box to serve Dronfield a cruel blow at 2-0.

The hosts were buoyed at increasing their lead as demonstrated when substitute Jake Morrison curled a useful shot off the bar on 74 minutes.

That danger was pressed home two minutes later when the same player finished with the outside of his boot past Naylor to make it 3-0.

Two minutes from time, Wakefield wrapped up the win. Fellow substitute Mason Rubie delivered a ball from the right that was deflected home by the impressive Jaydan Sandhu for the home side to seal a 4-0 victory.

The 4-0 scoreline was far from a humiliation for Dronfield and they will undoubtedly go on to have much better fortunes, especially given the early stage of the campaign and the 39 games still remaining.

The odd number of teams in the division sees Dronfield without a fixture on Saturday and they return to action on August 26th when fellow Northern Counties East League Division One side, Rotherham-based Parkgate FC are the visitors to the HE Barnes Stadium in the FA Vase First Round Qualifying.

Wakefield AFC: Kendrick, Pilkington, McGahan, Sandhu, Durkin, Miller, Flynn, Youel, Mole, Ceesay, Green. Subs: Morrison, Bristol, Hawkhead, Losa, Rubie.

Dronfield Town: Naylor, Thorpe, Staniland, Stewart, Hill, Riley, Rooke, Lester, Rhodes, Mawbey, Lindores. Subs: Townsend, Siddons, Knight, Benson, White.

Attendance: 319

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