HUDDERSFIELD Dragons’ fourth string are enjoying a strong end to their season and notched an impressive 3-1 away win at promotion-chasing Driffield.
Rooted to the bottom of Yorkshire League Division V North, the fourths have enjoyed a mini-renaissance as they notched a third successive victory with a win over the team third in the table.
The Dragons were certainly blowing hot as they took the lead after 10 minutes when Matty Gardner was in the right place at the right time to slot home after a great passing movement.
The visitors could have killed off the game in the first 20 minutes but Driffield hit back and, despite some excellent goalkeeping by Jack Canham, the two sides went into the break level after the home side scored from a well-worked short corner.
Driffield pressed hard early in the second half but to no avail as Huddersfield stood firm.
The Dragons’ forwards struggled to get into the game, but when they did they made it count as two counter-attacks in the second half produced two goals.
Gardner was again the man to put Huddersfield ahead when he pounced after Josh Dwyer’s initial shot had been saved by the Driffield keeper.
Sandy Haigh then gave the Dragons a bit of breathing space when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper and neatly slipped it into the goal to make it three with ten minutes to go.
Man-of-the-match Canham was then instrumental in making sure Driffield got nothing out of the game as the home side pressed late on.
The fourths are still staring relegation in the face but a win against Bradford University at the weekend would make survival a real possibility.
Dragons IV: Canham, Taylor, Mills, Flavin, Connell, Kelly L, Walker, Burnip C, Fitzpatrick, Beston, Haigh S, Dwyer J, Gardner
Bingley Bees I 1 Huddersfield Dragons V 3
DRAGONS thirds’ mission for the remainder of the season is clearly mapped out – win their remaining three games and promotion from Yorkshire League Division VI North is on the cards.
While their fate rests in the hands of other teams – they need Halifax to fail to beat Thirsk twice in the run-in – the Dragons could only deal with their part of the equation and their away win at Bingley ensured their hopes are still alive.
The Dragons took an early lead from their first short corner with Carl Bland setting up Mike Pogson to score.
Bingley were dangerous on the break, even missing an open goal at the far post on one occasion, but it was the Bland-Pogson pairing who struck again as from Huddersfield’s third short corner they extended the lead.
Martin Laithwaite and Nick Saxelby both came close to playing in the Huddersfield forwards before Laithwaite did succeed with a through-ball to Gary Clarke, who coolly beat the keeper.
The feeling in the Huddersfield camp during the break was that the win was not yet secure despite the three goal lead and that another goal was needed but somehow this failed to materialise.
Many chances were created and not quite taken, including a great run and thunderous shot from Clarke which hit the post.
Bingley’s centre forward was kept in check by the outstanding Mark Wood, but with a minute to go the Bingley player was at last rewarded for his efforts when he scored a consolation with a very clean strike.
So one down, two to go for the Dragons, but the big test will be the weekend against fellow promotion-chasers Ben Rhydding.
Dragons V: McCallum, Maddocks, Foo, Wood, Donovan, Saxelby, Bland, Pogson, Laithwaite, Dales, Clarke, Greenberry, Reed.
Dragons Ladies III 3 Pickering Ladies I 1
THE Dragons definitely felt the pressure of chasing promotion from Yorkshire League Division V and made a slow start to this contest.
After a shaky start, relief washed over the Dragons when a short corner strike from Walters found the back of the net just before half-time.
The second half saw the Dragons improve but still the team only showed glimmers of their true ability and instead resorted to the level of play dictated by the Pickering side.
Player-of-the-match Tod made a number of crucial saves to try and maintain the Dragons’ fragile lead but disaster struck when the visitors levelled the score.
With only 15 minutes to play the team had finally had the wake-up call they needed and the home side began to pile on the pressure.
Peyman fired in a superb reverse stick flick only for the visiting keeper to make an excellent save and other opportunities were continually thwarted.
However, the Dragons weren’t prepared to give up and the goal finally came when Thomas netted from a rebound off the keeper following a reverse stick strike by McCallum and it was Thomas who made sure of the win with her own reverse stick strike finding the net.
Dragons Ladies III: Tod, McCallum, Hamer, Morrol, Tunbridge, Bates, Peyman, Bailey, Walters, Roberts, Mallinson, Thomas