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In-depth and extensive views from both dugouts Dronfield defeat Swallownest

Dronfield Town put right the wrongs of their defeat at home to Swallownest in the reverse fixture last month with a deserved 2-0 win at Rotherham Road yesterday. In doing so, Dronfield drew level on points with seventh-placed Selby Town, whilst Swallownest stay tenth in Toolstation NCEL Division One, now five points behind Parkgate after the Steelmen won away at Skegness – and both camps felt that the result was just about right, writes Colin Muncie. (Photographs by Nigel Owen)

 In front of a crowd boosted by the voucher offer on the Swallownest website, both sides had chances in windy conditions on a tricky surface. The visitors hit the post when through on home goalkeeper Spencer Bingley, Swallownest’s Alex Lill fired over after the ball had rebounded to him, and a series of home corners tested the visitors defence. 

Just after the half hour, however, Dronfield took the lead when an overload on their left gave Anthony Holmes the chance to drive low and left–footed past Bingley. Swallownest went close with a header just before the break, but half time arrived with the visitor’s one up.

The volunteer team at Swallownest had been busy from 9.30 that morning, and the frantic activity continued uninterrupted in the first half. Ike was in brilliant form on the turnstile, with his left leg in perfect co-ordination with his hands as he sold the programmes, issued raffle tickets, checked mobile phones for voucher offers and operated the pedal to admit the spectators after he had relieved them of their money – all with a word of welcome, sometimes polite. Ann and Nicola kept one eye on the football as they served the usual wide choice of hot and cold drinks and great hot food, all with a laugh and a joke, Richard and Mick covered as much ground as the players organising the half-time and full-time hospitality, and Darryl updated the line-ups on the white board before reverting to social media duty. A super group of folks, without the like of which so many of our brilliant clubs would struggle. Hats off to all of them.

At least five ground hoppers came to the game yesterday; three from just north of London and a couple from Hull, and they all left with something to remember their visit, as Ike did a roaring trade on club badges and old programmes. Shirebrook’s Levi Owen had been given an afternoon off as his game at Campion had been postponed, so he came to watch his local club with his Dad, Nigel, who doubled up as match photographer for the day. 70 yes 70 of Nigel’s all action pictures will be found on the Swallownest website.

With Ann and Nicola dishing out the last portions of chips, the second-half got under way, and followed a similar pattern to the first, with both teams trading chances and both sets of forwards mobile and dangerous. The next goal was clearly going to be crucial, and when it came, it was the visitors who doubled their advantage, when Callum Mawbey, who had a fine game up top with Mark Fereday, volleyed home past Spencer Bingley’s right hand with 25 minutes left.

When the home side did create opportunities, they found Dronfield ‘keeper Lew Naylor in simply brilliant form, and one flying save from a thundering strike from Mitch Ward’s long-distance half volley was as good as you’ll see anywhere. There was time for a welcome return for Lloyd Gelsthorpe and another stunning save from Naylor down low to his left before the referee blew for time to leave honours even between the clubs across the two games, with each side grabbing an away win.

Mike and Steven headed back to Dronfield with three points – and smuggled blueprints of the Wigham Driving School – sponsored grandstand – and the team in the kitchen set about preparing the post-match meal – it’ll have been a similar story across all the NCEL grounds hosting games yesterday. Dressing rooms to organise, kit to wash and corner flags to put away.

Winning Manager Chris Millington was delighted to get the win. “I was really happy with the lads’ application in what were very tough conditions,” he told TBG. “I’ve made no secret that I was really disappointed with how we performed last time out against Swallownest, and the lads put that right today. It was a competitive game from two honest set of players. It’s an important 3 points for us – which sets us up nicely for another tough one next week against Parkgate.”

“Again, full credit must go to the players for sticking together and grinding the result out.”

Swallownest Manager, Jordan Stocks, was frustrated and philosophical in equal measure. “Today was one of those days,” he admitted. “It was an even contest overall, but I don’t know if we did enough to win the game. We missed chances and the Dronfield ‘keeper was outstanding.”

 “I have to hold my hands up to a degree and say maybe my tactics and thinking was off; but it’s all a learning curve on that front,” Jordan added, but went on, “all in all I can’t argue, Dronfield are a strong outfit and they beat us to the majority of first and second balls. We move on to Hall Road in the League Cup (Tuesday, 7.45 pm) and then to Nostell at the weekend.”

Absent on the day, Swallownest Assistant Manager, Joel Evans, had been well briefed on the ninety minutes. “I wasn’t at the game today due to being away, but what I gather having spoken with Jordan and couple of the other players is that we weren’t clinical in front of goal which has been a problem on other occasions. We also we need to take more responsibility when defending as a team. Apparently, their keeper has pulled off some great saves but in the end we didn’t warrant a win with our performance.” 

“We go again on Tuesday night and hope for a better result.”

If you’d like to join the fun at Swallownest FC, the club are looking for a new kit person. If you’re interested or would like to know more, drop a note to Richard Lill using the contact form on the Swallownest FC club website, or DM us @thebootifulgame and we’ll pass it on. 

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