Blue Square Bet North – Tuesday 26 February 2013

 by Gary Owen

 Droylsden made hard work of basement side Hinckley United in this clash of the bottom two, but eventually secured three vital points in their desperate battle against relegation.

 If The Bloods thought they were to have an easy ride against a side only to record one win all season, then they had another thing coming, as the impressive Luke Richards fired the Knitters into a deserved 17th minute lead, firing low past Yannick Nlate making his debut for Droylsden in goal.

 The hosts had been given prior warning when Ashley Malhotra struck the foot of the post from an almost impossible angle, before Richards himself had Nlate at full stretch to save, having got the better of Mike Byron.

 Richards should have scored just a minute prior to him finding the net with arguably an easier chance, but with only Nlate to beat, he delayed his shot enabling the Droylsden ‘keeper to nab the ball off his toes.

 Droylsden’s only response to going behind was a whipped free kick from Carlos Logan, which Martin Conway was happy to punch over from a tight angle.

 Both sides created numerous chances early in the second period and their combined profligacy perhaps indicative of why they are the division’s lowest-ranked teams. Firstly, Harvey Headley should have done better than volleying over from a good central position, and at the other end Matthew Berkeley – making a return to the Butcher’s Arms – side-footed wide just 6 yards out from Stefan Cox’s low cross from the left.

 The Knitters then created – and wasted – another good chance, as Malhotra slipped past Danny Stimpson to tee up David Kalonji, who somehow blazed over when it seemed easier to score.

 Droylsden then began to exert some telling pressure on the Leicestershire side, with a Byron header beating Conway, but the ball was hooked off the line.

 Hinckley then had an effort of their own cleared off the Droylsden line as both sides gave their all, but the breakthrough for Dave Pace’s men came on 67 minutes, when Adnam Ahmed was hauled back in the box, and Logan beat Conway from 12 yards.

Steve Hall saw his goal bound header plucked out of the air by Conway, and Cox blasted over under pressure on the edge of the box, but Droylsden struck what looked like a winner with six minutes remaining, when man-of-the-match Ahmed stuck out a foot to poke home into the net after two shots had been blocked following a Droylsden corner.

 However, Hinckley had other ideas, and when Liam Canavan was given space inside the Bloods’ box he fired low under Nlate into the far corner just two minutes later.

 Hall then stole the points in the 90th minute when he converted from close range after Hinckley had once again failed to deal with a Droylsden corner.

 With a further three home games on the bounce, Droylsden now at least have that advantage to commence the string of victories required to stave off the dreaded drop – regrettably, it seems that nothing less will now do.


Droylsden:                  Nlate, Minihan, Holden, Byron, Stimpson, Chalmers (Hall, 53’), Ahmed, Logan, O’Neill, Berkeley (Ward, 53’), Cox.

Subs. not used:            Langford, Rick, Latham.

 Hinckley United            Conway M., Towers, Hartland, Conway R., Lopez, Richards-Everton, Kalonji, Headley, Richards, Malhotra (Canavan, 72’), Brown.

Subs. not used:            McGrath, Moraka, Baldwin, Heggs.

ATTENDANCE:                 123

REFEREE:                            Mr. R. Wootton (Wakefield, West Yorkshire)

Category: Match Reports