Ammers suffer late blows in defeat at Dronfield

Ammers suffered two late, key blows in defeat despite going punch for punch against Dronfield on Saturday afternoon in the final NCEL Division One fixture for both sides before Christmas.

Jack Viles and his counterpart no.1 Lewis Naylor worked as a double-act to deny the spectators at the H.E. Barnes stadium any goals at half-time, both goals under threat immediately after the restart, also.

Max Rhodes opened the scoring eventually, after all the build-up, from a simple header following corner before Kenan McKenzie Grey compounded the deficit two minutes later with a low, first-time finish from inside the box, across Viles’ goal.

Viles made a return in goal whilst academy graduate Monroe Sternberg earnt his first senior start. The remaining of the five changes to the starting line-up included both new signings Cyrus Rowe and Kaiden Cheetham, TJ Kongolo promoted from the bench.

Newton Conde made a long-awaited return, beginning on the bench.

Viles was brave on his return, punching clear a corner from the right to flip the danger in favour of the visitors. Rowe was found high upfield directly from a pass from his own half joined by the advancing Rio Korbel on the counter. The initial pass right was blocked but found Cheetham on the second attempt, the linesman delaying proceedings on this occasion.

A cross too high for Sternberg’s interception, Max Rhodes attempted an over-head bicycle kick behind the Ammers’ right full-back, side-on to goal, making it difficult not to hook the ball wayward.

Rowe was in-behind, down the left, forcing a high throw. The ball was delivered towards the back post where Frimpong was free but he controlled with his arm to draw the referee’s whistle.

In response, Dronfield created a corner from their own counter. The initial delivery was cleared at the back post, dropping to Callum Mawbey’s follow-up strike blocked by the crowd in the box, the follow-up finding a similar result.

Viles’ reactions weren’t damaged by the cold. A deep cross to the back beat Wade and was headed to goal, Viles maintaining hold of the close-range header at the left-hand post.

Viles was the hero again, a full-stretch, two-handed dive pushing Maybey’s shot across goal away to his left with a quarter of the match played.

The front three of Frimpong, Cheetham & Rowe were so far benefitting from the pace of the game.

Frimpong overtook the hosts’ right full-back Mike Fereday then delayed the attack until Korbel & Cheetham backed him up. The ball travelled along the edge of the box, initially to Korbel and then Cheetham. The latter’s first-time strike wasn’t far off.

It was then Cheetham’s turn to run clear. He switched the ball to Korbel on the left. The delivery into the box found the head of Rowe, watched by Dronfield ‘keeper Lewis Naylor as it was glanced wide of the far post.

Fereday exploited the space infront of Ammers’ defence, taking several strides forward in possession before lacing an effort across goal, watched wide.

Naylor then met a low shot from Cheetham to push the ball away to the Dronfield ‘keeper’s left.

Ammers again made use of Viles’ punched clearance and quickly entered Dronfield’s half, Korbel flicking the ball round his marker ahead of the run of Cheetham to his right. The latter tried to continue the trend with his pass to Rowe positioned on the final Dronfield defender but the strength of his pass was misjudged, to Naylor’s benefit in goal.

Anything you can do…Sternberg proved equal, clearing behind with an unorthodox flick off the outside of his heel, mirroring his counterparts earlier acrobatic effort.

That ended a goalless half thanks to both ‘keepers who were thoroughly warmed up.

Immediately after the break Dronfield shot narrowly wide, across goal, eventually collecting a loose ball inside the box following the corner from the right.

Viles then stopped a close-range effort but couldn’t hold, beating the Dronfield forward to the spilled ball by scrambling across the grass, managing to clear with his feet.

Mawbey threatened again, heading the ball straight at Viles, from the centre of the box, connecting with the following corner.

Frimpong twisted right…then left, creating space on the left-hand edge of the box for a shot but Naylor was unmoved in catching the ball.

The wide-man then had space to run into, reaching the edge of Drongfield’s box before playing a through ball ahead of Cheetham inside the left flank of the area, his low cross blocked.

Mawbey had to watch another of his own strikes travel wide of Viles’ far post, shooting first-time across goal from the edge of the box. Tewolde was intercepted high upfield in Dronfield’s respect, the ball quickly moved from right to left by the hosts.

Initially from Mawbey, Dronfield have three chances blocked inside the Ammers box. Tewolde had attempted to clear the danger at the far post, hooking the ball only as far as Mawbey to restart the attack.

Three times Viles retained his clean-sheet in the matter of as many minutes. Initially a close-range effort, centrally, was parried by Viles. Secondly, he’s perfectly positioned to catch a dangerous in-swinging cross which evaded any attacking header. Finally, his dive to his right successfully tipped the ball wide from a shot from the left.

Naylor matched the feat in the opposite goal to push Frimpong’s shot wide of his near post. In the now heavy rain, Frimpong slipped in his attempt to change direction and turn infield, round Fereday, but returned to his feet quickly to hit the ball right-footed, across the wet surface, Naylor reacting quick, his dive equal to it.

Kenan McKenzie Grey was the next to be denied by Viles, the pace of the shot making it unclear whether the following sound was the ball connecting with the post or not but the referee deemed Viles got some touch at least.

The opener to then come from a corner, Dronfield’s Max Rhodes drawing first blood, seemed very much an anti-climax after the performances of both ‘keeper’s. The delivery from the right dropped towards the centre of the box, headed down, close past the right of Viles who was unable to react from such a short distance away.

Kenan McKenzie Grey quickly added a second, one-on-one with Viles but receiving the ball inside the box, shot first-time, low into the far left-hand corner.

Marcelo Da Silva’s late introduction was impactful, all but altering the scoreline. His decision to shoot first-time, from a difficult angle on the right flank, was questionable although justified by the result. He laced a shot which bounced through the box, infront of Naylor, ending up rebounding off the far post.

Jake Boyd reverted as a forward as Ammers chased a reply and was the aim of a cross from the right, beaten in the aerial challenge at the far post.

The final bell rang moments later, Ammers empty-handed from their final fixture before Christmas.

The next round in the NCEL league season is scheduled for Boxing Day, Ammers hosting Harrogate Railway at The Southerns Stadium.

Ticket prices for the Harrogate Railway fixture: Adults – £6, Concessions – £4, U16s – £3.