Berkswell & Balsall Common 1sts 0
Derwent 1sts 2
Derwent march on at the top of East Midlands Division One, beating a Berskwell side who hadn’t tasted defeat at home for over 20 months.
The game started well for Derwent as they quickly got into their stride, moving the ball quickly and creating waves of attacks.
Marcus Fraser, making his first team début, delivered a great cross which flashed across the goal, but unfortunately no-one could apply the final touch. Berkswell response to the Derwent pressure, was to adopt a long ball game to their leading scorer, Oliver Stuart-Smith.
This tactic fed into the hands of the Derwent defence, who in the shape of Matt Bacon and Adam Orduna, intercepted and tackled everything that moved.
At the other end, Dean Stevens should have opened the scoring, but his shot was cleared off the line. With the Berskwell keeper in great form, pulling off save after save, it was beginning to look like the goal was never going to come.
And when Derwent were denied what they thought was a penalty, tensions were there for all to see. The next five minutes saw Derwent lose their cool but instead of hitting the self-destruct button, they simply worked harder.
With 20 minutes to go, Derwent got the deserved breakthrough. The rampaging Richard Wildgoose tore down the right flank and combined with Ben Everitt-Li, who beat two players and slipped the ball past the Berskwell keeper.
The goal sparked Berkswell into life, and they had two great chances to restore parity. The first saw Derwent keeper Jamie Carlin pull off a fine double save from close range, and then from a penalty corner Stuart-Smith had the goal at his mercy, but instead pulled the shot wide.
The game was still wide open, but with two minutes remaining, Derwent put the game beyond doubt when Tom Ellison powered in a drag flick from a penalty corner. With their closest rivals, Leicester, having their blank fixture week, it puts Derwent eight points clear at the top of the league, and ten clear of promotion.
Coach Heath Roberts commented: “We knew it would be tough beating Berkswell and breaking their home record, but it was important to us to do it after the disappointment of the cup.
“This squad is capable of doing something special this season, but there is still a long way to go. We need to start being more ruthless in front of goal and converting our chances. But I must congratulate the team for yet another clean sheet. The fact we have now gone 230 minutes without conceding a goal says everything.”
This week, Derwent face Leicester Westleigh at Wirksworth Leisure Centre, 1pm start. Spectators are welcome.