Derwent 2nds 1
Wellingborough 2nds 2
Having returned to action after the Christmas break last weekend with two matches in two days, Derwent 2nds hosted top-of-the-table Wellingborough on Saturday.
This was always going to be a tough test for Derwent, whose cause was not helped by the start of the skiing season depriving them of four key players!
However, buoyed by an unfortunate loss away to Coventry Sikh Union the previous Saturday, followed by an impressive win against Worksop on the Sunday, Derwent headed into the game in high spirits.
Wellingborough soon demonstrated why they are top, with some excellent individual talents and good team possession forcing Derwent onto the back foot in the early stages of the game. However, Derwent dug in, and, defending as a unit, began to create problems for Wellingborough on the counter-attack. After less than 15 minutes into the match it was Derwent who made the breakthrough.
A quick Derwent break down the left found Chris Pooley breaking into the D from the right. Having controlled the ball, he calmly sidestepped the goalkeeper and pushed the ball into the open net.
The match then settled into a pattern for the remainder of the first half, with Wellingborough pushing for an equaliser while Derwent continued to look extremely dangerous on the break.
However, it was Wellingborough who finished the half on a high with two goals in quick succession as half-time approached.
On both occasions, it was a piece of individual brilliance which allowed Wellingborough to unlock a Derwent defence which couldn’t be faulted for either goal.
The second half followed a very different pattern to the first, largely due to an inspired performance from Derwent centre back and man of the match Chris Rodgers. Having identified Wellingborough’s key player, Chris proceeded to man-mark him out of the game.
The effect was dramatic, with their playmaker unable to hold onto the ball, or even get a touch, Wellingborough found themselves unable to escape their own half and, having resorted to playing for possession across their own back line, were unable to manage a shot on the Derwent goal for the entire period.
Derwent for their part continued to create chances, but a succession poor final balls meant an equalising goal never materialised.
What had turned out to be a well-balanced highly entertaining game finished 2-1 to Wellingborough who now look set for promotion.