Toolstation NCEL Division 1
at Birch Park
Bottesford Town (0) 3
Craig Bridge 74
Paul Goodhand 83 pen
Jonathan O'Callaghan 89
Dronfield Town (0) 1
Callum Mawbey 60
Admission £5. Prtogramme £1. Attendance 47
Aaron Busby, Ollie Donald, Steve Ridley, Andy Smith, Tom Johnson, Paul Goodhand, Jack Harrison, Luke Robinson, Craig Bridge, Jon O'Callaghan, Luke Boden
Subs - Danny Gibbons, Josh Nichol, Jack Cross, Leigh Herrick (GK)
Steven Booth, Ash Morley, Sam Fisher, Alex Mosley, Jack Hague, Matt Darlow, Sam Bebbington, Tom Fairweather, Nick Mulgrew, Callum Mawbey, Danny Hoyalnd
Subs - Jack Willis, Ferdi Celic
Tonight's 3-1 win meant that the third placed Poachers finished the season on 82 points, as they squeezed in this rearranged final league game of the season, prior to Wednesday night's play off game against Hallam FC at Birch Park.
Sadly, everyone's favourite Tourettes inflicted goalkeeper Leigh Herrick wasn't playing for Bottesford tonight, but Aaron Busby put in a decent shift between the sticks for John Corbett's side and at times he really had to be on his toes against Dronfield, who didn't look like a bottom half of the table team tonight.
Donald's clearance was chased down by Mawbey who delivered a great ball to the back stick and Sam Bebbington bundled the ball into the back of the net, as well as Busby, who stayed down and required some treatment before he could carry on.
That kind of thing might've been allowed pre World War 2, but tonight the referee Neil Mundy was having none of it and the straight talking match official let it be known why in booming tones that probably caused the kids who were playing a game at Appleby Frodingham tonight, stand bolt upright and pay attention.
Thankfully Busby was okay to carry on once he'd had a cold sponge slapped in his face, a whiff of the smelling salts... or similar, and the game restarted with the sides still level pegging at 0-0
Eventually Mawbey did lose his new shadow's attention by dropping out wide onto the right, from where he put in a burst of pace and swung the ball across the face of Busby's goal, where it ran through as far as Sam Bebbington whose sideways knock back into the six yardbox was nudged wide of the left hand post by Danny Hoyland.
HT: Bottesford 0 v Dronfield Town 0
Jack Hague, the visitors captain planted a long free kick into the Bottesford area but Busby was quick to react to Ash Morley's flick on and the first attack after the restart came to nothing.
Morley was involved again shortly afterwards, when Jon O'Callaghan reacted too slowly to Craig Bridge's right wing cross and the visitors right back hooked the ball away before it reached Luke Boden at the back stick.
Just after the hour, Boden saw off the attentions of Morley with a (Johan) Cruyff turn, but then gave the ball away with a (Jodi) Cruyff pass and from their quick counter attack, Dronfield took the lead when Mawbey, sans the presence of Johnson, who was being rested for Wednesday night's game after a sterling forty five minutes worth of effort, crashed an angled shot past Busby from 15 yards.
Substitute Craig Willis picked out Bebbington with a well weighted cross and Busby did well to get down to his right and turn the ball round the post. Ridley cleared Boden's corner kick to earn the home side some respite and they began to build up a head of steam of their own.
Bottesford forced a corner as they pushed forward, but Steven Booth got up above everyone and punched the ball away, but the home side regained possession and Boden threaded a defence splitting ball to Craig Bridge, whose close range shot was well stopped by Booth, as the Poachers number 9 appeared to tweak his hamstring as he shot.
With seven minutes to go, Bottesford were pushing for a winning goal and it came from the penalty spot after a frantic moment of action in front of the Dronfield goal. Bridge rolled a sideways pass to Robinson whose shot crashed back off the upright and when O'Callaghan aimed the ball just inside the left hand post from the rebound, Matt Darlow had no option but to 'make himself big' and he pulled off a great goal line save with his outstretched arm.
Craig Bridge was substituted before Dronfield restarted the game, to spare his tired legs any more exertion in advance of the forthcoming big match.
The visitors nearly drew level almost immediately, but Bebbington was denied by another quality save from Busby.
The first half had, at times, threatened to become an end of season, half hearted affair, but the tempo of the game picked up no end after the game. And both teams played their part in an entertaining game.
We'll be back at Birch Park on Wednesday, for the Poachers NCEL Division 1 Play Off Semi Final v. Hallam. I suspect their will be a bigger crowd present for that one.
FT: Bottesford Town 3 v Dronfield Town 1