Wakefield Hockey take a point from top of the league

Wakefield 5’s Match Report

Driffield arrived at College Grove on Saturday with a 100% win rate, the best in Yorkshire. They have brushed aside all competition thrown at them this season scoring 146 Goals and only having 9 goals scored against them. They boast wins of 20-0 and 12-0 against other league opposition this season. In the away leg in November they beat Wakefield 5’s 7-0.

With almost a full complement, Wakefield fives took to the field to warm up, it wasn’t their greatest. James Flynn, captain, was trying to find a second umpire, two players were still in the changing rooms and Gordy, one of their England Masters Internationals, had left his shin pads in his car!

It wasn’t looking good, Wakefield’s preparation could have been better, in fact it was one of the worst warm ups all season.

Wakefield started with a 4-5-1 formation, Chris Marsay (Moose) in goal, a back four of James Roche, Stuart Forrest, Dave Jackman and Jimbo Rowson. In midfield it was Lewis Holland on the right, Pete Box on the left and a central midfield three of Matt Stuckey, Pete Stevens and James Flynn. Up front to start was Neil Marshall. Which left Mark Killoway, Pete Yates and Gordy Gray (who was still getting his shin pads) on the bench.

After Ben, from Wakefield Wanderers, stepped in to umpire, the game started. It was tentative for the first few minutes with both Wakefield and Driffield playing lots of balls around the back and very little penetration forwards. It was Wakefield who got the first chance as the ball was played into Neil Marshall just inside the D, who played a sublime lay off to James flynn, a sweeping shot towards the far post was expertly saved by the Driffield goal keeper. Perhaps it was the bouncy pitch, or it was Wakefields determination but Driffield were for the first time this season on the back foot.

As the half went on, there were chances at both ends. Dave Jackman made same great clearances and Moose and Stuart Forrest watched as a Driffield short corner went centimetres wide. Some good work from Pete box and Lewis Holland provided James Flynn with another chance, but Driffield’s goal keeper made an excellent save.

Driffield did eventually take the lead as they piled on the pressure on Wakefield’s back four. A runner was not picked up and the Driffield player arrived coolly at the back post to slot home. Wakefield did have a few more chances before half time to pull level, but a few chances were put wide and a goal line clearance from a Driffield player saw the game go in at half time 1-0 to Driffield.

A half time team talk led by Stuart Forrest, which was surprisingly positive, lifted the already high spirits in the Wakefield camp. Wakefield know it’s for their own good but Stuart can be critical even when they are winning 6-0.

The second half was just as good as the first, Wakefield had more of the ball and looked the more likely to score. Pete Yates and Mark Killoway both held the ball up well which allowed our midfielders to join the attack. Matt Stuckey fired one over the crossbar after neat play at the top of the D.

Wakefield were searching for the equaliser, using both channels very well and playing the ball quickly around the back and down the opposite channel.

Wakefield’s pressure finally paid off as they won a short corner. Played out to the top of the D, Pete Box stopped the ball and Stuart Forrest slotted the ball home to the keeper’s right.

1-1, with just over fifteen minutes to go. Driffield searching for their second goal, Wakefield trying to be the only team to take any points from the already crowned league champions. The script was written, would there be a hero for either side?

Wakefield set up their midfield and defensive banks, Driffield were probing for their second, playing constant cross field balls trying to wear down the Wakefield midfield and trying to find gaps. They were trying but Wakefield had answers to all that Driffield could throw at them. Wakefield did look dangerous on the break and could have snatched a late winner.

As Chris Allen blew the final whistle, a Wakefield roar rang through College Grove… They had taken a point from top of the league and moved a step closer to their second promotion in two years!

Wakefield now know that a win against Airedale on Saturday 21st at 12pm will guarantee promotion, as their closest rivals to promotion, Boston Spa lost 5-4 on Saturday.

After the match, Driffield captain Jacob was heard saying to his team: “It was refreshing to actually have a good game of hockey, and it would be nice to play Wakefield again next year in the league above.”

Wakefield 5’s captain, James Flynn, had this to say on Sunday: “It was a great performance yesterday by the whole team – the proudest moment of my two year tenure as captain.”