Phoenix gain first home points of the season
Following more than a month and four games on the road Phoenix returned to Pavilion Lane looking for some home points at the third time of asking.
Saturday's visitors Dronfield Town Reserves traveled to Brinsworth looking to extend a three match unbeaten run and the visitors started strongly by applying some early sustained pressure on the home defense but unlike in recent weeks, the Phoenix rear guard held firm with new centre half pairing of Ross Coates and Andy Sykes marshaling the back line well. In contrast Phoenix playing some controlled passing football struggled to make any in roads in the visitors defense.
With the game well balanced Phoenix made the first breakthrough on ten minutes when the Dronfield keeper was caught out while trying to play his way out from the back and was just outside his box when Adam Houghton robbed him of the ball, rounded him and coolly walked the ball into the net.
Buoyed by their good fortune Phoenix gained confidence and began to ask some telling questions of the visitors defence. Phoenix’s Sulhail Hussain presented a constant threat down the left and following one strong run the wide man set up a second Houghton chance which was well snuffed out before some neat interlinking play by the same player saw Houghton set up Liam Cartlidge who fired home from 16 yards on his debut.
Further Phoenix pressure appeared to pay off when Houghton appeared to be wrestled to the ground inside the box but to everyone’s amazement the referee waved play on.
A rare Dronfield attack did reap rewards in the dying minutes of the first half when a swift passing move down the Dronfield left led to the ball being laid into the path of James Savage who drove his shot from 20 yards in to the bottom corner despite keeper Sam Caley getting a hand to it.
The early part of the second period saw the home side continue to probe but in truth the only chance of note fell to Houghton who met Hussain’s front post cross but the striker steered his effort to the wrong side of the post. As the half wore on the home sides legs began to fade allowing the visitors more of the play but solid defending by the Phoenix rearguard ensured no serious threats were made on Caley’s goal and the home side held out to take maximum points.