Cutting edge only piece missing from fine Nostell display

Toolstation NCEL Division One 

Nostell Miners Welfare 0-0 Dronfield Town

Nostell missed suspended striker Jack Owen and his goal-scoring associate Joe Wood in the goal-less draw with Dronfield Town

All that was missing from injury and suspension-hit Nostell Miners Welfare’s excellent display in the goal-less draw with Dronfield Town was a lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

Nostell, without suspended regular goal-scorers Joe Wood and Jack Owen, controlled proceedings against Dronfield who had ten men for the lash half-hour after Billy Wright was red carded for his wild challenge on Tom Almond.

Dronfield were dangerous on the counter-attack, but Nostell applied quite a bit of pressure – going with a Brad Kilburn header and two Kane Reece chances.

Houghton, who explained why he kept with four players at the back when Dronfield were reduced to ten men, said his side could not do much more.

He also claimed that the draw proved that his promotion-chasing squad has strength-in-depth.

“We had Dronfield watched and they are a good side, they have some good players and they play to their strengths,” Houghton told Non League Yorkshire.

“They have a lot of big lads who cause teams problems.  We answered a lot of questions today. Yes it is disappointing that we have not won the game. 

“We should have won the game. I thought we controlled the game. We looked defensively solid, they never cut us open once so we’re pleased with that.

“That’s our eighth clean sheet. When we took over 12 months ago they had only kept one so we’re eight times better at keeping clean sheets.

“The two lads who suspended are always going to be a miss for us and that showed today because they open doors other players can’t. 

“But everyone did really well. The balls into the front men from were excellent and there were sitters missed, but apart from the finishing touches, the rest of it I’m very happy with.

“Our ball retention was good. We got the ball quickly, we were determined and there were a lot of good performances out there. It really showed the depth of quality we have in the squad.”

On why Nostell persisted with the same system when Dronfield were reduced to ten men, he said: “We play a certain way and I want us to master the way that we play.

“Yes we could have changed things around, but sometimes with the players it can be too much confusion.

“It can take five to ten minutes to work it out. All these things go through your mind, should we do this or shall we do this or we could have done this?

“It is not that I didn’t want to throw away a point because we need the wins, I’d rather win two than draw two.

“I thought we were in control and plus we didn’t want to be left wide-opened to the counter-attack. We got the ball out to the full-backs and we put enough balls into the box to win it.

“Someone has got to get on the end of them.”

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