Pock Town back on track

Pock 1st v Hodgsons FC
Pock 1st v Hodgsons FC

Humber Premier League - Premier Division

Pocklington Town3

Hodgsons FC2

MARSHAL TYRES sponsored Pocklington turned in a much-improved performance after last week’s defeat and, with four changes made to the starting line-up and a change in formation, played their best 45 minutes of football all season, against a Hodgsons team struggling at the foot of the Humber Premier division.

Only a failure to take first-half chances and a poor first 15 minutes to the second half made the game a closer contest than it should have been, as Pock wasted the chance to repair some damage to their goal difference after two recent defeats.

With Town taking time to settle into a new formation, the opening period was pretty even with neither team able to create much in the way of chances. Pock started to get on top with quality possession and, with Craig Hargreaves pressuring the Hodgsons defence on 15 minutes, they failed to clear and tripped him as he latched on to the loose ball.

Mark Watkinson stepped up to score the penalty and Town should have doubled their lead four minutes later when John Heads played Sam Taylor through for a one-on-one with the keeper that went wide.

Pock were dominating the game at this point, with their defence comfortable on the ball and Tom Rogers linking the midfield and attack. Ben Alport was able to find space in front of the Hodgsons defence and use his passing to set up attacks. Heads missed a great chance on the half hour, volleying over from 10 yards when he chose power over placement.

Hodgsons almost caught Pock out with a quick counter-attack and it needed a quality tackle from Rob Gibson to deny them a shot on the edge of the area, but this was a rare event as Pock continued to dominate.

Martyn Day got around the Hodgsons right back and crossed for Taylor to score, only to see the assistant’s flag raised for a tight offside decision and Town saw another goal disallowed on 37 minutes when a Kev Goodwin cross was flicked on by Taylor for a superb Heads volley from the angle into the far corner, again bringing an upraised flag.

A great run from Heads saw him reach the byeline and set up Hargreaves for what should have been a tap in, only for another chance to go begging with a poor finish from four yards out. But Pock did manage to double their lead right on half time following a foul on Alport just inside the Hodgsons half.

Gibson’s free kick picked out Stu Lawson and his intelligent knock down was met by a Heads tap in from six yards to send Pock into the break in a positive mood, but this was soon outdone as Hodgsons upped their game and left Town chasing shadows for the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Hargreaves got Pock off to a good start when he saw a well-struck effort blocked by the Hodgsons keeper in the 46th minute but, two minutes later, the visitors pulled a goal back when Lawson was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul 25 yards out. The subsequent free kick bounced just in front of Rob Kunkel in the Town goal and, when he failed to gather the ball cleanly, Hodgsons reacted first to force the loose ball home.

Denied the space that they enjoyed in the first half, Pock were struggling with too many passes going astray as they were put under pressure. Another run past the full back from Day saw a cross flash across the Hodgsons goal without anyone able to finish it off and the visitors levelled the game on the hour when a long throw was allowed to bounce unchallenged in the Pock six-yard box and poor tackling allowed a free header at the far post.

Pock showed their character, however, as the introduction of James Haigh saw them get their passing game back on track as they stuck to their game plan. The game opened up with both sides going for the winner and Kunkel came to Town’s rescue with two quality saves when he was left exposed by his defence.

This gave Pock the platform to bag the winner and, when Heads led a counter attack on 80 minutes, his pass set up Haigh for an exquisite left-footed curled finish across the keeper into the far corner for the decider. Pock had to weather a series of Hodgsons crosses into their area and, with Kev Graham on to help defend the aerial bombardment, Pock had other chances to score a fourth on the break but failed to make the most of them to ensure that the crowd were treated to a nervy last few minutes.

But this was the right result on a day when several Pock players got back on form. The challenge will be to continue this at home to St. Andrews FC this Saturday as other results have opened the chance of Pock moving up the table as the gap above them has narrowed. Players meet at the club at 1pm, please.