Town pay the price for missed chances as Chalk nick late draw

NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk
NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk

Pocklington Town bounced back from a disappointing 5-0 defeat at Hornsea Town with a home Humber Premier draw against Chalk Lane, but they could so easily have gained all three points.

After a free Saturday the previous week, Marshal Tyres-sponsored Pock were back in league action for the first time since the trip to Hornsea.

NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk

NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk

Looking to recover from that result and with players starting to return to fitness and availability, Town were glad to see last season’s top scorer Dan Boneham and new signing Scot Sullivan make their season debut, along with the return of Tom Reay and Martyn Day, all recovered from injury.

Still unable to call on Dan O’Connor and James Haigh, doing their bit for charity in the Great North Run and with Jimmy Drewery away on holiday, Town were still forced into four changes from their last game.

A more experienced Chalk team made the better start to the game and a free header from a corner on five minutes needed keeper Adam Thomas’ intervention to prevent the visitors taking an early lead.

With Steve Bielby, Chris Saltmer and Greg Nesbitt getting on top in midfield though, Pock started to create chances against a slow Chalk back line. Kalum Horne and Boneham were unable to make the most of good breaks but with both sides canceling each other out, scoring chances were at a premium.

NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk

NPOC - Pock 1st v Chalk lane - sat 14 sept at the balk

Twenty-five minutes in Boneham was pulled back when clear on goal with the Chalk number six receiving a yellow card, before Nesbitt saw his free-kick saved by the Chalk Lane goalkeeper.

It only took Town another five minutes to take the lead though before great work from Reay on the counter saw him beat the Chalk leftback and get through on goal.

His well-struck angled drive brought a good parry from the keeper, but Boneham reacted quickest to get onto the loose ball and score from six yards out to put Town 1-0 up.

Unfortunately Reay strained his hamstring in the run and Day came on to replace him on the half-hour but Town were caught napping from a quickly taken free-kick on 33 minutes and a Chalk player was allowed all the room and time he needed to chip the equaliser from 30 yards out for a poor goal to concede for the home side.

Good passing football by Pock set up Alex Cutts to play in Kalum Horne for a shot that was blocked, but the half was to end in controversial fashion when Boneham again exposed the lack of pace of the Chalk number six and was brought down when clean through on goal.

The referee blew for the foul but after discussing the decision with his assistant and with even the Chalk team expecting a red card, the free-kick was awarded to Chalk Lane. This bemusing decision was later challenged by Pock and the ref admitted after the game he had made the wrong call.

Thomas made a flying save from a Chalk header right on the break to ensure that the first half ended level .

A good half-time talk sent Pock out in positive fashion and they regained the lead two minutes into the second half with a brilliant passing move.

Started off by keeper Thomas’s short goal-kick to right back Cutts, he played the ball up the line to Horne who in turn released Boneham down the inside right channel.

Boneham showed no sign of rustiness and an excellent run and finish inside the near post gave Town the perfect start to the second half with a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately the game had to be stopped for more than five minutes when the Chalk number eight planted his foot to turn and went down with an injury that turned out to be a ruptured achilles tendon, but when it resumed, Pock were able to continue to create good chances to increase their lead.

Chalk also threatened as the game opened out and it needed skipper Mark Watkinson to make two headed clearances off the line as Town struggled to deal with the high ball into their area.

Pock thought that they had bagged a third goal on the 75- minute mark when Horne saw a quality run and shot on goal well blocked by a defender.

Bielby let rip with a 20-yard effort that was goalbound until a great save from the Chalk keeper blocked it for a corner and on 83 minutes, a brilliant pass from Fraser Papprill picked out Saltmer’s run through the middle.

Although the Chalk keeper made another save, Sullivan latched onto the loose ball but could only see his 20-yard effort bounce to safety off the crossbar.

Chalk scored an equaliser on 89 minutes when a corner bounced down onto the post and despite two Town defenders on the line, their indecision was final as they left it for each other for the second soft goal of the afternoon to cost them the win.

Despite the two dropped points, Pock can take heart from a much improved performance, and if the decision not to dismiss the Chalk defender in the first half had been made correctly, that was a game-changer that should have seen Pock win easily.

As it was, good performances from Boneham, Sullivan, Papprill, Cutts and Bielby, with Saltmer just shading the man of the match award will set Pock up in good shape for next weekend’s Humber Premier League Cup game at current Division One leaders Rapid Solicitors.

Although there will be three players from last Saturday’s game missing, manager Rich Bower will have five players returning and hopes to have almost a full strength squad to choose from for the first time this season.

Players meet at the club at 12.15 please.