Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Teesdale (74)

Banbury United

(0) 1

(0) 0



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Matt Turner



Burton Albion (A) 5.2.05

The Pitmen extended their run of fine recent form with a narrow win over mid-table Banbury United ay Keys Park this afternoon courtesy of a solitary second-half goal from Richard Teesdale

Chris Brindley's men had been left frustrated at only picking up a point against league leaders Chippenham Town on the same pitch last weekend, leaving his side sitting down in ninth place in the Southern Premier League table, some six points adrift of the play-off places. Brindley stuck with the same XI that had started the past two games, looking to continue their fine run of unbeaten games that stretches back to before Christmas

Banbury arrived at Keys Park off the back of a high-scoring defeat at Bedford Town a couple of weeks ago, with long-serving manager Kevin Brock making one enforced change to his side for today's clash as former Birmingham City striker Howard Forinton was ruled out due to injury and replaced by recent signing Ian King

On a crisp January afternoon, the Pitmen made an assertive start to the game and created several early openings against their inconsistent visitors; Leon McSweeney's third-minute shot from thirty yards out caught the gusty wind and sailed high and wide of Banbury goalkeeper Simon Tricker's woodwork

Two minutes later, Lee Williams whipped in a free-kick from the left-hand side of the penalty area and found Teesdale arriving late at the far post, only for the centre-back to head well wide of the far post from ten yards out

Good interplay involving skipper Carl Palmer and Williams in the ninth minute played Andy Bell into space just outside the Banbury penalty area. The striker jinked his way past Kieran Sullivan and unleashed a low bobbling shot that Tricker watched wide of his goal

Palmer was again involved just inside the Banbury half in the thirteenth minute, clashing with King in midfield and winning the ball from the new signing. His pass found McSweeney, who worked the ball into his left foot and attempted a curling shot beyond the reach of Tricker and dipped past the far post

Tricker made a superb diving save to deny the hosts an opening goal in the seventeenth minute as he got across his goal to turn away Bell's goalbound shot to make a fingertip save and deny the striker a certain goal

Banbury were lacking in the final third, missing the physical presence of Forinton up top as they failed to offer much in the way of an attacking threat in the first quarter of the game

The Pitmen's pressure continued through Matt Turner, who showed full-back Ady Fuller a clean pair of heels on twenty minutes with a run in behind the Banbury defence to get on the end of a Mark Branch pass. The winger got to the byeline and stood up a cross to the far post, where McSweeney was a matter of inches away from connecting with a volley as he arrived late in the Puritans' penalty area

Bell tested Tricker once more four minutes later as he got a lucky bounce off the shin of Sullivan as he entered the Banbury penalty area but got a poor connection on the ball and wastefully dragged his shot wide

Williams tested Tricker from a free-kick on twenty-seven minutes as he curled a thirty-yard effort over the Banbury wall but straight into the arms of the visiting goalkeeper

Banbury finally showed their hand with a chance for Jody McKay on the half-hour mark; Ollie Stanbridge's pass into George Redknap saw the striker slip the ball into the path of strike partner McKay. His fiercely-struck left-footed effort took a slight deflection off the onrushing Lee Barrow and was pushed away from goal by Ryan Young, who claimed the ball at the second attempt

Turner's corner kick on thirty-four minutes was flicked into the path of Barrow by an inadvertent deflection off Fuller's head, only for the ball to come at the centre-back a little too quickly and not give him enough time to react, firing wide of goal

The Pitmen went close three minutes later as Palmer made a late run into the Banbury penalty area to reach a pull-back from Branch, but hit his shot into the ground from the penalty spot and fired narrowly over the crossbar as the ball bounced up

With three minutes of the first half remaining, Grant Beckett cut inside from the left and played the ball between both Sullivan and Jason Allen to find McSweeney in behind the Banbury defence. However, a late offside flag against the Irishman pulled him back before he could pull the trigger

The hosts had dominated the opening forty-five minutes but had once again struggled to turn their possession and territorial advantage into goals, having only scored three times in their past five games. Bell was once again struggling to find his groove up front and had snatched at a couple of good openings that he most likely would have finished off earlier in the campaign, such was his desperation to get back on the scoresheet

The pattern of the second half remained much the same in the way as the first, with the Pitmen enjoying long spells of possession but a stoic Banbury defence frustrated the home side's forward line time and again. Ross Adams made a rare foray into the Banbury half on fifty minutes to collect a pass from Williams and send over a low cross to McSweeney, whose slight touch at the near post steered the ball wide of the near post

Four minutes later, Tricker made a smart save at his near post to claim a low cross from Turner after the winger had once again got to the byeline and looked to pick out Bell in the six-yard box

On fifty-seven minutes, Barrow's firm header met Turner's inswinging cross from the right but found Fuller doing a good job of covering his post and the danger was cleared by Banbury

Banbury almost went ahead against the run of play as Andy Turner brushed off a challenge from his namesake Matt and made a run down the left flank before sending over a low cross into the path of the incoming Redknap, who was a yard or so behind the play and could not quite get to the ball for what would have been a tap-in at the far post

Back came the Pitmen and a quick passing move involving Beckett, Palmer and Williams sent Bell scampering away down the right on sixty-two minutes, taking left-back Jason Burnham out of play in the process. The young striker tried to catch Tricker unawares with a first-time shot from a tight angle that hit the side-netting from ten yards out

A good block from Burnham denied Matt Turner a good chance for the hosts sixty seconds later as he made a dart across his six-yard box to make a timely intervention to turn the winger's shot away after his free-kick had been cleared back to him

On sixty-seven minutes, Tricker kept the scores level with another fine save as the Pitmen patiently played the ball around the edge of the Banbury box before Palmer picked out Matt Turner's run, only for Tricker to spot the danger and make a smothering save at the feet of the winger

A minute later, the fit-again Anthony Maguire returned to the side to give them a different dimension down the flank as he replaced Beckett. This saw a tweak to the formation as Matt Turner moved to the left to accommodate Maguire's arrival

Maguire assumed responsibility for the corner kicks as the hosts cranked up the pressure on their opponents and whipped in a fine ball on seventy-two minutes that Barrow headed over the crossbar from six yards out

More corners followed as the hosts forced three in a row on seventy-four minutes, with the final one from Maguire eventually making the difference as his inch-perfect cross found Teesdale lurking at the far post, heading home via a deflection off the legs of an unsighted Banbury defender

Still, the Pitmen pressed as they looked for a killer second goal and Bell dragged another low shot wide of goal on seventy-seven minutes after being fed by another fine through ball from man of the match Matt Turner

Tricker added to his portfolio of fine saves with eight minutes remaining as he punched away a powerfully-struck long-range effort from Maguire away for another Hednesford corner kick 

Just sixty seconds later, Fuller made a marauding cross-field run and threaded the ball through to substitute Matty Gooderick - making his first appearance for the Puritans in two and a half years - who had a bit too much time to think about it and elected to shoot rather than pass to Redknap, culminating in a loose effort that ended up in the side-netting

The Pitmen brought striker Paul McMahon on for the remaining time on eighty-three minutes as the former Rocester man replaced Matt Turner, who was given a warm ovation from the main stand as he was given a well-earned rest by Brindley

Stanbridge lifted a shot over the crossbar for Banbury with two minutes to go after an Andy Turner corner kick was cleared as far as the midfielder, standing in the 'D' just outside the Hednesford penalty area

The Pitmen held on with relative ease in the three minutes of added time to record their fourth win in eight games and make it six clean sheets in a row in the process. They go into next weekend's big F.A. Trophy derby against Burton Albion in good form and will fancy their chances of another cup upset against their Nationwide Conference neighbours when they travel to Eton Park next Saturday

Hednesford Town: Young, Adams, Branch, Barrow, Teesdale, Williams, M. Turner (McMahon 83), Palmer ©, Bell, McSweeney, Beckett (Maguire 68)     Subs Unused: Brindley, Walters, Evans

Banbury United: Tricker, Fuller, Burnham (Jackson 84), Sullivan, Allen, King (Gooderick 70), Stanbridge, Blossom, McKay, Redknap, A. Turner      Subs Unused; O’Neill, Ibrahim