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Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Proffitt (87)


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Josh Craddock


Bedford Town (H) 30.3.10

The Pitmen's hopes of gate-crashing the end of season play-offs were given another boost as they continued their assault on the top five sides with yet another impressive win, this time completing the double over Bashley this afternoon at Keys Park

Manager Bernard McNally, buoyed by Tuesday's long-distance win over Truro, made two changes to his starting line-up - recent signing Matty Wood came in at left-back in place of Zak Martin and Ross Dyer restored to the side instead of Adam McGurk. Young Crewe Alexandra midfielder Chris Clements was amongst the replacements after completing his loan move to Keys Park on Thursday in time to be registered for today's game

Second-placed Bashley arrived at Keys Park off the back of a 2-0 win at Rugby Town in midweek to further cement their place amongst the front-runners for a play-off spot, whilst still harbouring ambitions of catching long-time league leaders Farnborough in the final month of the season. Manager Steve Riley made two changes to his line-up for today's game with captain Paul Gazzard returning to action as he replaced Matt Parnell in the centre of defence and Dave Allen coming in for Max Cream. Bashley had also only lost one game on the road all season and were keen to avenge their heaviest home defeat of the season to the Pitmen, a 4-0 reverse back in October

 The Pitmen started with a zip to their play, pushing Bashley back in the first ten minutes. Josh Craddock and Dorryll Proffitt linked up to sent Ross Dyer scampering away down the Hednesford left on three minutes, with Bashley keeper David Elm making a smart save to cut the ball out low down as Tyrone Barnett came steaming in

Elliott Durrell, the team's man in form at present, was guilty of wasting two early corners for the home team, sending one straight into the arms of Elm and curling the other out of play

Bashley's side were playing their game on the counter-attack, and on eleven minutes almost made the tactic pay. Mark Gamble picked up a through ball - although he looked suspiciously offside - and had a clear run on the Hednesford goal. However, he panicked as he went one-on-one with Stuart Brock and fired wide of the post with the goal at his mercy

Proffitt immediately responded for the home side with a strong run inside and firm shot that Elm watched harmlessly over the crossbar

Durrell was next to test Bashley resolve, hitting a crisp volley from just inside the area after pouncing on a loose ball but watched as the shot swerved away from Elm's right-hand post

Barnett was an ever-present threat to the Bashley defence, just as he had been at the Recreation Ground in October. On twenty-seven minutes, his marauding run down the flank saw him turn his marker and slip the ball to Wood, who had gambled and made a forward run. His well-hit shot from eighteen yards out was brilliantly parried away by Elm, who turned the ball away for a corner

It seemed to be all Hednesford at this point, as the hosts continued to tot up the chances. Ben Bailey made a rare foray forward to get on the end of Durrell's slide-rule pass, firing across the face of Elm's goal and narrowly wide of the far post

Barnett's frustrations grew as the half continued, as he crept ever closer to a goal to add to his collection for the season. Durrell's free-kick out on the right was whipped in towards the penalty spot, with Barnett rising highest to head a couple of yards wide of goal

Dave Allen produced a response of sorts for the visitors, hitting a free-kick from twenty yards out that Brock held well down to his right as half time approached

The referee Mr Meeson was not exactly endearing himself to the home supporters, brandishing yellow cards at Bailey and Sean Platt before the break for what appeared to be minor offences, whilst two cruder Bashley challenges went unpunished

The final action of the half saw Bashley carve out a great chance; a corner won due to Decio Gomes's mistake saw Gazzard rise highest from Chris Mason's kick at the far post and head just wide at the foot of the post

McNally's team talk, you would expect, would have been along the lines of 'same again please', as the Pitmen had done little wrong other than not score. they started the second half in much the same vein, with Durrell scampering away down the Hednesford right before drilling a cross in that only just evaded the onrushing Dyer

Elm was to have a busy half in the Bashley goal, starting with a fine save to deny Dyer a goalscoring opportunity on fifty minutes, claiming Barnett's cross before Dyer could slide the ball home

Elm followed this up with a quite brilliant double save three minutes later, blocking Durrell's shot and smothering Bailey's follow-up as the ball bounced around the penalty area

Barnett still could not claim the goal his efforts deserved, with Gazzard getting in the way of his goal-bound shot on the fifty-four minutes

Elm was excelling himself for the visitors, despite plenty of cat-calls from the home supporters concerning his burly frame. On the hour, he made arguably his best save of the game, brilliantly reacting to turn Durrell's fierce shot away from goal

Bailey was enjoying a much more attacking role in the game than in previous games, safe in the knowledge that Gomes and the excellent Liam Francis were marshalling Bashley's front two with ease. He again made a move forward for a set-piece, heading Durrell's corner kick straight at Elm

Dyer and Durrell were both wasteful with high, wide and not-so-handsome shots in quick succession, before McNally made a substitution on sixty-three minutes, with Barnett making way for new boy Clements. this saw Proffitt move up front alongside Dyer, Clements slotting in alongside the impressive Craddock in midfield

Elm was in action again three minutes later, making yet another fine stop to turn Wood's shot away for a Hednesford corner

Bashley's attacking threat had been non-existent since the break, but a free-kick from Gamble that tested Brock seemed to inspire them, as the same player made a run down the right on seventy-four minutes before sending over a cross for Jack Smith, whose header was brilliantly saved by Brock

Dyer looked to have grabbed the all-important goal on eighty minutes, out-jumping Elm from a Platt cross and heading towards goal. However, Mason was alert to hack the ball away from goal as it drifted towards the net

That was Dyer's final contribution, as the striker was taken off with six minutes remaining, with McGurk replacing him

Within two minutes, the Pitmen grabbed the goal that their efforts deserved; Proffitt picked the ball up a few yards outside the area, readjusted his feet and fired in a powerful low shot that took a slight deflection off the heel of Gazzard, sending the ball away from Elm, who had started to dive the other way

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the away side, as the expected late onslaught failed to materialise, with the Pitmen seeing out the final minutes with considerable ease. It is a win that makes the play-offs look more realistic than perhaps they have ever looked this term, especially with the games in hand Hednesford have. Starting with the visit of relegation-threatened Bedford Town on Tuesday, the Pitmen have to continue this excellent form if they are to stay in contention

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt © , Wood, Bailey, Francis, Gomes, Durrell, Craddock, Barnett (Clements 63), Dyer (McGurk 84), Proffitt ▆.      Subs Unused: Chapman, Martin, Flynn

Bashley: Elm, Smith, Ferrett, Middleton, Gazzard ©, Knowles, Kelly, Mason (Cream 82), Allen, Gamble, Knight (Town 71)     Subs Unused; Prodomo, Maxwell, Parnell

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