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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Bath City

Rollo (63), Hawkins (88)

Hednesford Town

(0) 2

(0) 0




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Craig Dean



Gresley Rovers (H) 10.1.04

Hednesford's run of poor form continued this afternoon as their terrible record at Twerton Park was extended to three successive defeats with a sound defeat to struggling Bath City

Four games without a win had left manager Barry Powell with much to ponder ahead of today's trip down the M5, just two days after their 4-4 draw at home to struggling Moor Green at Keys Park. Powell made one change to his side, dropping the disappointing Scott Goodwin from central midfield and bringing the left-sided Craig Dean in his place to add more width to the team

Bath had been beaten 4-0 by the Pitmen back in November, which was to prove the last stand for former manager Alan Pridham as he was sacked the following week. The experienced Gary Owers had taken over as player/manager and had struggled to turn around the club's fortunes with only one win in six games so far under his tenure as manager. Owers made one change to the side that had been narrowly beaten by Newport County on New Year's Day in the Severn Bridge derby as Russell Milton returned to the side in place of youngster Jan Klukowski in midfield

It was another bitterly cold afternoon down in Somerset as the recent cold snap continued to cover the UK and postpone a number of games further north. The Pitmen made a bright start to the game as Dean got involved early on as he made a run forwards to take advantage of miscommunication from Adam Howarth and keeper Mark Bryant to steal the ball away from the pair as they dithered. Dean's angled shot from just inside the Bath penalty area was, however, slightly off target and ended up in amongst the Hednesford supporters shivering on the open terrace behind Bryant's goal

A good spell of possession from the men in blue saw Danks released by a fine Steve Palmer pass on eleven minutes; his turn took Jim Rollo out of play but was denied a shot at goal by a timely covering challenge from the experienced Mike Trought


Good wing play by Danny McGhee six minutes later saw him drift past full-back Steve Jenkins and send over a fine cross to the far post that Steve Anthrobus headed back across goal. Danks attempted to turn the ball home but was eased away from the ball by Rollo and Bryant claimed the loose ball at the second attempt

Bath's best chance of the opening quarter came from a set-piece on nineteen minutes as Howarth delivered a cross from the right-hand side that Rollo headed goalwards, only for Ryan Young to turn the ball over the crossbar despite the ball looking as though it was heading out of play anyway

A rampaging run from Carl Palmer was halted by a challenge from Owers on twenty-eight minutes to earn the Pitmen a free-kick in a dangerous position. Les Hines swung in a fine free-kick that was aimed at Chris Brindley, only for the veteran's header to be smuggled away from goal by a combination of Rollo and Howarth

The dangerous Jason Eaton got the better of Lee Barrow four minutes later, turning the centre-back as he got on the end of Milton's pass before dragging his shot across the face of Young's goal and wide

Another mazy run from McGhee on thirty-four minutes saw the youngster drift inside from the right, turning Jenkins and Rollo inside out before getting in a shot that forced Bryant into a fine save down to his right

Five minutes before half-time saw Bath have their best chance of the half as former Southampton striker Frankie Bennett slipped the ball through to Milton with a fine first-time pass, only for Milton to drag his effort just over the crossbar

The Pitmen can be pleased with their first-half endeavours in having the better of the chances and possession but had done very little note in front of goal during the first forty-five minutes, whereas Bath continued with their recent poor form which required a stern half-time talk from Owers

The hosts took the game to the Pitmen in the early stages of the second half as Owers' words had the desired effect on his side; Bennett and Eaton had been cut adrift in the first half but were far more involved in the second period as the pair linked up to create space of Milton on fifty-eight minutes, only for the midfielder to drag his shot well wide of goal from just inside the Hednesford penalty area

Young was called into action for the first time in the half on fifty-three minutes as he beat away a strong effort from Bennett, palming the shot away from goal after the striker had got goal side of Brindley to meet an Owers pass

Trought denied Danks a clear run at goal on the hour mark as he nipped in to take the ball away from the in-form forward, with Danks appealing in vain for handball against the defender as he took the cleared the danger

The Pitmen were made to pay for their missed chances in the first half as Bath took the lead three minutes later. The ball was worked into the Hednesford from a corner kick where Bennett was lurking on the left-hand side of the box. His shot took a wicked deflection off Milton and wrong-footed the Pitmen's defence, eventually falling to Rollo - his close-range volley nestled into the net from a couple of yards out with Young still trying to adjust his stance from the deflected shot

Powell reacted to going behind with his first change of the afternoon in the next break in play by bringing on Steve Evans down the wing to replace McGhee, who had drifted out of the game after a fine first-half display

A long goal kick from Bryant nearly caught the Pitmen out on sixty-nine minutes as the away side allowed the ball to bounce in the final third and see Bennett seize upon it. The striker attempted a lob from nearly thirty yards out that dipped just over Young's crossbar

The visitors made their second substitution of the game on seventy-one minutes as Gibson - struggling to cope with Milton in the second half - was replaced by Anthony Maguire

Bennett was denied by a late offside flag two minutes later as he gleefully raced onto a loose ball from Jenkins before turning the ball past the despairing dive of Young. The referee had a long conversation with his assistant before disallowing the goal due to Bennett moving a little too soon

The Pitmen's final change of a disappointing game came with fourteen minutes remaining, as Nathan Lamey came on in place of Steve Palmer to play up front as a three with Danks and a completely anonymous Steve Anthrobus

Brindley received a stern talking-to from the referee on seventy-seven minutes after scything Eaton to the floor just outside the Hednesford penalty area as the striker skipped past him. The resultant free-kick from Owers drifted inches wide of the far post as three Bath players narrowly missed the cross with their heads

Another run from Bennett on eighty minutes took Barrow out of position down the left as the striker drifted wide of the Hednesford penalty area. The ball bobbled off the legs of Barrow and back into the path of Bennett, whose low cross was weakly turned wide of goal by Milton at the far post

A brief foray into the opposition half from the Pitmen on eighty-four minutes saw Dean link up well with Les Hines before crossing deep to the far post, where Maguire arrived late to volley high over the crossbar with a wild first-time shot

The Romans sealed a crucial three points for them with a killer second goal on eighty-eight minutes to leave the Pitmen floored. Bennett was involved again to cap a fine second-half performance from the striker, picking out Darren Hawkins with a defence-splitting pass that caught the Pitmen cold. Hawkins took a touch to take the ball around Young and slot the ball into the empty net

This was to be Bennett's final involvement in the game, as he was warmly applauded off by the home supporters before the game could restart as he was replaced by Klukowski

A fifth successive game without a win sees the Pitmen sink to eighth place in the table, a full thirteen points behind league leaders Weymouth and are now starting to look behind them as the pack below closes up on the top ten in the race for the top thirteen. League action takes a back seat for one game as the Pitmen return to F.A. Trophy duty next weekend with a visit of Southern League Western Gresley Rovers

Bath City: Bryant, Jones, Jenkins, Howarth, Trought, Rollo ©Hawkins, Owers, Eaton (Cleverley 77), Bennett ▆ (Klukowski 89), Milton       Subs Unused: Jeffers, Saade, Welch

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson (Maguire 71), Hines, McGhee (S. Evans 64), Brindley, BarrowC. Palmer, S. Palmer © (Lamey 76)Anthrobus, Danks, Dean    Subs Unused: Dodd, P. Evans

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