8.11.2003

Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Anthrobus (10), Brindley (45), Danks (61), Simkin (70)

Bath City

(2) 4

(0) 0 

 

Attendance

MotM

Current Form

Next Match

512

Les Hines

L W W L D L W W W W

 

Worcester City (A) 15.11.03

The Pitmen make it three successive league wins in a row and four in all competitions with a comprehensive victory over struggling Bath City at Keys Park this afternoon where the home side show plenty of conviction in front of goal to put their opponents to the sword

Last weekend had seen the Pitmen inch their way past Southern League Western side Shepshed Dynamo in the first round of the F.A. Trophy to set up a second round tie with UniBond Premier League side Lancaster City at the end of the month to make it three successive wins to add to league victories   over Worcester City and Tiverton Town. Manager Barry Powell made two changes to the side that had started against Shepshed, bringing the vastly experienced Andy Thompson in for his full debut after a late cameo from the former Wolves full-back at the Dovecote and also restoring Steve Anthrobus to the side in place of Nathan Lamey up front

Bath had been struggling for any form of consistency so far this term, sitting third from bottom of the Southern Premier League table after a home reverse last week to Weymouth had left them without a win in six league games, on top of a poor 3-0 defeat in the F.A. Cup to Thame United. Manager Alan Pridham was coming under severe pressure to turn the Romans' fortunes around after such poor run of results and made one change to the side that had started against Weymouth with Matt Coupe coming in for Steve Jones, who dropped to the bench. The Romans also included former Hednesford triallist  Alfie Carter in their starting XI, having signed the former Walsall forward after his trial period at Keys Park had come to an end in pre-season

Desperate for a positive start to the game, Bath had the better of the opening exchanges with Jason Eaton lashing an early shot well wide of Ryan Young's goal with the first sighter of goal in the third minute after Darren Simkin had afforded the prolific striker too much time and space

Three minutes later, a well-taken free-kick form the vastly experienced Gary Owers found the head of skipper Jim Rollo at the far post, but the centre-back's firm header was well off target and ended up in amongst the Bath supporters gathered in the Hednesford end of the ground

A long boot forward from keeper Mark Bryant cause the Pitmen problems in the eighth minute as the host allowed the ball to bounce just outside the penalty area and let Carter bring the ball down. His through ball found former Southampton man Frankie Bennett, whose low shot was diverted behind by the boot of the covering Les Hines

Despite this bright start from the Romans, it was Hednesford who struck first in the tenth minute as Anthrobus justified Powell's faith in him with the opening goal on his return to the side; Mark Danks did well to wriggle past Coupe down the left before sending over a fine cross from the right wing which Anthrobus powerfully headed past Bryant from close range

Bath continued to press the hosts despite falling behind and were denied on more than on occasion by Young, who was in inspired form between the posts for the Pitmen. The former Chasetown stopper made a superb one-handed stop on fifteen minutes to deny Steve Tweddle after the defender had headed Carter's chipped cross goalwards, followed four minutes later with a sprawling save to his right hand side to turn Drew Shore's well-hit shot around the post for a Bath corner kick

Gray's persistence on twenty-one minutes saw the winger dispossess Tweddle down the flank as the Bath man tried to play his way out of trouble before slipping the balling the path of Danks. The striker showed great composure to feint left and in the same movement play Carl Palmer in on goal, sending two Bath players the wrong way in the process. However, the midfielder's effort failed to live up to the approach play as he dragged his shot wide of Bryant's goal from twenty yards out

A neat triangle of passes by Danny McGhee, Steve Palmer and Anthrobus set Gray pampering away down the right wing again on twenty-four minutes; the winger cut inside Tweddle and forced Bryant into a regulation save at his near post as he attempted a rising shot from a tight angle out on the right hand side of the Bath penalty area

A quickly taken free-kick from Thompson found Gray once more on the half-hour mark, with Gray this time electing to send over a deep cross that Anthrobus - stretching to meet the ball at the far post - headed wide of Bryant's upright

Chris Brindley made a fine goal-saving challenge on thirty-six minutes to halt the progress of Eaton after Carter's ball had briefly played the striker goal-side of the Hednesford defence

Rollo was adjudged to have pushed Steve Palmer over int he Hednesford penalty area on forty-one minutes as he headed a Carter free-kick goalwards, only to be denied by a fine save by Young and a flag from the assistant on the Wimblebury side to state a foul

Bath were made to pay for not taking their chances in the first half as the hosts struck again with the final action of the first half; an inswinging free-kick from Hines was headed downwards by Brindley and past Bryant, although Danks looked to have tapped the ball over the line with the final touch. The goal was given to veteran Brindley however after much deliberation, as the ball was judged to have been over the line already before Danks had touched the ball

The Pitmen were pleased with the scoreline, if not so much the performance, as Bath had remained in touch for much of the first period and had players such as Eaton and Bennett who had the ability to get the Romans back into contention. The second half was to be dominated by the Pitmen, however, as they took charge of the game as Bath's fragile confidence fell away

The hosts were, however, hit with a blow early on in the second half as debutant Thompson was forced off after pulling up with injury and was replaced by youngster Anthony Maguire at right-back

A sweeping cross-field pass from Maguire found Hines making a forwards run on fifty minutes, allowing the left-back time to pick out Carl Palmer on the penalty spot with another fine delivery. Palmer's header took a deflection off Mike Trought and drifted narrowly wide of Bryant's left-hand post for a Hednesford corner

Hines' resultant corner was partially cleared to Steve Palmer, who was lurking on the edge of the Bath penalty area - his well-struck half-volley bounced through a forest of legs before Rollo hacked the ball away from the feet of Danks, who was lurking with intent inside the six-yard box

A long ball forwards from Young six minutes later was flicked on by Brindley and into the path of Anthrobus, whose rising shot cleared the crossbar as he was hurried into a shot by Rollo from ten yards out

 

The Pitmen made the game safe with a third goal on sixty-one minutes as Danks finally got the goal that his efforts deserved; picking up  a pass from Hines, Danks got the better of substitute Jones and unleashed an unstoppable angled shot from fifteen yards that had too much on it for Bryant to keep it out of the net

Hines was having another fine game for the hosts, delivering quality balls time and time again to test the Bath defence. Another well-struck corner kick on sixty-four minutes was met by Carl Palmer, whose header back into the danger zone was somehow smuggled away from goal despite Danks and Anthrobus looking to turn the ball home

With twenty minutes remaining, the Pitmen struck a fourth goal to make the scoreline look a little flattering through Simkin. A free-kick won by Danks twenty-five yards from goal was spotted by the defender, who rocketed an unstoppable left-footed shot beyond the reach of Bryant and into the rooaf of the net for a fine and fitting goal to end the afternoon's scoring

Powell elected to take off the hard-working Anthrobus following the Pitmen's fourth goal, with the big man applauded off by the crowd as he was replaced up front by Lamey

Lamey and Danks linked up well five minutes later, playing quick, incisive football to play McGhee in on goal, only for the youngster to get caught in two minds whether to cross or shoot and was dispossessed at the vital moment by the recovering Coupe

Bryant made a good save on eighty minute to turn another long-range drive from Simkin over the bar after a Hines corner had only been cleared as far as the former Wolves man

 

Hines was afforded a standing ovation from the main stand a minute later, as he was given a well-earned rest for a job well done with Ashley Dodd coming on in his place

Young made a late save from a Bath corner to turn Rollo's header over the crossbar, whilst Lamey had a first-time shot turned around the post by Bryant with a couple of minutes remaining as both sides had long settled for their respective fates

A third successive league win lifts Hednesford into fifth place in the league table, taking them above local rivals Stafford Rangers and into the early play-off race after sixteen games played. Their unbeaten run will come under severe scrutiny next weekend when they make the short trip down the M5 to face the much-fancied Worcester City, who will be looking for revenge on the Pitmen after losing 3-1 at Keys Park in September 

Hednesford Town: Young, Thompson (Maguire 49), Hines (Dodd 81), McGhee, Brindley, Simkin, C. Palmer, S. Palmer ©, Anthrobus (Lamey 71), Danks, Gray      Subs Unused: Charie, P. Evans

Bath City: Bryant, Coupe, Tweddle (Jones 52), Trought, Rollo ©, Shore (Jenkins 80), Counsell (Welch 67), Owers, Eaton, Bennett, Carter      Subs Unused: Howarth, Northmore

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