Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Walker (49)

Brackley Town

Rawle (29), (54), Winters (53), (90)

(0) 1

(1) 4



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Tony Dinning


Truro City (H) 29.8.09

The Pitmen's unbeaten start to life back in the Southern Premier is brought to an abrupt halt this evening as much-fancied Brackley Town hammer their hosts with a dominant display at Keys Park

Saturday's late win over Didcot Town had left Dean Edwards' side sitting in fifth place in the table ahead of tonight's clash, with Edwards sticking with the same XI that had started at the weekend for what would be the third successive game. Carl Palmer was passed fit to take his place amongst the substitutes after missing the last two games due to injury

Brackley had also made a promising start to the new season but had been on the end of a 3-1 reverse against title favourites Farnborough last week before returning to winning ways with a win over Halesowen Town at the weekend. Player/manager Jon Brady also named an unchanged side from their game at the weekend ahead of their first-ever trip to Keys Park

On a bright and mild evening in South Staffordshire, the Pitmen made the first move forwards in the fourth minute as Elliott Durrell won the ball from Elliot Sandy and played Sean Platt into space down the right flank. The full-back's cross was a little too high for Tyrone Barnett to reach and he could only glance the ball wide of goal

Three minutes later, Sam Aiston exchanged passes with Aaron Gibson before playing Ross Dyer into the Brackley penalty area. The striker turned past Jamie Kearns and created a yard of space for himself before shotting low at goal, which Richard Morris in the Brackley goal made a comfortable save from

Brackley's first chance of the evening came in the fourteenth minute as Sandy won a fifty/fifty duel with Tony Dinning and made a move to the fringes of the Hednesford penalty area. He spotted the run of Tom Winters in behind Gibson and played a slide-rule pass into the feet of the flying winger, whose rising shot from eighteen yards out just cleared Gavin Ward's crossbar

Four minutes later, a corner kick from Winters was flicked on at the near post by skipper Craig McIlwain and subsequently headed over the crossbar by the incoming Kearns from just a couple of yards out

Brackley were forced into their first substitution of the evening on eighteen minutes as Brady brought himself on in pace of Kearns, who was forced off due to a knock

Mark Rawle took advantage of Richard Walker's dallying midway through the first period as he intercepted the Hednesford skipper's lazy pass out from the back and drove into the Hednesford penalty area, only to lash his shot wide of Ward's left-hand post with a rushed effort

Gibson was the first of three Hednesford players booked on twenty-five minutes as he hauled Ben Mackey back illegally after the striker had skipped past the former Shrewsbury man

Brackley took the lead on twenty-nine minutes after a neat spell of play opened up the Pitmen's back line; Jerome Anderson and Rawle played a neat one-two that left the home side flat-footed, allowing Rawle to fire past Ward from fifteen yards out

Scott Lycett fired wide of the Pitmen on thirty-two minutes after being teed up by Dinning before the veteran former Wolves man stung the hands of Morris himself two minutes later after seizing on a loose ball on the edge of the Brackley penalty area

Dyer and Barnett linked up well for the hosts on thirty-five minutes as their neat interplay on the edge of the Brackley box set up Durrell, only for the playmaker to fire well wide of goal

With six minutes of the half remaining, Brackley nearly doubled their advantage as a quick break down the right saw Josh Green send over a low cross that was turned wide by Mackey, under pressure from Walker at the near post

Durrell wasted the Pitmen's best chance of the half in the final minute of the opening forty-five as he tamely sidefooted a lay-off from Dinning wide of the right-hand post

Half-time saw the Pitmen make a change as the fit-again Palmer came on in place of Platt, forcing a reshuffle in the ranks with Lycett moving to right-back and Palmer slotting into his central midfield role

Dinning picked up an early booking two minutes after the restart for bringing down Anderson when in full flight as he skipped past the experienced midfielder

The Pitmen's bolder approach saw them reap the dividends almost immediately as they got themselves back on level terms on forty-nine minutes; Durrell's floated free-kick was met by the head of Walker, who nodded home from close range to claim his first goal for the club since joining them in the summer

This was as good as it got, however, for the Pitmen as Brackley gained control of the game in the second period and picked the PItmen off at regular intervals to seal what was to be a comfortable win

On fifty-three minutes, Winters picked the ball out on the left flank and cut inside from the touchline, drifting past the challenge of Lycett before unleashing an unstoppable shot from fully thirty yards out that had Ward grasping for air as the ball rocketed past him. A superb individual goal from a talented flair player, who caused the Pitmen no end of problems all evening

A minute later and with the Pitmen still reeling from Winters goal, the Saints put clear day between themselves and their hosts with a killer third goal; Winters played Mackey into space in behind the Hednesford defence, with Mackey pulling the ball back into the path of Rawle, who tapped the ball home from close-range despite Ward and Bailey's best attempts to keep the ball out

This seemed to kill off the Pitmen's attacking intent as the hosts struggled to make any headway in the final third of the pitch with Dyer and Barnett well shackled

Sandy tested Ward with another long-range effort on the hour mark before Rawle was denied a clear shot at goal by Palmer's presence of mind two minutes later to block the striker's shot at goal from twelve yards out

The Pitmen made their final change of the evening on sixty-four minutes as Justin Nisbett came on in place of Aiston, who had drifted out of the game after a bright start

Barnett was booked on sixty-nine minutes for leaving his foot in on McIlwain, followed by a booking for opposite number Rawle a minute later for an overly enthusiastic challenge on Bailey

Nisbett's first sight at goal was blocked by the leg of Jamie Gould on seventy-five minutes as he was fed a fine through ball from Dinning, only to see his shot on the run blocked by the Brackley defender

With eleven minutes remaining, Winters again led Lycett a merry dance down the right flank as he shimmied his way past the utility man and crossed for Mackey, whose header was saved by Ward with the striker already pulled back for fouling Walker in the box

Anderson fired wide for the visitors with five minutes remaining, whilst Durrell drove a trademark long-range effort into the Heath Hayes terrace a minute later with the home side's final chance of a disappointing evening

Winters put a gloss finish on Brackley's dominant performance with a gift of a fourth goal in the final minute of the game; Lycett's weak backpass towards Ward lacked sufficient power to reach the veteran keeper, allowing Winters to nip in and slot the ball beyond the committed Ward from just inside the Hednesford penalty area to make it 4-1

It had been a sobering evening for the Pitmen's players, officials and supporters after a comprehensive defeat to a quick, powerful and clinical Brackley side who will no doubt be challenging towards the top of the table this term. They will look to get themselves back to winning ways on Saturday when they face newly-promoted Truro City at Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt (Palmer 45), Gibson , Walker ©, Bailey, Dinning , Durrell, Lycett, Barnett , Dyer, Aiston (Nisbett 64)      Subs Unused: Bandurak, Flynn

Brackley Town: Morris, Green (Burgess 83), Gould, Kearns (Brady 18), McIlwain ©, Willmott, Anderson, Sandy, Rawle ▆ (Spencer 64), Mackey, Winters      Subs Unused: Goode, Groves

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