UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Dyer (48)


Bowker (27), Turley (29), (53)

(0) 1

(2) 3



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Ross Dyer


Willenhall Town (A) 20.10.07

Hednesford's F.A. Cup hangover lasted well into Monday evening as they continued to lose ground on the play-off contenders after a home defeat against newly-promoted Buxton this evening


After Saturday's Rushall horror show, Phil Starbuck looked for a response from his side and made three changes for tonight's game. Lee Whittington returned as part of his dual registration deal with Harrogate Town up front alongside Alan Nagington, who was surprisingly named in the side despite suffering a knee injury just over a week ago. The pair replaced the injured duo of Tom Ward and Paul Robinson, whilst Tim Sanders was handed a full debut in place of Dominic Heath. Other players were shuffled around the pitch to accommodate the strike duo's return and Sanders' inclusion. Injuries had stretched the squad to the limit, with Australian youngster Daniel Wells drafted in to cover the last substitute's spot after recently joining the club

John Reed's Buxton side made a satisfactory start to life back in the Northern Premier League's top tier and sat in mid-table ahead of tonight's clash. They had remained unbeaten away from home so far this term, winning three and drawing three of their six games so far which included a 2-1 win over Derbyshire neighbours Ilkeston Town at the weekend. Reed handed Gregg Anderson a debut in defence after his signing from Clitheroe in the one change to the Bucks side from the weekend

The home side's fragile resolve and confidence was tested within the first three minutes as Jordan Hall made a fine run down the flank and crossed into the Hednesford six-yard box where Gordon Simms headed away under severe pressure from Mark Reed


 Successive corner kicks for Buxton in the sixth minute culminated in Anton Foster whistling a shot just wide after an uncharacteristic mistake from Ross Adams inside his own penalty area

Steve Palmer - looking painfully off the pace from the off and clearly not 100% fit - was robbed of the ball thirty yards from his own goal in the thirteenth minute by Jason Bradley, who broke into the Hednesford penalty only to be denied by a fine smothering stop from Rene Gilmartin, who took advantage of a heavy touch from the striker

Nagington was getting very little joy out of new boy Anderson but did register a shot of sorts in the fifteenth minute as he managed to weakly toe-poke a Mario Pedro cross wide of goal from ten yards out after getting goal side of the defender

Midway through the half, Palmer was again caught out as he lost the ball cheaply to Foster who played in Bradley. As he shaped to shoot, skipper Tom Marshall managed to get back and make a tackle to save the former Hednesford skipper's blushes

More defensive chaos followed on twenty-five minutes as both Adams and Marshall failed to clear a bouncing ball and had to rely on Gilmartin to finally pump the ball clear. The on-loan Walsall stopper let his defence know what he thought of their game so far with some choice words

It seemed only a matter of time before Buxton took advantage of one of these defensive howlers and the opening goal of the evening arrived two minutes later. An inswinging corner from Foster to the far post was met by Terry Bowker, who turned the ball narrowly over the line through a crowd of players to give the Bucks the lead

Buxton continued to turn the screw as they sensed more goals, with Marshall required to clear a dangerous-looking cross from Grant Black two minutes later. From the resultant corner, the ball found its way to James Turley, who scored his first goal for Buxton with a crisp drive past Rene Gilmartin from the edge of the area. A fine strike, but more questions asked about the marking and shape of the Hednesford team from set-pieces

Marshall - another player forced into playing despite carrying a knock - made another timely tackle on thirty-three minutes to deny the dangerous Mark Reed after an angled past from Michael Towey had played the striker into the Hednesford penalty area

Sanders was one of the few Hednesford players trying to drag the Pitmen into the game, picking up a pass from midfield partner Palmer on forty minutes but lifting his effort over the crossbar

Two minutes later, a superb block by Marshall with his leg somehow managed to block Bradley's goalbound shot after a howler from Gordon Simms had gifted possession to the striker on the edge of this own box. From the rebound, Bradley fired across goal and was denied a second time by Gilmartin's reflexes

The half-time whistle was greeted with a chorus of familiar and frustrated boos from the home supporters, who had become tired of the sloppy defensive errors that were costing their team week in, week out. Nagington's injury issues resurfaced at the break as he was replaced by Linden Dovey after suffering a reoccurrence of his leg injury from a couple of games ago

Sent out with a flea in their ear from Starbuck, it took the Pitmen only three minutes of the restart to get themselves back into contention; Ross Dyer collected a great little pass from Sanders to dart in and score low past keeper Scott Hartley from close-range to reduce the deficit

Buxton went back on the offensive after conceding this early goal with Michael Towey thumped the post with a drive from the edge of the area on fifty-two minutes. The ball fell at the feet of substitute Paul Walker, who wastefully pulled his effort wide of goal from close-range

The Bucks restored their two-goal advantage on fifty-three minutes as the Pitmen's defence cracked once more under pressure. Walker's pass into Turley saw the forward shrug off a half-hearted challenge from the hapless Simms and drilled a low shot beyond the teach of Gilmartin from sixteen yards out

Dovey nearly picked the pocket of Bowker on fifty-seven minutes as he attempted to nick the ball off the defender as he played a Simms ball back to Hartley, only for the Buxton stopper to just do enough to claim the bouncing ball ahead of the substitute

Whittington tested Hartley on the hour mark with a fiercely struck drive from just outside the Buxton penalty area that was pushed away from danger by the goalkeeper to concede a corner kick

Tired of watching his team playing second-fiddle, Starbuck made his second substitution of the evening on sixty-two minutes as Palmer was finally taken off to save him further embarrassment as he was replaced by Heath 

A flowing move from the Bucks with twenty minutes remaining saw four players link up in midfield before Turley was played in behind the Hednrford defence, only for Adams to recover sufficiently to get a block in. The defender came off worst in the challenge and required a spell of treatment before he could continue

The Pitmen thought that they had earned a penalty kick a minute later as Pedro had gone to ground under a challenge from Hartley, only for referee Mr Cox to gesture to the Portuguese winger to get to his feet


Dovey tried a speculative effort that was wide of goal for the target with fourteen minutes remaining, whilst Gilmartin made a comfortable save to deny Buxton's man of the match Foster

Ashley Woolliscrift - anonymous for the majority of the game - gifted possession to Turley with ten minutes remaining, playing a lazy pass straight into the path of the Buxton substitute who drove his shot just wide

Three minutes later, Marshall almost blotted his copybook as he completely misjudged the bounce of a ball and allowed Reed to seize upon a pass in behind him. The striker's shot was well saved by Gilmartin, who parried the low shot away from goal

Foster was booked with virtually the last kick of the game for Buxton for a late and needlessly aggressive challenge on Heath that left the winger in a heap

Yet another bad night at the office for the Pitmen, whose defensive unit either needs some serious work on in training or dismantling and starting again as it threatens to derail Pitmen's whole season after another atrocious display Marshall aside. A break from league duty once more occurs on Saturday as the Pitmen make another very local trip across to Willenhall Town in the first qualifying round of the F.A. Trophy with last Saturday's F.A. Cup defeat at lower league Rushall still fresh in the memory


Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Marshall ©, Adams, Simms, Palmer (Heath 62), Pedro, Sanders, Woolliscroft, Dyer, Nagington (Dovey 45), Whittington      Sub Unused: Wells

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Maxfield, Bowker, Anderson ©, Foster, Hall, Towey, Bradley (Walker 49), Reed, Turley (Lennon 72)      Sub Unused: Ridley