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UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Barnett (26), Harvey (90)


Towey (38)

(1) 2

(1) 1



Current Form

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Louis Briscoe


Eastwood Town (A) 9.9.08

The Pitmen got back to winning ways this evening with a late, late show against Buxton at Keys Park, sending Hednesford to the top of the UniBond Premier League in the process for twenty-four hours at least

Returning home following a goalless draw at Frickley Athletic on Saturday, Dean Edwards once again kept faith in the same XI that had started the last four games as he looked to extend the club's unbeaten run to five games. New signing Gary Woodcock was brought onto the bench after the departure of fringe players Orlando Junior and Adam Connolly and the unavailability of left-back Ludovic Quistin

Mid-table Buxton had had a mixed start to the new season but arrived at Keys Park off the back of a confident 3-0 win over Cammell Laird at the weekend. Bucks manager John Reed also stuck with the same side that had started Saturday's game in Birkenhead for their second away trip of the week

The home side started with real intent, forcing Buxton back as they looked to take advantage of their current sparkling form. Sean Platt's cross found Ross Draper via Tyrone Barnett, but the Hednesford skipper could not compose himself in front of goal and the chance was gone

Following a good spell of possession on four minutes, Tyrone Barnett was brought down, winning a free-kick for the home side. Louis Briscoe hammered in a free-kick that was booted away from the Buxton goal by a defender

Buxton responded with a shot from James Turley five minutes later, picking the ball up and shooting from eighteen yards out, but Stuart Brock saw the ball harmlessly over the bar

Briscoe saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages and had two good chances to open the scoring within seconds of each other. After receiving the ball from Sean Platt, he fired in a low shot that Scott Hartley turned away for a corner kick. From the resultant corner, taken by Mark Briggs, the ball somehow made it through to Briscoe at the far post, who could not adjust his body quickly enough, turning the ball wide

Briscoe again tested Hartley a couple of minutes later, turning and firing in another low shot that the Buxton number one held

All three of Hednesford's front-men were enjoying plenty of the ball; you get a real feeling that a team not quite on their guard one day will take a real hammering from the holy trinity of Ross Dyer, Barnett and Briscoe. Their understanding and link play was evident again on sixteen minutes, with Barnett playing Dyer down the line with a great ball. Dyer returned the compliment with a cross towards Barnett, but his header was off target. Briscoe, coming in at the back post, may have been a better option

Briscoe was set up by the unselfish Barnett on twenty minutes, Barnett laying the ball into the path of the powerful youngster, whose shot from just outside the area flew over the bar

Barnett was looking most likely to grab the all-important goal for the Pitmen;  after testing Hartley's reflexes with a close-range shot, he did get the goal his efforts deserved two minutes later. Briscoe was, perhaps, inevitably involved, using his physical presence to hold off his man and lay the ball into the path of Barnett, who fired home via a slight deflection

The Pitmen were enjoying their evening, looking to further extend their lead with a flowing move five minutes later. Briscoe beat three players before his progress was halted on the edge of the area. The ball found its way to Ross Draper, who shaped to shoot but handled the ball in the process

Despite having been outplayed in the first half-hour, Buxton equalised with seven minutes left in the first half with their first serious attack of the game. The Pitmen failed to deal with a long ball, allowing it to drop to Michael Towey, whose shot was deflected past a bemused Stuart Brock, who was left flat-footed

Briscoe immediately went searching for a second goal for the Pitmen, testing Hartley with another powerful shot from the edge of the area

Briscoe was simply brilliant at times in the first half and thought he had scored early in the second half as he looked to cap his performance with a goal. His effort was chalked off by the referee after he had spotted an earlier incident that had left Hartley injured as he challenged Barnett for the ball

It was all one-way traffic, as Hednesford continued to plug away during the second period. Barnett's header was well saved by a groggy-looking Hartley on fifty-six minutes

Draper tried his luck on the hour mark, hitting a great shot that only missed by a matter of inches after the home side had failed to turn in a corner kick

Despite such pressure, there was always a glimmer of hope for Buxton whilst it remained 1-1. Former Barrow and Guiseley striker Gavin Knight, under pressure from Decio Gomes, managed to get a shot away but saw his shot come back off the bar and back into play

Buoyed by this, Buxton had another great chance two minutes later. Nathan James should have done better when presented with a free header from a Grant Black cross but headed over from close range

Hartley made a fine double save to deny centre backs Tom Marshall and Danny Harvey, as the game entered the final quarter. Dean Edwards made a double substitution, bringing on Chad Sheppard and Elliott Durrell in place of Mark Briggs and Briscoe, who was tiring

The Pitmen thought they had got the winner ten minutes from the end when Dyer got clear and managed to head the ball past the onrushing Hartley. As the ball bobbled towards the empty net, many were already celebrating, but the ball hit the post and went wide of the target

As the time ticked away, there were more desperate actions being taken, particularly from the home side. Platt's drive was tipped over by Hartley, followed by a Durrell shot that was blocked as it looked to be heading towards goal

As the game entered added time, the Pitmen looked for one more chance. Dyer seized on the ball and crossed into the area, where Harvey gambled by diving in, heading the ball past Hartley to spark wild celebrations from the Pitmen's supporters

With added time seemingly never-ending, Buxton took a gamble of their own, launching the ball forward one last time. Harvey and Knight came together in the area, with Harvey going from hero to potential villain by bringing Knight down. The referee had no alternative but to award a penalty, which Knight got up to take. Brock was to be the Pitmen's other hero, turning the spot-kick away and holding on to the rebound in what turned out to be the final action of the game

The Pitmen now sit atop of the UniBond Premier League ahead of a round of fixtures involving the teams around them tomorrow night. Saturday sees them make it back-to-back home games as Ashton United make the trip down from Greater Manchester to face the in-form Pitmen

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt, Maguire, Gomes, Harvey, Marshall, Briggs (Sheppard 63), Briscoe (Durrell 63), Barnett (Morris 77), Dyer, Draper ©       Subs Unused: Stamps, Woodcock

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Agus, Bowker, Anderson, Maxfield, Turley (Lee 70), Towey, James, Knight, Walker (Smith 61)       Subs Unused: Balfe, Brodie, McGuire

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