Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Cambridge City

Hednesford Town

C. Palmer (88)

(0) 0

(0) 1




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Jordan King


 Aldershot Town (A) 27.3.04

The Pitmen finally end their away day hoodoo dating back into last year with a hard-fought late win over mid-table dwellers Cambridge City at Milton Road this afternoon courtesy of Carl Palmer's late winner

Tuesday night had seen the Pitmen hit for six by title favourites Crawley Town to leave Barry Powell's men staring at relegation to step three with only six weeks of the season remaining. Powell made one change to the side that had started the midweek horror show at the Broadfield Stadium by including new signing Jordan King - signed on loan from Hereford United - in place of Mark Danks as the Pitmen went to a more defensive 4 4 2 formation

Cambridge returned home following a 1-0 win over Welling United at Park View Road in their last league game, lifting the Lilywhites into tenth place in the table and in a good position to qualify for the Conference South set-up at the end of the season. Manager Gary Roberts also made one change to the side that had beaten Welling, with Lee Chaffey in at the expense of Stuart Niven, who dropped to the bench

There was a gale force wind whipping across the pitch at kick-off time, hampering both sides' ability to play the brand of football they wanted during a difficult ninety minutes of football. Skipper Steve Palmer won the toss and opted to kick into the wind in the first period to earn themselves the potential benefit of having the wind at their backs in the second half

The home side looked to take full advantage of the wind behind them early on in the game as Richard Scott's free-kick headed away from underneath his own crossbar by Darren Simkin, who had tracked back to follow the ball into his own six-yard box

A run from Danny Bloomfield was spotted by Cook in the eighth minute as a long, rangy ball forwards from the winger spun into the path of the striker inside the Hednesford penalty area. A combination of the wind taking the ball away from him and the presence of Lee Barrow saw Bloomfield lose possession at the crucial time which allowed the Hednesford centre-back to hack clear

Ryan Young - overworked in Tuesday night's embarrassing defeat at Crawley - was called upon to make his first save of the afternoon in the fifteenth minute as Lewis Cook's through ball to Lewis Baillie was squared into the path of Scott, whose low drive from the edge of the penalty area was saved by the Hednesford keeper down to his right

Simkin was Johnny on the spot once again for the Pitmen three minutes later to block Bloomfield's effort at goal after Scott's free-kick was played into the path of City's top scorer, whose first-time shot at the near post was bludgeoned away by the right-back

The Pitmen were really struggling to cope with the windswept conditions blowing in their faces and created very little in the way of clear-cut chances in the first half. On twenty minutes, Steve Anthrobus did well to flick on a Chris Brindley ball forward to Piearce, only for the returning former Wolves man to take a heavy touch and allow the ball to run through to Cambridge keeper Martin Davies

Barrow came to his side's rescue on twenty-four minutes as he successfully intercepted a dangerous cross into the Hednesford six yard box by Carl Williams from the right which was aimed at the lurking presence of Bloomfield


 A delightful cross from Les Hines on the half hour mark was claimed by Davies at his near post  at the second attempt as he challenged Brindley to the ball at the near post before Bloomfield went closest of everyone to scoring a minute later as he turned well to connect with Robbie Simpson's cross, only to lift his effort from twelve yards out over the crossbar

Anthrobus tracked back into his own penalty area to turn a wind-assisted corner kick from Cook away from the clutches of Simpson on thirty-six minutes, heading behind for another corner to deny the striker a simple header home at the far post

On forty-one minutes, a long, rangy ball forwards from Davies caught the wind once more and sailed out into the path of Williams, whose cross was weakly headed over the crossbar by Bloomfield as he beat Brindley to the ball

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Pitmen were far more assertive in their approach and came close to taking the lead on fifty-two minutes as Young's long ball forwards was caught in the wind once more before being controlled by Gray, who played Piearce in one goal with a clever through ball. The striker took a touch before drilling a low shot at goal that was deflected wide of the target by Matt Langston

On the hour mark, good wing play from Williams saw him skip past Hines from a Simpson pass and send over a fine cross for Bloomfield, only for the striker to head his effort wide of Young's post

Steve Palmer earned himself yet another booking on sixty-five minutes for pulling back Bloomfield in midfield after the striker had robbed a ponderous Barrow. The Hednesford skipper is now facing a multi-game ban from league action having accumulated fifteen yellow cards for the season

King was enjoying a decent debut as the defensive midfielder, neatly linking defence and midfield whilst giving the often flat-footed centre of defence a layer of protection against the likes of Bloomfield and Simpson, whose pace was a constant problem to the older bones of Brindley and Barrow

Anthrobus was out of luck in front of goal in another frustrating afternoon for the big striker as he drew another blank, heading a Gray cross well wide of goal on seventy-one minutes after getting goal side of Chaffey

A great pass from Carl Palmer sent Piearce away down the left on seventy-six minutes, with the wind drifting the ball wide of the penalty area and sending Piearce to the touchline. The striker jinked his way past Baillie and crossed for Gray, whose scuffed shot from just inside the Cambridge penalty area drifted wide of the far post

The game was seemingly drifting towards a goalless draw as chances had been at a premium in the second period, with Powell introducing Damien Charie and Steve Evans on seventy-eight minutes in an attempt to add pace and enthusiasm to his workmanlike forward line as Steve Palmer and Anthrobus were removed from the field of play

Young was alert to the danger a minute later to deny Cambridge the opening goal of the game as he turned Simpson's powerful header from a Cook cross over the crossbar at his far post after doing well to reposition himself to get to the ball

Robbie Nightingale was introduced by City on eighty minutes in place of Williams to add creativity to the City attack as they struggled to carve out good chances in the second half. Simpson wasted a glorious chance, however, on eighty-two minutes as Bloomfield's pass into his path was struck towards goal by the young striker, who forced Young into a fine save at his near post when he really should have made the Hednesford keeper work a lot more

Debutant Cook - on loan from Wycombe Wanderers - had enjoyed a fine debut but was tiring as the game entered it's final stages and was replaced by Niven on eighty-four minutes

The Pitmen grabbed what appeared to be an unlikely winner with two minutes remaining courtesy of a quick piece of thinking from Hines to take a free-kick quickly and find Gray caught Cambridge out down the left flank; Gray got to the byeline and clipped the ball back into the danger zone, where Carl Palmer arrived late to powerfully head past Davies from close range to send the band of visiting supporters behind the goal wild

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the hosts, who could not muster a response in the four added minutes that followed as the Pitmen held on for their first away win in any competition since they beat Worcester City way back on November 15th - a full four months ago. Cambridge will feel aggrieved at not holding out for a point as they felt that they had earned it in a poor advert of Southern League football over the ninety minutes. It was a crucial win for the Pitmen, however, who move up three points in the table to seventeenth in the table and now have their massive F.A. Trophy Semi-Final 1st leg clash at Aldershot Town to look forward to next weekend


Cambridge City: Davies, Pope, Baillie, Langston, Chaffey, Scott, Miller, Williams (Nightingale 80), Simpson, Bloomfield, Cook (Niven 84)      Subs Unused: Calton, Pluck, Summerscales

Hednesford Town: Young, Simkin, Hines, King, BrindleyBarrowC. Palmer, S. Palmer © ▆ (Charie 78), Anthrobus, (S. Evans 78), Piearce, Gray        Subs Unused: Maguire, Danks, P. Evans