26.10.2002

Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Cambridge City

Bloomfield (24), (86)

Hednesford Town

Simkin (50) (penalty), Brindley (58)

(1) 2

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(0) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

584

Darren Simkin

D W D L D L D L W D

 

Clevedon Town (A) 2.11.02

The Pitmen earned themselves an honourable draw against mid-table Cambridge City this afternoon at Milton Road, although manager Ian Painter will feel aggrieved at his side's inability to hang on to all three points after taking a second-half lead through Chris Brindley

 

The Pitmen arrived in Cambridgeshire brimming with confidence after last weekend's demolition of Ilkeston Town at Keys Park. Painter was forced into a change in defence, with club captain Les Robinson unavailable due to injury, meaning a return to the side for youngster Ashley Williams in the skipper's absence. Darren Simkin moved to centre-back to cover for Robinson and Chris Brindley assumed the captaincy. Up front, goal hero Steve Piearce was rewarded for his hat-trick last week with a starting berth in place of Mark Jones, with Kevin Francis continuing his return to fitness with another appearance amongst the substitutes bench which also included teenager Damien Charie once again

 

Cambridge had found wins hard to come by so far this season, with the Lilywhites only chalking up four wins so far this to leave them floundering in mid-table ahead of this afternoon's matches. The hosts could call upon the services of new loan signing Danny Bloomfield, who had joined the team in midweek from AFC Bournemouth. He went straight into an experienced-looking team that included former Conference stalwarts Colin Vowden, Tom Wooding and the prolific Darren Collins, all of whom started for the home side

 

 The dangerous Rob Nightingale was first to have an effort of any real note in the ninth minute, pulling his effort wide of Adam Jenkins' goal after a cross from the in-demand Adam Wilde had picked him out just inside the penalty area

 

Strike partners Piearce and Graham Lancashire linked up well for the team in red two minutes later, with Piearce doing well to lay the ball off into the path of the former Rochdale man, although Lancashire's effort flew well wide of goal without troubling Cambridge keeper Martin Davies

 

Stuart Ryder had grabbed his first Hednesford goal in spectacular circumstances a couple of games ago against Dover Athletic and clearly had developed a taste for goalscoring, as he tried his luck with a low driven effort on twenty minutes after Cambridge had failed to clear their lines. On this occasion, however, Davies was equal to the shot that was straight at him and made a smart save

 

The Pitmen found themselves behind with Cambridge's next attack on twenty-six minutes, as Jenkins fumbled a Collins cross from the right, allowing Bloomfield to control the loose ball and tap home after steadying himself for a debut goal

 

Good play from Wilde and Wooding saw them combine down the wing on twenty-nine minutes and send over a delightful cross towards Collins, who was inches away from connecting with the ball at the far post as he escaped the clutches of Brindley

 

The home side continued to have the better of the half with the buffer of the goal advantage, with the experienced Vowden showing his years of experience at Kettering Town to control the Cambridge back line and snuff out any Hednesford attacks

 

The tricky Wilde almost played Collins in on goal on thirty-nine minutes, but Williams showed maturity beyond his years to have the foresight of mind to track the striker and make a timely interception on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area

 

Jenkins slightly atoned for his earlier error two minutes before half-time, making a fine save at point-blank range to deny Bloomfield a goal after the Hednesford defence had stopped momentarily for an expected free-kick in favour of Simkin. The rebound fell to Che Wilson, who lashed his shot over the crossbar

 

There was a frenzy of changes at the break for the Pitmen, as Shaun Wray and Piearce went off injured and were replaced by Stewart Airdrie and Francis as manager Painter attempted to change things

 

The changes seemed to have an instant impact, with the away side emerged much more focused, and were on level terms almost immediately with their first meaningful attack of the second half. On fifty minutes, Davies made a hash of a cross from an Airdrie cross and in his haste in covering up his mistake, brought down Simkin as he flapped at the bouncing ball. The referee Mr Chittenden was convinced of the shouts from the Hednesford players and awarded the Pitmen a spot-kick. Simkin dusted himself down and fired the ball home for the equaliser by hammering it past Davis to level matters once more

 

Suddenly, the game changed in the away side's favour as they started to win the 50/50 balls and get the likes of Paul Ware and Airdrie more involved in the game. In the fifty-eighth minute, the turnaround was complete as Francis did well to force a corner kick from the right that Adams duly provided the quality delivery from, sending over a deep, inswinging free-kick that old stager Brindley gleefully headed home for his fifth goal of the season already

 

The Pitmen continued to charge forwards, looking for the security of a third goal to kill the game off. Airdrie made a fine run down the left wing on sixty-seven minutes and almost jinked all the way through to goal, only to be denied by a last-ditch challenge from Shane Wardley

 

The hosts made two positional changes to their team with a double change and started to come back into the game int he final ten minutes; Wilson played substitute Matt Clements in on goal on eighty-two minutes, but Clements fired wide of Jenkins' goal

 

Lancashire had a chance to put the result beyond doubt a minute later but tamely fired straight at Davies from a good position inside the Cambridge penalty area, before he was replaced a minute later by Mark Jones

 

 Francis was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance to win the game for the Pitmen on eighty-five minutes, slicing a simple-sidefooted effort straight at Davies after Airdrie had laid the chance off on a plate to the veteran striker

 

It was to prove a crucial miss, as Cambridge levelled matters once more a minute later. Wooding's inswinging corner kick dropped just under the crossbar, allowing Bloomfield to head home from on the goal-line, although the Pitmen felt aggrieved that Jenkins had been fouled by Collins in the build-up

 

There was still time for a potential winner either way, with Jenkins doing well in the final minute of the game to deny Wilde after being played in by substitute Kevin Wilkin, followed a minute later at the other end with Ware's long-range effort nestling into the net, only to be denied a winner by an earlier offside flag

 

In added time, Wooding was handed the benefit of the doubt by the referee when it appeared that he moved his arm towards the ball to deny Airdrie a cross from the left wing. Despite the protests, the referee was unmoved and the game ended in a stalemate

 

Another entertaining encounter for the Hednesford supporters to witness in the sunshine, but a feeling of 'what could have been' had they held out for a few minutes longer and been a little tighter at the back. The Pitmen take a break from league duty once more next weekend and make the trip to Southern League South West side Clevedon Town in the first qualifying round of the F.A. Trophy

 

Cambridge City: Davies, Wignall, Wardley (Wilkin 82), Wooding, Vowden ©, Wilson, Nightingale (Clements 73), Hayes, Collins, Bloomfield, Wilde      Subs Unused: Holden, Pacey, Sturgess

 

Hednesford Town: Jenkins, Williams, Simkin, Ryder, Brindley ©, Rae, Wray (Airdrie 45), Ware, Lancashire (Jones 83), Piearce (Francis 45), Adams     Subs Unused: Charie, Simpson

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