Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Cambridge City

Hammond (59), Kolodynski (71)

(0) 0

(0) 2



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Ben Bailey


Didcot Town (A) 28.8.10

Another home game, another two-goal defeat, and another head-scratcher for manager Bernard McNally this evening - how can his side look so convincing away from home, but struggle to put even two passes together at home, never mind claim three points? 

Buoyed by back-to-back wins away from home, the Pitmen and their supporters approached tonight's game with confidence against one of the league's fancied teams, Cambridge. McNally stuck with his XI for the third successive game, having seemingly found a balance in his team in the last week

Cambridge - some people's bet for a run at the title this term - carried at Keys Park off the back of an unbeaten start to the new season, having beaten Leamington either side of draws against Brackley Town and Salisbury City. Lilywhites manager Gary Roberts made only one change from the team that started Saturday's entertaining 3-3-draw at Salisbury with Joey Abbs replacing James Krause at left-back

Hednesford started with much more belief than their opening home game of the season when they froze against Chippenham on the opening day. Alfie Carter and Mark Bellingham made themselves a nuisance in the opening exchanges as they looked to make a quick start

However, it was the away side that settled into the game better. David Kolodynski made a clever mazy run into the area, only to be denied by a crunching tackle from Scott Fuller as he looked to lay the ball into the path of the unmarked Craig Hammond

The assistant referee came to Hednesford's rescue on two occasions on ten minutes, with Kolodynski and Hammond both pulled back by a late flag to save the Pitmen's blushes

Dan Crane came to the Pitmen's rescue three minutes later, making a brilliant save down to his left to deny Tony Burke after good approach play from City had opened up the Hednesford defence

Kolodynski continued to give the Hednesford defence the runaround, and on twenty-five minutes he attempted a dipping shot from twenty yards that narrowly cleared the crossbar

For the hosts, the hard-working Bellingham was still a threat, playing off the shoulder of Lilywhites skipper Dave Theobold. It was Theobold who had to be alert to deny Bellingham on the half-hour mark by intercepting Bridgwater's defence-splitting ball

Sean Platt made a darting run down the right-hand side, picking up a Jay Denny pass before crossing dangerously into the area. However, Carter failed to get his head to the ball and allowed Theobold to head clear

McNally's half-time war cry appeared to have an effect, as the Pitmen emerged with purpose in the second half. Bridgwater and Carter linked up well to put Bellingham through, but a desperate block denied the striker his first goal for the Pitmen as he shaped to shoot

Another Platt cross drifted over the heads of Bellingham and Carter, with Aaron Gibson rescuing it and sending over a cross from the opposite side that Cambridge keeper Zac Barrett plucked out of the air under pressure from Bellingham

Despite this bright start to the half, Cambridge offered more of a goal threat, and Crane had to be at his best again to deny Hammond on fifty-three minutes with an excellent stop when it looked certain Hammond would score

Gibson's game was brought to a premature end on fifty-five minutes, as he was brought off in favour of Chris Clements, who added more guile in a midfield that was losing out to Cambridge almost every time

It mattered little, however, as Cambridge took the lead just before the hour mark. A Liam Francis foul throw on the left was spotted by the officials, allowing Cambridge to launch an attack down their right. John Kennedy whipped the ball into the area to allow Hammond to glance a header past Crane from three yards out

With their tails up, Cambridge were looking a dangerous proposition going forward; the Hednesford defence, with no support from a fragmented midfield, struggled to contain the attacking threat of City in the next ten minutes

Kolodynski picked up the ball on the edge of the Hednesford area on sixty-three minutes but lifted his shot over the bar and into the Heath Hayes end

Crane denied the same player two minutes later, tipping his drive around the post for a corner after Kolodynski was allowed too much time on the ball to pick his spot

Hednesford's attacking threat had become virtually non-existent since Hammond's goal, with only Bellingham offering any hope. His clever turn and shot on seventy minutes tested Barrett on seventy minutes, with the Cambridge stopper scrambling across goal to watch the swerving shot narrowly miss the far post

Cambridge sealed the result a minute later, picking up a long, hopeful punt before rounding Scott Fuller and calmly slotting past Crane at his near post

Hednesford attempted an immediate response by feeding skipper Platt down the right-hand side but ballooned his shot over the crossbar when it would have been a better option to cross for the unmarked Carter

Carter's involvement ended two minutes later, as his lack of fitness again caught up with him as he was replaced by Jamey Osborne with fifteen minutes to go

Osborne was straight into the game, making a mazy run across the penalty area three minutes later and hitting a curling shot that Barrett held well

The final ten minutes saw the Pitmen pumping the ball into the penalty area, all to no avail. Theobold and his fellow defenders held firm to deny the likes of Clements, Osborne and Bellingham space, with Bellingham going closest from a free kick on eighty-eight minutes - his powerful effort came back off the post after another Osborne run was checked by a Cambridge defender

Many left Keys Park with a sense of deja vu - a game that had followed the pattern of the opening day defeat to Chippenham almost exactly, leaving McNally and his men to start the enquiry as to why the Pitmen simply cannot nail it at home this term

Hednesford Town: Crane, Bailey, Francis, Dunkley, S. Fuller, Denny, Platt ©, Bridgwater, Bellingham, Carter (Osborne 75), Gibson (Clements 55)       Subs Unused: Brock, Overfield, Keenan,

Cambridge City: Barrett, Nicoll, Abbs, Theobald ©, Chaffey, Kennedy, Burke, Cambridge (Nightingale 73), Hammond (Sands 78), Kolodynski, A. Fuller (Rogers 87)       Subs Unused: Midgley, Elenge