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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Lancashire (28)

Chelmsford City

Bishop (2), Cambridge (58)

(1) 1

(1) 2



Current Form

Next Match


Paul Raynor



Tamworth (A) 18.9.01

The Pitmen's recent mini-revival is now a distant memory after back-to-back wins are followed with back-to-back defeats as in-form Chelmsford City score a goal in each half to continue their recent good run in the Dr. Martens League

Following Tuesday night's heavy defeat at Hinckley United, under-fire manager Paul Raynor made two changes to the side that had started at Middlefield Lane as Stewart Airdrie was passed fit to return in place of Craig Hopkins and Lenny Curtis came back into the side at the expense of Ashley Williams. Raynor was still without the services of Wayne Simpson, Stuart Lake, Neil Davis, Adam Shakespeare and Mark Gayle, all of whom were still ruled out due to a combination of injuries and suspensions

Chelmsford made the long trip up from Essex in great recent form, having won their last two games to move up into the top eight in the table after a 3-0 win over Newport (Isle of Wight) on Tuesday night. Manager Paul Parker - the former Manchester United and England full-back - made two changes to the side that had won in midweek as John Bishop and Kris Lee came back into the side in place of Brendan McElholm and Paul McCarthy

Summer was clinging on going into the autumn months as the sun shone on the Keys Park pitch at kick-off. The sun shone favourably on the visitors as well as they made a flying start to the game with the opening goal of the game in the second minute. Chris Payne's inswinging corner found the head of Bishop, who steered the ball beyond the reach of Chris Wood in the Hednesford goal to score his first goal of the season

A visibly frustrated Raynor looked to get his side going after such an early goal conceded and went close to grabbing a leveller for his side in the eighth minute; picking up the ball in midfield, the veteran player/manager drove forwards and hit a powerful shot at goal from fully thirty yards out that took a deflection off Russell Williamson and flew just wide of goal

Raynor was involved again six minutes later, this time as the provider with a deep cross to the far post from the left that was met by the head of Kevin Francis, only for the big striker to head just wide of the post from eight yards out

Graham Lancashire was next to go close for the Pitmen four minutes later as he nipped in to met a fine pass from Raynor but side-footed his effort from ten yards out just wide of keeper Richard Hurst's near post

The Pitmen were heavily reliant on Francis as the pivot in attack to link the forward line with the rest of the side as they played a direct form of the game. Paul Bagshaw's cross on twenty-three minutes was nodded down by Francis into the path of Robbie Meacham, whose shot was scuffed horribly wide of goal

Hednesford's period of pressure finally paid dividends on twenty-eight minutes as another fine delivery from Raynor, this time from the right wing, was headed into the net by Lancashire from close range for his third goal of the season

Good play from Airdrie on twenty-nine minutes saw the willowy winger skip past the challenge of Payne and send over a deep cross to the far post that was volleyed over the crossbar by Francis from a tight angle

Three minutes later, a free-kick from Mark Haran was lifted into the Chelmsford penalty area where Meacham turned the ball wide by a matter of inches as he flicked the ball on towards goal

Chelmsford came back into the game and finished the half the stronger of the two sides; a mistake by Wood on thirty-nine minutes gifted the ball to Lee in a dangerous position, only for the midfielder to attempt an audacious lob over the Hednesford keeper that was claimed by the relieved and grateful Wood


Striker Danny Hockton hit the crossbar on forty-three minutes with a rising shot that rattled the woodwork after he had been played in behind the Hednesford defence by Ian Cambridge. Hockton tried to force the ball home on the rebound but was denied by some last-ditch defending and a touch onto the post by Wood

It had been a keenly-contested game from both sides in the first period with the game being level a fair reflection of the balance of play as both sides had enjoyed good chances

The Pitmen started the second period well and almost went ahead on fifty-one minutes as Francis was denied by a fine diving save from Hurst; the ball rebounded into the path of Lancashire, whose follow-up shot came back off the base of the left-hand post before being cleared

Another corner kick from Chelmsford a couple of minutes before the hour mark was once again the Pitmen's undoing as Payne's cross was cleared off the line by Francis, only for Cambridge to pick up the loose ball and slam the ball home from close range for what was his first goal of the season

Francis's indifferent afternoon was summed up on sixty-four minutes as he awkwardly turned a Meacham cross over the crossbar with his knee from close range when it was easier to turn the ball home from close-range. A poor miss from an experienced player who should do better in those circumstances

The Pitmen rolled the dice for the first time in the afternoon on seventy minutes as Francis was spared further exposure against the increasingly hostile home crowd as he was taken off in favour of Jon Pickess up front

Curtis headed wide of goal on seventy-six minutes as he rose to meet Raynor's cross, beating Payne to the ball but could not divert the outswinging cross home

Meacham's game was brought to an end with nine minutes left as the Pitmen made a tactical change by bringing on Tom Griffiths for his former youth team colleague in a move that saw Griffiths play wider out on the left whilst Bagshaw moved to the right-wing in front of Airdrie

Hurst did well to push Pickess's toe-poke away from goal on eighty-four minutes, making an instinctive save on his line to deny the former Sheffield FC youngster his first Hednesford goal


A minute later, the Pitmen's injury woes were added to once more with the sight of skipper Haran being stretchered off after badly turning his ankle as he tracked backwards to clear a long ball forwards from Chelmsford. Williams came on for the remaining minutes for the stricken Haran, with Lucas taking the captain's armband in Haran's absence

With two minutes remaining, Hurst made his second crucial save in succession as he somehow managed to get enough on a Lancashire shot to turn it away from the target and behind for a Hednesford corner kick

With the hosts committing more and more men forwards in search of an equaliser, they left more and more space in behind them; Hockton nearly took advantage of this in added time as he raced onto a long ball forwards but squandered a great effort with a wild shot from eighteen yards out


The home players and supporters trudged off at the final whistle at the end of another depressing game that leaves them back in the bottom three of the league table with only six points on the board from their first eight games. The tough games continue to come for the hapless Raynor and his team as they make the short trip across the A5 on Tuesday night to face local rivals Tamworth - 2-1 winners over the Pitmen at Keys Park in the first week of the season

Hednesford Town: Wood, Airdrie, Lucas, Craven, Haran © (Williams 85), Curtis, Meacham (Griffiths 81)Raynor, Lancashire, Francis (Pickess 70), Bagshaw      Subs Unused: None

Chelmsford City: Hurst, Bishop, Payne (Skelly 56), Lewis, Wiles, Williamson , Cambridge (Adams 70), Dobinson, Hockton, Samuels, Lee       Sub Unused: Keen

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