Dr. Martens Southern Premier League 

Hednesford Town

S. Evans (13), Towler (48) (OG), C. Palmer (53),          Danks (90)

Chippenham Town

Walker (58)

(1) 4

(0) 1




Current Form

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Carl Palmer


Newport County (A) 21.4.04

The Pitmen finally get back to winning ways in the Dr. Martens Premier League, although today's three points against fellow strugglers Chippenham may come too little, too late to save Hednesford's season with games running out

Bank Holiday Monday's defeat at Moor Green had seen Barry Powell's side dumped to the foot of the league table after results went against them to leave them staring at relegation to step three for the first time since 1992. Powell had once again voiced his anger at his underperforming players in the media this week and made two changes to his starting line-up for today's game. Out went youngsters Ross Adams and Jordan King, replaced by the more experienced duo of Chris Brindley and Chris Gray as the Hednesford manager rolled the dice once more

Chippenham arrived at Keys Park off the back of a heavy 6-1 home defeat to Dorchester Town on Monday afternoon, ending a recent run of decent form from the Bluebirds that had seen them go four games unbeaten in the league to move them up into eighteenth position in the table. Manager Steve White made two changes of his own by bringing James Constable and Ellis Wilmot back into the side in place of Charlie Griffin and Mark Badman for today's basement clash

On a bright, sunny afternoon at Keys Park, the hosts made a good start and almost grabbed the opening goal in the seventh minute; neat team play involving Steve Anthrobus, Mark Danks and Gray set up Carl Palmer, who met Gray's excellent cross but volleyed just over the crossbar from around the penalty spot

The Pitmen took the lead with their next venture into the Chippenham penalty area three minutes later as the home side won a corner through Carl Palmer's endeavour down the right. Steve Evans took the corner and swung it in to test the Bluebirds defence, only to be cleared as far as Gray. His cross was turned goalwards by Darren Simkin and cleared off the line by Colin Towler; Evans had drifted inside to pick up the rebound and drilled a rising shot beyond Chippenham keeper Mark Hervin from an acute angle for his second goal of the week

Chippenham responded with a double chance for Constable in the nineteenth minute, driving a low shot in from a Gary Horgan pass that was pushed away by Young and then denied by the Hednesford stopper on the rebound as Constable's scuffed follow-up was picked up by Young at his near post

Hervin's long kick forwards caught the Pitmen out on twenty-two minutes as the hosts allowed the ball to bounce inside their penalty area and were once again reliant on Young being alert to hack the ball clear from under the nose of the dangerous youngster Constable

Four minutes later, a fine cross from Les Hines found the head of Brindley, whose goalbound header was turned away from goal by Tom Gould at the far post for a Hednesford corner

With half an hour on the clock, former Bath stopper Hervin made a fine save to keep his side in contention as he did well to turn Steve Palmer's shot away from goal after Danks had played a cute slide-rule pass into his skipper's feet

Gray's trickery down the right saw him drift past the challenge of Scott Walker on thirty-five minutes and send over a fine cross that Anthrobus somehow missed with his head despite getting goal side of marker Towler at the far post

Gould did well to deny Carl Palmer a shot at goal on thirty-eight minutes, just about managing to get a touch on the ball to steer the midfielder away from goal after he had powered past two half-hearted Chippenham challenge on the edge of the penalty area

Three minutes before the interval, another free kick from Hines into the danger area was left by everyone as it dropped in the Chippenham six-yard box and was claimed by Hervin on his goal line

Right on the stoke of half-time, a free-kick from Young dropped into the Chippenham penalty area and appeared to be an easy catch for opposite number Hervin. However, the experienced stopper fumbled the ball and was reliant on Gould to hack the ball clear with Danks looking to steal in and turn the loose ball home from close range

Young appeared to have pulled something in taking the free-kick and went off at half-time clutching what appeared to be a thigh issue. He received treatment from Don Drakeley at the break and emerged early in the second period to undertake more stretching exercises in a bid to shake off the knock

The Pitmen doubled their narrow advantage over a poor, limited Chippenham side with their first attack of the second half as Steve Evans' corner kick was flicked on by the head of Brindley and inexplicably turned into his own net by Towler, despite his best efforts to keep the ball out on the line

The hosts were in control of the game and added to their tally on fifty-three minutes through man of the match Carl Palmer. Hines took a quick throw and found Anthrobus, whose quick thinking saw him turn and find the midfield man. Palmer took a touch before slotting the ball into the net past the despairing dive of Hervin

Palmer could have extended the Pitmen's advantage two minutes later as he picked up Gray's pass in behind the Chippenham defence, only for Hervin to make the save down to his left hand side

Chippenham reduced the deficit on fifty-eight minutes as Walker picked up a loose ball just inside the Hednesford penalty area and fired home past Young from fifteen yards out with a crispy-hit shot

Brindley was forced off on sixty-four minutes as he pulled up holding his leg after chasing the ball down against Constable. Adams made a swift return to the side in Brindley's place alongside Ryder at centre-back

A few minutes later, there was even worse news for the home side as Young finally succumbed to his thigh injury after kicking away a Hines back pass and feeling the back of his leg once more. He was replaced by youngster Paul Evans, who was making his senior debut between the posts for the Pitmen after spending the whole season as a substitute. It was a cruel irony for Young, was being watched by the England 'C' scouts this afternoon in recognition of his fine form this season

Ryder wasted a good chance from a Hines corner kick on seventy-three minutes, heading weakly into the arms of Hervin at the far post. Two minutes later, Gray lashed a shot high over the angle of crossbar and post after Anthrobus had flicked a Carl Palmer pass on to the winger

Paul Evans was involved for the first time with twelve minutes to go as his long ball forwards found Danks, whose reverse pass found strike partner Anthrobus in behind the Chippenham defence. His low shot was well saved by Hervin, who dived bravely at the striker's feet to claim the ball

Chippenham's attempts to 'rough up' the rookie keeper at corner kicks and free-kicks saw Simkin spoken to by the referee Mr. Mitchell on eighty-three minutes as he took things into his own hands by handing out retribution to Towler for a push on Evans from a free-kick

With five minutes remaining, a fine low cross into the Chippenham six-yard box from Steve Evans failed to find anyone in a white shirt as it skipped across the box and wide of the target

The hapless Towler's indifferent afternoon ended in farce in the final minute of the game as he gifted the Pitmen a fourth goal of the afternoon; indecision from the skipper saw him caught in two minds as to clear the ball or play it back to Hervin, allowing Danks to nip in and dispossess him. Hednesford's top scorer took the ball around the exposed Hervin and tapped the ball into the empty net for a nineteenth goal of the season for the former Bradford striker

A fine win for the Pitmen that may well have come too late with only four games left in the season and Powell's side a full seven points behind Moor Green in thirteenth place. Injuries to Brindley and Young will be of concern to Powell ahead of another tough encounter on Wednesday night when the Pitmen travel down the M5 to South Wales and face mid-table dwellers Newport County


Hednesford Town: Young (P. Evans 69), Simkin, Hines, S. Evans, Brindley (Adams 64), Ryder, C. Palmer, S. Palmer ©, Anthrobus, Danks, Gray      Subs Unused: Dodd, McGhee, Piearce

Chippenham Town: Hervin, Wilmot, Walker, Towler ©, Gould (Badman 69), Charity, Horgan, Herring, Paul (Allison 80), Constable (Griffin 55), Thorne      Subs Unused: Robertson, Regis