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Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Barnett (75)

Chippenham Town

Powell (4) (penalty)

(0) 1

(1) 1



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Tyrone Barnett


Cambridge City (H) 12.12.09

Hednesford slipped further out of reach of the play-off hopefuls at a wet and windy Keys Park this afternoon, after failing to convert a number of chances that came their way in the second half against fellow play-off hopefuls Chippenham

Manager Simon Line made one major change to the side he felt had earned a point at Banbury the previous week, only for it to be snatched away from them with the last kick of the game. Keeper Gavin Ward was ousted from his position by the returning Stuart Brock, with the former likely to move on following the return of the popular Brock. Justin Nisbett's midweek move to Rushall Olympic meant left-back Aaron Gibson returned to the squad on the bench


Seventh-placed Chippenham sat just one place and one point above the Pitmen in the league table ahead of today's round of games, having earned themselves a 2-2 draw at home to Stourbridge on Tuesday night. Manager Adie Mings made a number of changes to his side from their midweek game as Mark Scott, Ashley Williams, Tindle, Lewis Powell and Sam Allison replaced Ian Gill, Luke Gullick, Steve Casey, Shaun Benison and Aaron Cornwall respectively

For those hoping for a better start than last week's game - they were in for a shock, as Chippenham took the lead thanks to yet another dubious decision from a referee with their first attack. Grant Goodhead and former Swindon Supermarine striker Alan Griffin challenged for a ball just inside the area, and with the ball running out of play, Griffin appeared to simply fall over. The assistant on the near side saw nothing awry, but to the astonishment of the crowd and players, the referee awarded the away side a penalty. Lewis Powell stepped up and hit his penalty to Brock's right, with the stopper only just unable to get his hand to the ball

The Pitmen were incensed, and after a long debate with the officials, restarted the game in search of an equaliser they felt they should never have been chasing

There is a school of thought in these instances that a referee tends to 'even up' marginal decisions in games, and the home side were awarded a penalty of their own seven minutes later after a spell of pressure. The ball dropped towards Chippenham's right-hand post, and Sam Allison clearly cleared the ball away from goal with his arm. Skipper Ross Dyer stepped up but his well-struck penalty was at a comfortable height for Chippenham keeper Scott, who turned the ball away to his right

Chippenham were set up as another team typical of this Zamaretto League - well organised, quick on the break and tough to break down. With Steve Jagielka and Sam Aiston failing to get a handle on midfield, the visitors were enjoying much of the opening quarter in the Pitmen's half. Gregg Tindle should have extended Chippenham's lead on fifteen minutes but headed wide at the far post after getting on the end of a Jon Davies cross

Davies himself could have scored midway through the half but was denied thanks to Paul McMullen's brilliant last-ditch sliding tackle on the edge of the area, just as the Chippenham man shaped to shoot

Tindle was again allowed time and space to get another header in on goal just after the half-hour mark, but failed to take advantage for a second time and headed a yard wide of goal

Up to this point, the hosts had been disjointed and second to most balls. The closest they came to levelling matters was a clever snapshot from Tyrone Barnett five minutes before half time, collecting Durrell's quick throw-in before firing just wide of the far post

This seemed to give the Pitmen a boost, as they finished the half strongly. Aiston finally came to life, making one of his surging runs from midfield before firing straight at Scott, who made a meal of the shot and was thankful for his defence following up to hack the loose ball away from danger

The home side emerged to heavy rain and a lashing wind in the second half, but their mood had been lifted by their endeavours late in the first period and started the half well. Durrell and Dyer linked up well on fifty minutes down the right, with Durrell's delightful cross evading everyone when you would have expected someone on the other end of it

McMullen almost grabbed his first goal for the club on the hour mark, ghosting in at the far post to head Durrell's cross towards goal. However, his downward header bounced up and over the bar, with Scott beaten by the bounce

Back came the visitors, and Griffin should have extended their lead on sixty-seven minutes but headed over the bar when it appeared easier to hit the target

Barnett had been a constant menace to the determined Chippenham defence all afternoon, and he finally got the goal his efforts deserved with fifteen minutes remaining with a brilliant equalising goal. Durrell hit a deep cross into the area, towards the penalty spot, with Barnett racing in to out-jump Scott and head home

The Pitmen went in search of a winner, and Scott had to be alert to deny Durrell with a smart save three minutes later after Barnett had played him in. In the melee that followed, Bailey almost forced the ball home, but the ball was blocked on the line and cleared

Both sides were doing their level best to win the game in the final few minutes, with chances at both ends. Powell missed a great chance for the Bluebirds with four minutes left after a mistake from Sean Platt had gifted the ball to Allison, before Durrell was again denied by Scott from close range

Bailey, thriving in his more advanced role at this late stage, could have added to his goal haul with two minutes remaining, collecting a ball from Aiston before turning and firing just wide of goal

Chippenham substitute Benison could have won it for the Bluebirds at the death, but Brock marked his debut with a fine save to deny him

A draw does very little to help either side in their quest for the play-offs, but the Pitmen deserve credit for battling back from such a poor early decision to earn a point. Next up - yet another home game and yet another play-off hopeful in the form of Cambridge City next Saturday

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt , Z. Martin, Jagielka, McMullen, Goodhead , Durrell, Bailey , Barnett, Dyer ©, Aiston       Subs Unused: Gibson, Carvey, Chapman, Walker, Flynn

Chippenham Town: Scott, Adams, Lamb, Williams, Tindle, J. Martin, Lye, Davies, Powell, Griffin (Benison 75), Allison        Subs Unused: Casey, Cornwall, Highmore, Snoddy

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