19.3.2011

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Cirencester Town

Hednesford Town

Dunkley (18)

(0) 0

(1) 1

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Cheyenne Dunkley

W W L W W W W W W W

Halesowen Town (H) 22.3.11

The Pitmen maintain their stunning run of winning form this afternoon as they edge out mid-table Cirencester Town by a solitary Cheyenne Dunkley goal at the Coronium Stadium to make it seven wins on the bounce

Having moved into the play-off places in midweek courtesy of a 1-0 win over Banbury United, Rob Smith's side headed down the M5 as the Zamaretto Premier League's form team with only one defeat in their last nine games. Smith made one change to the side from the one that had started on Monday night as Kyle Haynes was rewarded for his bright cameo towards the end of the Banbury game with a first start ahead of Ross Davidson. In the continued absence of Danny Quinn, Smith had strengthened his strike options in midweek with the loan signing of Burton Albion's young striker James Ellison, with the Liverpudlian starting amongst the Hednesford substitutes for today's trip south

Fifteenth placed Cirencester returned home following an exciting 3-3 draw at Oxford City last weekend, maintaining their inconsistent recent form since the turn of the year. Manager Brian Hughes was forced into four changes to his side as Matt Bulman replaced Nick Thomas in goal, Zak Westlake came in for Jeffrey Imudia, youth team player Ellis Dunton was handed a debut in place of Lyndon Tomkins and Matt Sysum came in for Tom Etheridge

It was a beautifully sunny but chilly afternoon in rural Gloucestershire, although only 151 hardy souls - which included fifty from Staffordshire - elected to take a step out into the sunshine to witness proceedings. The visitors - high on confidence as one would expect - made the brighter start to the game as they forced an early free-kick out of the hosts in the third minute of the game. Darren Campion swung the ball in and found the head of Liam Francis, who headed high over the crossbar from six yards out

Back came the hosts, whose aerial threat was apparent from the early stages of the game as they bombarded Dan Crane's penalty area with high balls into the danger zone. A long throw from Dunton in the eighth minute was flicked on by Justyn McKay to the far post, where Decio Gomes was on hand to hack the ball clear

Two minutes later, a long punt forward from Sean Wood sent Jody Bevan away behind Francis, who was caught ball-watching and allowed the striker to nip in behind him. fortunately for the Hednesford skipper, the superb Cheyenne Dunkley read the situation well and made a timely interception just inside the box to clear

In the thirteenth minute, Nick Wellecomme turned well past McKay and set Haynes away down the right-wing. The youngster checked back and laid the ball to Alex Melbourne, whose deep cross was a little too high for the incoming Kyle Patterson to get his head to at the far post

Two minutes later, Crane made his first contribution to the afternoon as a cross from Rob Hoskin out on the left was partially cleared by the Hednesford defence to Sysum, whose follow-up shot standing on the penalty spot was brilliantly turned away by an instructive save from the stopper

The hosts went even close to scoring with their next attack sixty seconds later as Crane was again on hand to parry a low shot from Bevan that ran towards goal but was kicked off the line by the covering Campion

With their first real sight at goal, the Pitmen stole into the lead in the eighteenth minute of the game; Campion's inswinging corner kick from the right found Dunkley at the far post, who produced a soaring header above everyone else to powerfully head past Bulman from ten yards out and give the away side the lead

Cirencester's Ashley Edenborough was proving a handful for the Hednesford defence, giving Francis the slip midway through the first half as he raced down the inside right position to latch onto a pass from Wood. He stood up a cross to the far post, where Mortimer-Jones had the ball taken off his head by a timely challenge from the back-tracking Campion

More set-pieces followed for the hosts, as a free-kick from Richard Mansell out on the left on twenty-six minutes was lofted into the Hednesford penalty area and onto the head of Edenborough, whose effort was punched away from goal by Crane

Edenborough did well up against Francis once more on the half-hour mark, heading down Dunton's throw-in into the path of Bevan, who was crowded out by Dunkley and Gomes before he could get the chance to shoot from fifteen yards out

Dunkley was having a superb game for the visitors and made another timely block to deny Mortimer-Jones on thirty-four minutes as he stretched out a long leg to divert Sysum's pass into the feet of his team-mate away from goal and deny the midfielder a clear chance

On thirty-nine minutes, McKay went close to levelling matters for the hosts as another long throw from Dunton was headed away by Francis and recycled by James Mortimer-Jones, who laid the ball back to the striker on the edge of the penalty area. McKay's well-struck volley forced Crane into another great save, tipping the ball around his left-hand post with a spectacular flying stop

From the resultant corner, Dunkley produced more heroics as Dunton's cross was flicked on at the near post by Westlake and into the path of Edenborough, who only had a second to think about his shot as Dunkley closed him down and lifted it high over the crossbar from six yards out

With the final action of a fairly uneventful half, Jay Denny sent Melbourne away down the right with a fine pass on fifty-three minutes. The youngster played Haynes into space on the overlap, with his deep cross punched away from goal by Bulman before Wellecomme could make a connection with the cross

The Pitmen may have gone back in at half-time in the lead, but they had flattered to deceive against a strong and direct Cirencester side who had created the better of the openings in the first period but had failed to take any of them with a goal. Crane and Dunkley had been particularly impressive at the back as the mean Hednesford defence was once again proving its worth to the rest of the team as they went in search of a fourth clean sheet in five games

Cirencester continued to look the more threatening at the start of the second half as a cross from Hoskin on fifty-seven minutes was headed narrowly behind by the impassable object of Dunkley as Edenborough lurked with intent inside the six-yard box

Three minutes later, a free-kick from Sysum was lifted into the Hednesford penalty area from the right flank and was flicked on by McKay to Bevan, whose tame shot from twelve yards out bounced twice before being fielded by Crane

The Pitmen's first sight at goal came from a Campion free-kick on fifty-four minutes as the left-back struck a firm left-footed shot at goal that went straight through the Cirencester wall but failed to trouble Bulman from twenty-five yards out

Another huge throw from Dunton two minutes later was partially cleared by Francis, who could only loop his header into the path of Edenborough on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area. The striker took a touch but could only scuff his shot into the ground and into the arms of Crane

Denny was lucky not to pick up a yellow card on fifty-eight minutes as he hacked down Mortimer-Jones right in front of referee Mr Tyler but escaped a caution as he was given a dressing-down by the Worcester-based official

Edenborough really should have levelled matters just after the hour mark as Dunton's throw to Sysum down the right saw the midfielder cross for Bevan, who managed to get in front of Gomes to turn the ball goalwards. Once again, however, his effort failed to have enough power on it and Crane was once again grateful to be able to claim the shot on his goal line. A left-off for the Pitmen

Dunton's long throw level from the penalty area on sixty-three minutes was booted clear by the Pitmen and into the path of Wellecomme, whose run down the left saw him beat Westlake before he laid the ball off to Chris Clements; the midfield man worked the ball onto his right foot but fired high over Bulman's crossbar as he was put under pressure by the recovering Westlake

Patterson had struggled to get into the game and was rightly taken off by Smith a minute later as Ellison was handed his Hednesford debut in his place up front alongside Wellecomme

Dunkley's outstanding contribution to the game saw him deny McKay midway through the second half as he deleted the defender's low shot behind for a corner kick after a corner kick had dropped as far as the centre-back, standing ten yards from goal

Bevan was the latest player in a red and black shirt to be denied by a Hednesford defender on seventy-one minutes as the excellent Gomes forced the big forward to take the ball onto his left foot and managed to block his shot on the run from eighteen yards out

Good interplay from the host on seventy-four minutes saw Sysum and Mortimer-Jones work the ball out to the left and into the path of Hoskin, who drifted past Melbourne and tried his luck with an angled shot from just inside the penalty area that Dunkley turned away from goal via a touch off his shin

Melbourne's attempted clearance was charged down by Hoskin two minutes later, with the winger slipping the ball between Dunkley and Gomes to find Bevan in space twelve yards from goal. Crane had spotted the danger early on and did enough to put the striker off as he weakly struck his shot straight into the Hednesford goalkeeper's hands

With ten minutes of the game remaining and Cirencester knocking on the door continually, Centurions substitute Carl Brown should have done better with a great chance as he held off Francis's challenge to get into the penalty area and drive in a shot at goal that Dunkley deflected inches wide of Crane's left-hand post for a corner kick to the hosts 

Ellison had given the Pitmen more of a focal point up front since he had replaced Patterson, with the substitute doing well to hold the ball up against McKay on eighty-two minutes as he turned on a Clements pass and struck a shot at goal that flashed just wide of the post

With time ticking away and the Pitmen holding firm, Smith elected to add fresh legs to his side a minute later as Davidson came on in place of Clements, who, like Patterson, had struggled to get a stranglehold on the game

The substitute forced Bulman into what was to be his only save of the afternoon three minutes later as Wellecomme's flick-on from Campion's ball forwards sat up nicely for the Burton loanee, whose first-time shot was straight at the Cirencester stopper from twenty yards out

More Cirencester pressure followed in the final minutes, with three Dunton long throws in quick succession repelled by the Pitmen at their near post. A corner kick from Mortimer-Jones on eighty-eight minutes was swung into the near post, aimed at Sysum, but a firm punch from Crane cleared the danger inside his six-yard box

In the first of three minutes of added time, a mass scramble in the Hednesford penalty area saw Bevan and McKay both try and force a bouncing ball through the forest of legs in front of them, only for the Pitmen to once again stand firm and eventually clear their lines through Davidson

The final whistle was greeted with relief more than joy for the excellent travelling support, who knew that their side had dug extra-deep this afternoon to claim the points over an incessant Cirencester side that will wonder how on earth they have not taken something from the game. An outstanding display from the back five was the key to this latest win, their seventh in a row and one that lifts them into the top four of the Zamaretto Premier League table. Smith's men will move onto Tuesday night's derby at home to Halesowen in great shape and will be a good bet to make it eight in a row against a Yeltz side sitting just a point off the foot of the table

Cirencester Town: Bulman ©, Wood, Mansell, Westlake, McKay, Sysum, Dunton, Mortimer-Jones, Bevan, Edenborough (Brown 67), Hoskin (Draycott 67)      Subs Unused: Thompson, Mills

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Melbourne, Patterson (Ellison 64), Wellecomme, Clements (Davidson 83), Haynes       Sub Unused: Quinn, Bailey, Keenan