20.11.2004

Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Bell (43)

Tiverton Town

(1) 1

(0) 0

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Ryan Young

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Tiverton Town (A) 27.11.04

The Pitmen quickly put to bed Tuesday night's defeat at Grantham Town with a narrow win over lower mid-table Tiverton Town at Keys Park this afternoon to move them back up into the top half of the Southern Premier League table

Player/manager elected to make himself the only change of personnel for today's return home as he dropped himself to the substitute's bench, bringing back the fit-again Ross Adams not the team at right-back. This saw Richard Teesdale return to his more familiar role at centre-back alongside Lee Barrow

Tiverton arrived at Keys Park off the back of an exciting 5-3 win over Gloucester City in midweek, ending the yellows' two game losing streak that had seen them exit both the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy. Manager Martin Rogers made one change to the side that had started against Gloucester as David Steele replaced the injured Kezie Ibe up front

On a cool November afternoon with a distinct bite in the air, Hednesford started brightly and skipper Carl Palmer was first to register a shot in the fourth minute, but his rising drive cleared the bar as he picked up a square pass from Grant Beckett twenty-five yards from goal and held of the challenge of Rob Cousins

At the other end, Mike Booth got on the end of a long throw from Steve Winter but could only toe-poke his effort straight into the arms of Tuesday night's villain Ryan Young from twelve yards out

Young was alert to the danger in the seventh minute as he raced out of his goal to claim Jamie Mudge's through ball ahead of Booth just on the edge of his own penalty area

Palmer was denied by visiting goalkeeper Mark Ovendale in the tenth minute as he made a good save down to his left to push the flame-haired midfielder's shot around the post for a corner kick after good approach play from Anthony Maguire

The mercurial Matt Turner was handed an opportunity to test Ovendale in the thirteenth minute as Maguire drew a foul out of Nathan Rudge to the left of the Tiverton penalty area, allowing Turner to spot the ball and curl in a free-kick with his right foot that Ovendale palmed away to his right-hand side. The ball broke to Winter, who placed the ball clear and into the path of Paul Milsom, who took the ball deep into the Hednesford half and crossed for the incoming Mudge, whose shot was deflected across there face of goal by Teesdale's heel and away from the Steele, who arrived late at the far post but could not apply the finish

Tiverton were enjoying much the better of the chances at this point in the game and went close in the seventeenth minute as Mudge's corner kick was played into the path of Rudge, who got in ahead of Barrow to head a matter of inches wide of Young's left-hand post. Barrow came off worst in the initial challenge and cut his head badly, leaving the veteran defender requiring three stitches in his head wound and a very fetching bandage to boot

Turner had had his sighter at goal from his earlier free-kick and was handed another chance two minutes later as Andy Bell's run was halted by Chris Vinnicombe, who was booked by referee Mr Henry for the tackle. Turner's swerving effort beat Ovendale on this occasion, but the shot had too much curl on it and skipped wide of the angle of post and crossbar

Midway through the first half, an incisive pass from the experienced Mudge sent Kevin Willis on his way, in behind the Hednesford defence. Barrow made a good challenge to halt the midfielder's progress, but inadvertently played the ball into the path of Iain Harvey, whose follow-up shot was beaten away by the hands of Young

Young made another valuable contribution four minutes later as Vinnicombe's long punt forwards towards Willis was headed away from danger by the home goalkeeper, who raced out of his area to beat Willis to the ball. It dropped as far as Harvey, whose ambitious first-time lob from fully forty yards out lacked direction and flew well wide of the empty net

The visitors continued to press and another timely block, this time from the returning Adams, denied Willis a chance to score on the half-hour mark as Mudge's cross to the far post was headed down by Milsom and into the path of the midfielder, who saw his low drive blocked by the right-back

The latest Palmer vs Ovendale battle on thirty-three minutes went the way of the Tiverton stopper as he calmly collected the midfielder's low shot at his near post

Young was certainly earning his wages on a busy afternoon for the stopper, and another fine save from Young with eight minutes of the first half remaining saw him make a fine save to push Steele's low drive away from goal after some patient build-up play from the visitors down the right flank

Another long ball forwards from Vinnicombe on forty minutes found found Mudge once more, who made a marauding run into the Hednesford penalty area before lifting his shot over Young's crossbar

Despite being solidly second best for much of the first period, the Pitmen suddenly found their shooting boots and took the lead against the run of play with two minutes of the half remaining; Steve Winter's free-kick was easily claimed by Young, who quickly played the ball out to Turner down the right flank. The winger skipped past challenges from Winter and Cousins before pulling the ball back into the path of Bell, who nodded the ball past Ovendale from close-range

It will have been a difficult half-time team talk from both managers, who will feel that the scoreline was not an accurate representation of the overall state of play. The Pitmen were buoyed by their late goal and started the second period well, with Leon McSweeney unleashing a fine free-kick on fifty-two minutes after Maguire had been fouled by Winter, prompting the Irishman to fire his resultant kick over the crossbar

Tiverton should have levelled matters once more two minutes later as Mudge's turn and pass played Willis through on goal as he broke through the Pitmen's flimsy offside trap. However, the midfielder was denied a certain goal by the exploits of Young, who made another fine save as he deflected the low shot away from goal with his legs. The ball ran to the incoming Milsom, who somehow lifted his rebounded shot over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy from eight yards out

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on fifty-seven minutes as Marlon Walters came on in the centre of midfield in place of Beckett, who had struggled with the pace of the game

The former Wolves mane was straight into the action with a great chance to double the home side's advantage on the hour mark as Maguire's deep free-kick from the right was met by the substitute, who headed wide of the post as he was put under pressure by Vinnicombe

Young made a smothering save to deny Booth on sixty-three minutes as he raced out of goal once more to claim the ball ahead of the defender after Mudge's angled ball across the Hednesford penalty area was aimed at his team-mate. The ball ran to Willis out on the left, whose cross back into the six-yard box was headed away by Barrow from underneath his own crossbar as Steele challenged him

 

 A minute later, Bell's game was brought to an end as the Hednesford goalscorer was taken off in favour of assistant manager Steve Anthrobus,  prompting a standing ovation from the main stand for the striker

Anthrobus's first contribution on sixty-seven minutes saw the big man control a pass from the excellent Maguire and play the ball into the path of McSweeney, who in turn played a super pass into the feet of Turner to the right hand side of the Tiverton penalty area. However, Turner's first touch let him down and the ball was hacked clear by Booth

 

The patched-up Barrow was Hednesford's saviour on seventy-one minutes as he headed Harvey's goalbound header off the line from Winter's deep free-kick

McSweeney's clever play on seventy-six minutes saw him get away from Vinnicombe and make space for himself, only for his left-footed shot from twenty yards out to sail over the crossbar

Anthrobus was having an impact on the game and was booked on eighty minutes after he had brought Booth down with an overly-aggressive challenge on the Tiverton man

He was followed into the book by Mudge two minutes later as Mr Henry showed the Tiverton midfield man a yellow card after a clash in midfield involving him and Walters had seen the Hednesford man sent sprawling

Anthrobus made a late run into the Tiverton penalty area with five minutes remaining to meet an out swinging Maguire free-kick from the left flank but saw his header brilliantly turned away by Ovendale

Mr Henry showed Harvey a yellow card a minute later following a crude and frustrated waist-high challenge on Turner that had stopped the winger in his tracks down the right

This was to be Harvey's final action of the game as he was replaced a minute later by Dave Hallett, perhaps for his own benefit before he was shown a second yellow card

Toverton threw more men forwards as they looked for a late leveller, forcing three successive corner kicks with two minutes remaining. Anthrobus dropped back to aid his defenders and hacked the ball away twice from dangerous positions inside his own six-yard box

In the final minute of the game, the Pitmen looked to run down the clock with midfield man Lee Williams coming on in place of Turner to add an extra layer of protection to the defence

A fine win for the Pitmen that moves them back into the top ten in the Southern Premier League table in the process, against dangerous but wasteful opponents who will be smarting at not taking any of the numerous chances that came and went during a dominant first-half display. They will get the chance to exact some swift revenge on their hosts in just seven days time, however, as due to the quirks of the fixture list, the two sides will play the reverse fixture at Ladysmead next Saturday

Hednesford Town: Young; Adams, Branch, Barrow, Teesdale, Beckett (Walters 57), Maguire, Palmer ©, Bell (Anthrobus 64 ), McSweeney, Turner (Williams 89)     Subs Unused: Brindley, Evans

Tiverton Town: Ovendale, Winter (Goff 77), Vinnicombe , Booth, Rudge, Cousins, Willis, Harvey ▆ (Hallett 87), Milsom (Stocco 81), Steele, Mudge       Sub Unused: Densham