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Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Didcot Town

Hednesford Town

Dyer (87)

(0) 0

(0) 1



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Sean Platt


Brackley Town (H) 25.8.09

Hednesford continued their fine start to the season with their first away win of the 2009-2010 campaign but were pushed all the way by newly-promoted Didcot Town at the npower Loop Meadow Stadium this afternoon

 Carl Palmer's ankle injury kept him out once again, with Scott Lycett continuing his role as able deputy in midfield. The availability of Romen Domingos Buttiam saw him named amongst the substitutes; otherwise, it was the same side that has started the 1-1 draw against Stourbridge on Tuesday night

The hosts were clearly not ones to be star-struck with all of Hednesford ex-pros in the side and enjoyed a dominant first half as they tried to break the Pitmen down with some incisive play and crisp passing. And yet, it was the Pitmen who had the first sight of goal of the afternoon, with Elliott Durrell picking up the ball just outside the area, before getting in a 'sighter' that Didcot's reserve keeper Matt Trott saved comfortably three minutes in

The home side settled into a rhythm, and almost took the lead on ten minutes when Ian Sampson's trickery saw him send over a cross that Mark Draycott fire narrowly over Gavin Ward's bar

Sampson was to be a constant thorn in the Pitmen's side for the first forty-five minutes, and Hednesford's defenders were relieved to see his driven effort five minutes later miss everybody as it flew across the face of goal

Sampson was again involved mid-way through the half, firing in another shot that ballooned off Richard Walker, before falling to Draycott. His rebound was well blocked by Tyrone Barnett, who had dropped back to help defend as the Pitmen found themselves up against it

The home side were finding gaps aplenty, with Sean Platt having to keep his wits about him to snuff out the threat that came down Didcot's left during the first half. Andy Williams should have given Didcot the lead on thirty-eight minutes, as he got on the end of namesake Morgan Williams cross, but somehow failed to get enough purchase on the ball, allowing Ward to make a grateful save from close range

The Pitmen were shaken into action following this close call, and Lycett fired well over the bar after picking up Barnett's flick-on just on the edge of the penalty area

In the final minute of the half, there was chances at both ends, with Didcot's James Mortimer-Jones firing wide, closely followed by a chance for Ross Dyer, as he just failed to reach Sam Aiston's cross following a great run that took him past his marker down the left-wing

Edwards must have been eager to get the players in at the break and savage their performance, as they had shown very little in the way of an attacking threat, just as they had struggled to do so during the second half against Stourbridge on Tuesday night. He kept the same personnel on during the early stages of the second half but switched Aiston and Durrell's positions to the opposite wing in the hope that would spark a reaction from his charges

And, to be fair, they did improve after the break, offering a far more dangerous goal threat. Dyer was first to state his intentions ten minutes after the restart, taking advantage of a poor header from Martin Williams to stride clear of the Didcot defence. Trott came out to meet him and managed to get enough on the ball to deny Dyer a goal. Barnett got hold of the rebound but found a back-tracking defender in the way of his follow-up shot

Dyer had an even better chance to put the away side into the lead just after the hour mark, outpacing the static Didcot defence with a perfectly timed run, but his lob beat both Trott and the crossbar

Edwards decided to change the side at this point by taking off Durrell, who had once again run himself into the ground for the cause, and replaced him with the direct running of Justin Nisbett

Nisbett was soon involved, playing his part leading up to Barnett getting in a shot that was only inches wide of the near post on seventy-two minutes

Despite enjoying the better chances, Hednesford were still wary of the threat Didcot offered going forward, as they continued to cause problems sporadically. Andy Williams headed just over Ward's crossbar after he was allowed a free header from a corner, whilst Draycott was inches away from turning in Jason Castello's cross with Ward left exposed six yards out

Nisbett himself fired wide with twelve minutes to go, as he wriggled through a tangle of legs on the edge of the area, but failed to work Trott at his near post

Tony Dinning, whose authority in this Hednesford team grows with every game, was next to try his luck with ten minutes remaining, as Didcot seemed to tire visibly in the warm sunshine. On this occasion, however, his venomous shot was three or four yards wide of Trott's left-hand post

With eight minutes remaining Didcot probably had their best chance of the match, as Chris Harper picked up a ball from Liam Hope but got his shot horribly wrong from close range and fired wide of goal, much to the relief of the Hednesford defenders

Just as it seemed as though both sides would have to settle for an honourable draw, the Pitmen struck with four minutes left. Dinning picked the ball up in central midfield, before playing an inch-perfect ball through the defence to Dyer, who raced onto the ball before firing past Trott

In a frenetic final few minutes, Didcot did their best to get back on level terms. They were presented with a great chance in the final minute, but Harper was guilty of glaring miss number two, as his free header from Michael Hopkins' cross failed to test Ward, looping over the bar and out

The win moves Hednesford up to fourth place in the league, and whilst the results have been pretty good so far, the Pitmen have failed to really impress. But as they say, it's better to play poorly and win rather than play well and lose. They return to Keys Park on Tuesday night with a visit from Brackley Town, who have made an indifferent start to the Zamaretto League campaign thus far

Didcot Town: Trott, Heapy ©, Powell, A. Williams, Brown, M. Williams, Mortimer-Jones (Jack 75), Castello (Sampson 80), Harper, Draycott, Hope (Hopkins 87)      Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Gibson, Dinning, Walker ©, Bailey, Durrell (Nisbett 64), Lycett, Barnett, Dyer, Aiston      Subs Unused: Bandurak, Domingos Buttiam, Flynn

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