26.9.2000

Nationwide Conference

Doncaster Rovers

Paterson (19), (84), Campbell (63)

Hednesford Town

Davis (60)

(1) 3

(1) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

2,033

Mark Gayle

L D L W D D D W L L

 

Chester City (H) 30.9.00

After being on the end of a heavy defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, John Baldwin's Pitmen are beaten on their travels once more as Doncaster Rovers ease their way past a Hednesford side that are once again reduced to ten men due to Micky Norbury's indiscretions

Saturday's 6-1 thumping in Essex was still a sore point for the Pitmen as they headed up to Yorkshire, with manager John Baldwin looking for a response from his side after a tough afternoon at Victoria Road. There was only one change to the side for tonight's game as Jake Sedgemore came back into the side in midfield as he replaced Russell Bradley; Stuart Lake was once again asked to deputise as an auxiliary centre-back in Bradley's absence

Twelfth-placed Rovers had also been on the receiving end of defeat at the weekend as they returned from their long trip to second-placed Yeovil Town with a 2-0 defeat on Saturday night. Manager Steve Wignall was forced into a change between the posts as regular stopper Andy Warrington was ruled out due to injury and was replaced by Barry Richardson in the first of four changes; Dave Penney, Jamie Paterson and Matt Caudwell were the other players coming in ahead of Michael Stone, Andy Watson and Mark Barnard respectively

This evening's proceedings were delayed by twenty minutes to allow both Hednesford'as players and supporters to make their way into the Belle Vue ground after a nightmare trip had seen both coaches stuck on the A38 near Derby for over an hour due to an accident. This delay did not seem to affect the Pitmen in the opening stages of the game as they started uprightly and could have taken the lead in just the third minute; Ian Robinson made a move down the right into space and whipped in a low cross into the Doncaster penalty area that Neil Davis was within a whisker of turning home at the far post, but was just caught on his heels and could not turn the loose ball home

Scotsman Paterson lifted an early effort high over Mark Gayle's crossbar for the hosts in the sixth minute, picking up a pass from former Premier League winner Mark Atkins but getting his laces underneath the ball and firing well over from twenty-five yards out

Two minutes later, Mark Haran received the game's first booking as he was penalised by referee Mr Tiffin for a foul on Paterson which stopped the striker from getting away down the left

Good play from Penny in the ninth minute saw the hugely experienced midfield man hold off a challenge from Mark Cooper and play the ball out to Kevin McIntyre down the left-wing, with the tricky England 'C' International making a drifting run into the Hednesford penalty area before firing just over the crossbar with an angled drive from eighteen yards out

Gayle's reflexes were tested by an inswinging Penney corner kick in the twelfth minute as the ball threatened to dip underneath the stopper's crossbar, forcing the former Crewe man into palming the ball over for another Rovers corner kick

Stuart Lake headed narrowly wide for the Pitmen in response in the fourteenth minute as he met Cooper's outswinging free-kick eight yards from goal but could only divert it high over Richardson's goal and into the derelict terrace behind the Doncaster goal

The hosts took the lead in the nineteenth minute as the dangerous Paterson gave Rovers a deserved lead on the balance of the first quarter of play; Neil Campbell's neat chipped pass into the feet of the striker saw him control the ball well and took it into space. With the Pitmen's defenders backing off, Paterson lined up a shot and fired a delightful effort beyond the reach of Gayle and into the top far corner of the net

Rovers could have added to their advantage midway through the first half but an offside flag put paid to a chance for Carl Alford as the former Stevenage Borough hitman ran onto a pass from Penney but had moved a little too soon

A strong run from Sedgemore on twenty-five minutes saw the youngster make a darting run past two challenges before being brought down on the edge of the Doncaster penalty area by Simon Shaw. Cooper lined up the resultant free-kick and curled his shot around the Doncaster wall but just cleared Richardson's crossbar

The Pitmen went even closer to equalising four minutes later as Robinson spotted the run of Davis down the right and picked the striker out with a fine pass down the line. Davis controlled the ball well and got half a yard on Caudwell before pulling the ball back into the path of Val Owen, whose first-time shot took a huge deflection off Colin Hawkins before dropping the wrong side of the post for a Hednesford corner kick

Rovers were content to keep the ball for long periods in their own half and look to catch the Pitmen out on the counter-attack, with McIntyre picked out by a fine lofted pass from the excellent Campbell on thirty-three minutes to take the ball down the left flank. Sedgemore came across to block his route to goal so McIntyre played the ball into the penalty area, where Alford beat Haran to the ball but glanced his header wide of goal from ten yards out

Atkins was alert to the danger posed by Lake two minutes later as the burly utility man headed Cooper's corner kick towards goal but was denied by the veteran midfielder's goal-line clearance

Sixty seconds later, Sedgemore squandered a superb chance for the visitors to equalise as he made a late run into the Doncaster penalty area to meet Paul Bagshaw's cross but headed wide from close range when it seemed easier to score

Five minutes before half-time, the Pitmen almost contributed to their own downfall once more as Robinson's errant backpass towards Gayle fell way short of the stopper and allowed Caudwell to nip in and take the ball around the dive of the stopper before sliding the ball towards goal. Haran had spotted the danger early, however, and made a last-ditch clearance off the line to deny Caudwell Doncaster's second goal of the evening

Yorkshireman Bagshaw had seen very little of the ball so far, having been marked out of the game by Shaw; his frustrations got the better of him on forty-two minutes as he was booked by Mr Tiffin for kicking the ball away after an offside flag had gone against him

In the final minute of the first period, Robinson followed Bagshaw into the referee's notebook as he brought McIntyre down in front of the two benches and was also shown a yellow card

The Pitmen had battled hard but had very much been second best against a powerful and experienced Rovers side that was looking to move back towards the play-off places with a win. Despite good openings from Sedgemore and Cooper, the visitors had looked a little shot-shy and had struggled to supply Davis and former Doncaster man Micky Norbury so far in the game

Just four minutes after the restart, the prolific Alford - a £50,000 signing from Stevenage in the summer - was played clean through by Paterson's through ball, racing clear of a Hednesford defence that was waiting in vain for an offside flag but blasting his shot over the crossbar with only Gayle to beat fifteen yards from goal

The lively McIntyre was giving auxiliary right-back Robinson a torrid time with his wing play, cutting inside from the left flank a minute later and firing in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that drifted wide

On fifty-two minutes, McIntyre was afforded the freedom of the Belle Vue pitch to make an unchallenged run into the Hednesford half before cutting across the ball with a swerving effort from thirty yards out that Gayle did well to push onto the underside of the crossbar before claiming the ball at the second attempt

Norbury - sent off for violent conduct in Saturday's 6-1 defeat - was given a ticking off by Mr Tiffin three minutes later for grappling with Caudwell as the pair challenged for a high ball. Despite it being very much six of one and half a dozen of the other, Norbury was singled out for his part in the clash but avoided a card by the match official. More of this was to come later, however

Caudwell held off a challenge from Sedgemore two minutes later as he raced onto Paterson's pass down the right before beating both Haran and Robinson as he drifted inside, firing in a low shot that beat Gayle but grazed the outside of the far post as his shot curled wide of goal

Despite Doncaster's dominant start to the second half, the Pitmen showed great character and resistance to get themselves level once more on the hour mark. Robinson picked up Cooper's pass to the right-hand side of the Doncaster penalty area and spotted captain Neil Pointon making a run on the opposite side of the box, playing a neat chipped cross into the feet of the veteran left-back. Pointon had time and space to pick out Davis in the six-yard box with a square pass that the Pitmen's top scorer turned home at the near post with one of his trademark poacher's finishes

The Pitmen almost turned the game on its head just sixty seconds later as Norbury's quick turn and pass found Davis, who took the ball in his stride as he outpaced Atkins but lifted his right-footed effort just over the crossbar from twelve yards out

This was to cost the Pitmen dearly as Doncaster re-took the lead with their next foray into Hednesford territory just two minutes later; a quick throw-in from Shaw found Alford unmarked at the near post, with the prolific striker taking full advantage of confusion in the Hednesford ranks to play the ball into the path of Campbell, who fired the ball past Gayle from eighteen yards out

Alford could have sealed the points for Doncaster midway through the second half as he was once again given far too much time and space you should afford such a renowned striker, bringing down McIntyre's cross before lifting his shot over the crossbar from twelve yards out when in reality he had much more time than he thought to steady himself and pick his spot

With nineteen minutes remaining, Pointon's throw down the left found Bagshaw, who held off Tim Ryan before laying the ball back to Pointon. The veteran full-back crossed for Norbury, whose header failed to test Richardson as he diverted the ball well wide of goal

A Penney corner kick on seventy-five minutes was aimed at the head of Hawkins at the far post, with the Irish defender's downwards header smothered by Gayle before Robinson cleared the danger

Hednesford looked leggy and out of ideas, with the two long away trips so close together starting to add up as they chased Doncaster around the pitch in the closing stages of the game. Despite this, there was no sign of any substitutes being brought on, despite Keith Russell and Scott Bonsall both appearing to get prepared for action and then being told to take a seat once more

Penney struck an ambitious long-range shot at goal with ten minutes remaining after intercepting Lake's attempted ball out of defence and looked to catch Gayle off his line with an early shot from long-range

On eighty-four minutes, another ball over the top from Penney saw Pateron break the flimsy Hednesford offside trap once again, taking the ball around the dive of Gayle before being brought down by the stopper a couple of yards inside the penalty area. With the home supporters expecting a red card for Gayle, Mr Tiffin surprised many inside the ground by only showing the Hednesford number one a yellow card as he had concluded that Paterson was going away from goal when he was brought down. Paterson took the spot-kick himself but was denied initially by a brilliant parry away by Gayle, only for the ball to run kindly for the striker once more to allow him to slot the ball home at the second attempt

Despite the penalty being awarded and eventually converted, Rovers manager Wignall was not happy at the decision not to send Gayle off and made his feelings very clear to the assistant on the main stand side as he came back to the halfway line for the restart

Worse was to follow for the hapless away side as a miserable evening was bookended with a second red card in four days for Norbury with three minutes remaining; after chasing substitute Chris Marples down the wing and being penalised by the assistant for his challenge, Norbury gave the official a disgusting verbal tirade about the decision which prompted Mr Tiffin to show Norbury a straight red card, much to the delight of the home crowd

McIntyre's late shot from long-range was easily fielded by Gayle in added time, as the ten men Pitmen escaped without any further damage to the scoreline to leave Yorkshire pointless. Successive heavy defeats drop Baldwin's side back down to eighteenth in the Nationwide Conference table, just a point above the drop zone. It's the first-ever meeting between Hednesford and former Football League side Chester City on Saturday, as the Blues make the relatively short journey down from Cheshire to Keys Park currently occupying fifth place in the table

Doncaster Rovers: Richardson, Shaw (Marples 79), Atkins ©, Caudwell, Ryan, Hawkins, Penney, Campbell, Alford, Paterson, McIntyre      Subs Unused: Kearney, Watson, Halliday, Barnard

Hednesford Town: Gayle , Pointon ©, Robinson , Lake, Haran Cooper, Owen, Sedgemore, Davis, Norbury  (87), Bagshaw ▆       Subs Unused: Bonsall, Bradley, Russell, Shakespeare, Carney