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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League 

Hednesford Town

Danks (13) (penalty), (36)

Dorchester Town

Keeler (3), Laws (23), Browne (37), Groves (71)

(2) 2

(3) 4




Current Form

Next Match


Mark Danks


 Hinckley United (H) 10.4.04

The Pitmen are brought back down to earth in an unceremonious manner this evening as they crash to yet another league defeat at Keys Park to a free-scoring Dorchester Town, just seventy-two hours after they had beaten Nationwide Conference side Aldershot Town on the same pitch to clinch their place in the F.A. Trophy Final

Barry Powell could name the same XI that had started Saturday's semi-final second leg after no new injury concerns from a bruising encounter against the Shots, although he was without the recently signed duo Karl Hawley and Ross Adams due to knocks. Centre back Stuart Ryder was passed fit before the game after returning to action on Saturday from a long injury lay-off

Dorchester - beaten 4-3 by the Pitmen in a superb encounter at the Avenue Stadium way back in September - sat just above the Pitmen in the Dr. Martens League table at the start of play after a run of mixed form had seen the Magpies win only one of their last four games. Saturday had seen them pick up a 3-0 win over Worcester City to move up into sixteenth position in the league table, with manager Mark Morris sticking with the same side that had started against Worcester for tonight's long trip up to Staffordshire from Dorset


The Keys Park pitch had seen plenty fo rain fall on it since Saturday's epic encounter, with the surface slick and muddy that saw players from both sides slip over at regular intervals during the game. Dorchester made a dream start to the game with their first venture into Hednesford territory in the third minute as Jamie Brown's incisive pass found Justin Keeler, whose well-struck angled drive beat Ryan Young and found the net via a slight deflection off the far post

Chris Brindley almost came up with an immediate response for the hosts two minutes later as he headed Les Hines' corner kick over the crossbar from seven yards out by meeting the cross unchallenged at the far post

A poor backwards header from Alex Browne in the eighth minute saw Mark Danks nip in on goal to race on to the ball, only to be denied a shot at goal by the diligence of Dorchester keeper Craig Bradshaw, who spotted the danger early and cleared the ball away from goal before Danks could get a shot away

Hereford United loanee Jordan King fired just wide of the hosts two minutes later, driving a close range shot inches wide of Bradshaw's post after Darren Simkin had played the young midfielder in on goal from the right

In the thirteenth minute, the Pitmen were handed a chance to level the game once more as referee Mr. Farries awarded them a penalty following a foul by Browne on Steve Anthrobus as the pair challenged for a loose ball in the Dorchester penalty area. Danks stepped up and fired high into the net to Bradshaw's right to equalise with his seventeenth goal of the season

Despite doing all of the hard work to get themselves back into the game, the Pitmen's ageing defence continued to look suspect against the Dorchester forward line. Matt Groves went close to giving the Magpies the lead once more in the sixteenth minute as he slid in at the far post to meet a Keeler cross, only to miss the ball by a matter of inches with the net gaping in front of him

A corner from Keeler three minutes later almost surprised Young as it caught the wind and sailed towards the far corner, prompting the Hednesford keeper to turn the inswinging ball over the bar for another Dorchester corner

The visitors got their noses back in front midway through a breathless first half as Weymouth legend David Laws - recently signed from Portland United - grabbed his first Dorchester goal from another fine set-piece; Matt Hann's inswinging corner kick was returned to him by the head of Ryder, with Hann's return ball into the box turned home by the head of the veteran striker despite Young's best efforts to keep the ball out

Back came the Pitmen one more as the game continued to flow from one end to the other in a cup-tie like encounter. Ryder headed into the side netting from a Hines free-kick on twenty-nine minutes, followed a minute later by a fine run from Carl Palmer that saw him play Anthony Maguire clear down the right wing, whose subsequent cross was headed over the crossbar by Anthrobus

The Pitmen were back on level terms yet again in the thirty-sixth minute as a long, rangy cross from Simkin was headed down by Anthrobus in the Dorchester penalty area to Danks, who took advantage of indecision between Bradshaw and Browne to take the loose ball round the keeper and fire home his second goal of the evening

And yet, the Pitmen pressed the well-worn self-destruct button once again and gifted Dorchester the lead straight from the restart; a cheap corner kick conceded by Simkin, under no pressure to clear the ball, gave Hann a chance to send over another fine corner kick that Browne gleefully headed past Young from close range as he met the inswinging ball unchallenged in the six-yard box. A dreadful goal to concede and yet more questions asked over the creaky, one-paced Hednesford defence that looked desperately in need of an injection of pace and youth more so than ever this season

Skipper Steve Palmer drove a low shot narrowly wide of Bradshaw's goal on forty-one minutes before turning provider for Carl Palmer just before half time with a clever pass into the feet of his midfield partner, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area failed to test the Dorchester stopper

It had been another roller-coaster forty-five minutes for the meagre crowd to witness as the Pitmen once again had showcased the Jekyll and Hyde nature of their play in a perfect illustration of their current form

The hosts started the second half well with Danks continuing to be their best bet of getting back into contention. Bradshaw denied him early on in the half with a one-handed save to turn the youngster's shot away from goal before Dorchester went close to killing the game off on fifty-three minutes as Hann drove his angled shot just wide of Young's near post

Two minutes later, Laws got goal side of Ryder to latch onto a Keeler cross, only to turn his shot just wide of goal from eighty yards out after Keeler had beaten Hines and whipped in a cross from the right wing

Bradshaw denied Danks once more on fifty-eight minutes with another smart save down to his right to turn the striker's shot way from goal. A minute later, Bradshaw's long kick forwards was missed by the Hednesford defence and picked up by Groves, who in turn was denied by the quick reactions of Young to claim the ball at the striker's feet

The game's crucial turning point came in the sixty-fifth minute as Danks latched onto a wayward clearance from Michael Walker and let fly with a great strike that came back off the base of the post with Bradshaw beaten

Laws had a goal chalked off for the away side on seventy minutes as he headed a Keeler cross home, only for a late offside flag against him on the Wimblebury side to rule his second goal of the night out

A minute later, Dorchester did put clear daylight between themselves and the Pitmen with a killer fourth goal of the evening. Once again, the Hednesford defence was the architect of it's own downfall as Brindley's poor clearance fell straight to the feet of Groves, whose well-struck effort from fully twenty-five yards out beat Young's despairing dive to the left and nestled in the corner of the net

In a reaction to this blow, Steve Piearce was brought on by the Pitmen two minutes later as a third striker to play up alongside Danks and Anthrobus as Powell looked for a response from his side once more, replacing the tiring Steve Palmer and handing the captaincy to Simkin

Some of the supporters had seen enough and started to troop off into the late Spring night as the Pitmen's struggled for a response against their route one opponents who had done a good job in soaking up the pressure of the home side and catching them on the break with pace the Hednesford defence simply didn't have

Steve Evans came on in place of Jordan King with thirteen minutes remaining, ending King's involvement in what had been his quietest performance for the club so far since his loan move last month

Simkin bludgeoned a shot in at goal from twenty yards out on eighty-two minutes that sailed into what was left of the crowd behind Bradshaw's goal as Dorchester held firm, holding out with relative ease in the final minutes against a Hednesford side that had seemingly ran out of ideas going forwards. Hines supplied three successive corner kicks into the box int he final minuet of the game that Dorchester dwelt with diligently under very little pressure from a deflated home side

Frustrated and muffled boos rang around Keys Park at the final whistle from supporters who will no doubt go home confused at how the same eleven players can produce two wildly differing performances on the same pitch only three days apart, thus leaving their Conference North dreams in tatters and relying on slip-ups from other sides in the remaining games if they are to have any chance to gatecrash the top thirteen in the four remaining weeks of the campaign. Saturday sees high-flying Hinckley United make the short trip across the A5 to visit Keys Park in what is a must-win for Powell's side if they are to offer any indication of a return to league form in these last few games of the season

Hednesford Town: Young, Simkin, Hines, King (S. Evans 77), Brindley, RyderC. Palmer, S. Palmer © (Piearce 73), Anthrobus, Danks, Maguire      Subs Unused: Dean, Charie, P. Evans

Dorchester Town: Bradshaw, Moore, Walker, Jermyn, Browne, Harris, Hann, Brown, Groves, Laws, Keeler       Subs Unused: White, Cann, McElhatton, Ormerod

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