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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Dover Athletic

Wilkins (49), Carruthers (82)

Hednesford Town

S. Palmer (32)

(0) 2

(1) 1




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Ryan Young



Grantham Town (H) 21.10.03

Controversy was thick in the air at the Crabble this evening as Hednesford fell to their fourth defeat in a row at the home of Dover Athletic, in a game remembered for all the wrong reasons

Tactical tweaking from manager Barry Powell saw the Pitmen make alterations to the side that had drawn with Crawley Town last time out ahead of today's long trip down to the south coast as Karl Brown was dropped in favour of Damien Charie, a move that saw Nathan Lamey move out to the left flank and Charie play down the right supporting lone striker Steve Anthrobus in a variation of a 4-5-1 formation

Dover's start to the season had been a poor one, with Clive Walker's side struggling in lower mid-table after twelve games; successive defeats to Newport County and Canvey Island in the F.A. Cup had left the Lilywhites in fifteenth position, two places below the Pitmen in the table at the start of play. The under-pressure Walker made two changes to the side that had started against Canvey, bringing Kenny Dyer and Tommy Tyne back into the team at the expense of Simon Glover and Darren Davies

On the sloping pitch at the Crabble, Hednesford started well as they kicked down the hill in the first half, with Les Hines almost catching veteran keeper Paul Hyde out at his near post in the seventh minute as his well-hit low shot from twenty-five yards out appeared to surprise the keeper, who just did enough to palm Hines's effort onto the base of the post and away from danger

The combative Anthrobus got the better of Craig Cloke on twelve minutes, turning the defender well but dragging his shot well wide of Hyde's goal from twenty yards out


The Pitmen's bright start continued through Lamey's powerful run and cross on fourteen minutes, only for his cross to skip across the Dover penalty area and away from danger


Two minutes later, Ryan Young was called upon for the first time in the game as he made a fine stop to deny Matt Carruthers, turning the striker's shot over the crossbar after Tyne had rolled the ball into the path of his team-mate fifteen yards from goal


Six minutes later, the Dover pair switched roles as Carruthers robbed Darren Simkin of the ball and played Tyne in on goal, only for Young to come up with another good stop to deny Tyne with a fine smothering save at the feet of the home striker

On the half-hour mark, a free-kick from Anthony Maguire was headed back to him by Cloke, with Maguire's recycled cross headed high over the crossbar by Chris Brindley at the far post as the veteran stretched to reach the over-hit cross

The Pitmen took the lead on thirty-two minutes, and what a strike it was to hand Powell's team the advantage through skipper Steve Palmer. Picking the ball up thirty yards from goal, the former Telford man strode forwards and unleashed a fantastic rising shot that rocketed into the top corner of the net with Hyde grasping at thin air

Dover went close to an almost immediate equaliser on thirty-five minutes as Young came to his team's rescue with a fine double save; Carruthers got the better of Simkin and fired goalwards, forcing Young into a superb one-handed stop to palm the ball away from goal. The ball fell at the feet of Kenny Dyer, whose follow-up was somehow turned away from goal by the outstretched arm of Young, who did brilliantly to recover his balance to make the second save in quick succession

An ugly spat two minutes later was to set the tone for the remainder of the game, as a keen contest was turned into a nasty encounter due to a clash between Hyde and Lamey. The Hednesford man took exception to Hyde's time-wasting with the ball in hand and got into a wrestling contest with the experienced stopper. Words were exchanged between the pair before Lamey took exception to one particular remark that Hyde made towards him and Anthrobus, which he believed to be of a racist nature. Lamey had to be held back by Simkin and Brindley whilst Hyde was separated by Dean Reading and James Rogers as the referee struggled to maintain order between the two sets of players, booking Lamey, Hyde and Cloke in the aftermath for their part in the scuffle

Carl Palmer - clearly wound up himself by the earlier coming-together  - made poor challenge on Hyde as he slid in on the keeper chasing a long ball forwards from Charie on forty-two minutes in a sign of retribution and was rightly booked for a late challenge on the Dover man, whose histrionics ensured that he stayed down long enough for the referee to offer Palmer a yellow card

In the third minute of eight added minutes at the end of the half, Dover had their best chance so far to level matters as a corner kick from Rogers saw Young and Carruthers challenge for the ball, only for Young to drop the cross into the path of Lee Spiller, whose subsequent effort came back off the underside of the crossbar and hit the grounded Carruthers before being hacked off the line by Alex Gibson  

Fired up by Walker's half-time team talk, Dover took advantage of kicking down the hill and equalised with their first opening of the second period. A corner from Carruthers found the head of Craig Wilkins, who headed unchallenged past Young from eight yards out for his ninth goal of the season


The Pitmen's discipline suffered badly following this early conceding of a goal, with Simkin going into the book for a terribly crude challenge on Spiller on fifty-two minutes and was followed a few minutes later by Anthrobus, who was rightly booked for an elbow on Readings as the pair challenged for a high ball forwards from Simkin

Spiller's game came to an end on sixty-three minutes as he was still feeling the effects of Simkin's challenge on him a few minutes earlier and came off after trying to play on to be replaced by Jamie Day

Lamey's frustrating game was brought to an end on sixty-seven minutes as he was taken off in favour of Mark Danks, who had found minutes hard to come by in recent games after a bright start to the season

With Dover sensing a winning goal against a Hednesford side struggling to keep in touch with the game, Walker pushed Tyne up with Wilkins and Carruthers to make it three up top to give old stagers Simkin and Brindley more issues to deal with. On sixty-nine minutes, a lobbed ball forwards from Tyne found Carruthers in behind the Pitmen's defence, only for Young to do well to narrow the angle and force Carruthers into an off-target lob

 A rash decision from Anthrobus was to cost the Pitmen dearly on seventy-five minutes, as he chased down a Steve Palmer ball forwards before being beaten to the ball by Hyde. Despite this, Anthrobus served up his own version of justice on Hyde by going straight through the back of the keeper as he ran back towards this own half, with Hyde again ensuring that the referee reached for a yellow card with another bout on embarrassing theatrics. It was clearly a yellow card offence, so why Hyde felt the need to make more out of it only he will know. Anthrobus was rightly shown a second yellow card for his actions and was promptly sent off, taking much abuse from he home supporters as he trudged off

From this point on, the Pitmen were simply hanging on for the point as they failed to get out of their own half much int he remaining time as passes went astray and Danks was left isolated up front on his own

A spell of pressure on eighty-ten minutes saw Dover force three corners in a row as they cranked up the chances on the Hednesford defence before finally finding a winning goal though Carruthers. A cross from Rogers was flicked into the danger zone by the hapless Simkin, finding full-back Browne at the far post - his header was parried away by Young, but only into the path of Carruthers who tapped home from a yard out

It appeared that both sides settled on the result from this point on, even with questionable nine minutes of added time added by referee Mr. Kinseley. The Pitmen had run out of luck and ideas, even with Ashley Williams and Ashley Dodd coming on late on for Gibson and Maguire to add more pace down the flanks. There was more unpleasantness at the final whistle, as both sets of players clashed in the tunnel as they went off, with Hyde being kept away from the men in sky blue as he was ushered away after his infamous part in the game


And so the Pitmen's Crabble hoodoo continues with yet another defeat, leaving Powell's side still looking to kickstart what has been a hugely frustrating campaign so far. They return home to Keys Park on Tuesday night to face a side who sit just below them in the table in the form of Grantham Town, who had been in indifferent form since the two sides met at the South Kesteven Stadium six weeks ago

Dover Athletic: Hyde , Browne, Dyer (Glover 80), Reading, Cloke , Chapman, Rogers (Davies 73), Spiller (Day 63), Wilkins, Tyne, Carruthers       Subs Unused: Amadi, Postma

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson (Williams 80 ), Hines, Maguire (Dodd 85), Simkin , Brindley, C. Palmer , S. Palmer ©, Anthrobus ▆  (75), Lamey ▆ (Danks 67), Charie      Subs Unused: Ryder, P. Evans

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