27.8.2007

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Dyer (31), Knox (49)

Leek Town

(1) 2

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

612

Dominic Heath

W W L W

Kendal Town (H) 1.9.07

It was back to winning ways for the Pitmen on Bank Holiday Monday as they swept aside any nagging doubts following Saturday's defeat at Fleetwood Town with a confident victory over Staffordshire rivals Leek Town

 

Despite defeat at Highbury on Saturday, manager Phil Starbuck was positive about his side's performance and stuck largely with the same side that had started at Fleetwood, gaming only one change at right-back as Gordon Simms was handed a league debut in place of Keenen Meakin-Richards

Leek had started the season in unbeaten form, although their last two league games had both been draws at home to Ashton United and North Ferriby United in the past week. Manager Paul Moore made two changes to the side that had started against North Ferriby as Oliver Edwards and Mick Jeffries came into the side in place of Paddy McFadden and Ashley Hill

The intention was clear from the home side's first-minute attack that they were out to win this one against their county rivals. Former Leek captain Dave MacPherson made a run from halfway and found Ross Dyer, who forced Leek goalkeeper Matthew Cooper into a save with a firmly-hit first-time shot at goal from fifteen yards out

A minute later, Peter Knox looked to add to his two goals in the last two games with a fierce shot that was deflected away by Wayne Johnson for a Hednesford corner kick

Neat link-up play involving Ross Adams and Dyer on five minutes saw MacPherson played in behind the Leek defence, but his effort sailed over the bar as he got his laces underneath the ball

For Leek, former Hednesford youth team graduate Steve Brannan tried his luck from well outside the penalty area on ten minutes but skewed his effort well wide of Rene Gilmartin's goal

Former Hednesford striker Darren Alexander - the Pitmen's top scorer last term - was playing in an unusual defensive position for the visitors and went close to breaking the deadlock on fifteen minutes as he headed an Edwards free-kick wide of goal from eight yards out after making a run to the near post

Knox was working hard in search of an opener for the hosts and diverted a Simms cross just wide of Cooper's goal midway through the first half with a diving header at the near post

 

Gary Talbot almost put through his own net for the visitors four minutes later as slicing a Dyer cross narrowly over his own crossbar with Cooper static on his goal line

The home side finally got the goal that their efforts deserved just after the half-hour mark courtesy of a fine move involving a number of players. MacPherson, Adams, and Heath were all involved as they carved a path through the Leek midfield, culminating in a fine through ball to Dyer, who shot past Cooper with a fine angled shot from twelve yards out

 

Knox almost made it two goals in a minute for the rampant Pitmen, but his shot whilst off balance was saved by Cooper as he stretched to reach a teasing through ball from Forsdick

On forty minutes, A stray ball from Brannan was scooped up by Tom Ward, whose incisive pass found Simms in space down the right. The Northern Irishman cut inside of Andy Thomas's challenge and crossed for Knox, who bundled his shot wide of the far post under pressure from Wayne Johnson

With half-time looming, Dyer got the better of Leek skipper Johnson and unleashed a shot from eighteen yards out that Cooper comfortably held on his goal line

The hosts were forced into a substitution at the half-time break as Keenen Meakin-Richards came on in place of the injured Paul Robinson, who had been limping towards the end of the first period

Despite Knox's frustrations with his failure to score in the first half, the stocky striker more than made up for it with a brilliant goal four minutes into the restart; a ball played to him across the penalty area by Forsdick was dispatched in sensational style by Knox, firing from the corner of the box and into the roof of the net to beat Cooper all ends up

A smart save from Gilmartin, his only action so far in the game, denied Edwards as Leek looked for a way back into the game with a swerving free-kick from the midfielder on fifty-five minutes

 

Back came the Pitmen through the long-serving Adams, who fired in a long-range shot that was well saved by Cooper on the hour mark after the Leek defence had backed off the former West Brom defender

Dyer was looking to join Knox on three goals for the season and headed an Adams cross narrowly wide of goal on sixty-five minutes, as he nipped in ahead of the over-worked Johnson inside the Leek six-yard box 

Danny Blair was brought on in place of Knox on seventy-one minutes and his first action was an attempted lob over Cooper just sixty seconds after coming on, which just dipped over the Leek stopper's crossbar

 

Forsdick - back in form after a quiet couple of games on the road - tried his luck with a trademark curling shot on seventy-five minutes as he cut inside from the right flank and drifted past Thomas's half-hearted challenge

The final ten minutes saw the Pitmen enjoy themselves a bit, playing some neat football to feet. Tom Marshall headed over the bar from an inswinging Forsdick corner kick on eighty-one minutes, followed a minute later by some neat interplay from MacPherson and Heath that set Dyer away, only for an offside flag on the main stand side to deny Dyer a shot at goal

 

Chris Adam was given a late run-out on the right flank in a like-for-like swap with Forsduck, who was afforded warm applause from the main stand after a fine performance. The former Ilkeston Town man was straight into the action as he fired narrowly wide of Cooper's goal following a run and pass from Blair on eighty-six minutes

 

The signs look very, very positive at present for the Pitmen, who are growing in confidence every week, with their performances improving in both quality and authority. They are playing hosts once more on Saturday as Kendal Town make the long journey down from Cumbria as Starbuck's side go in search of a win that could see them top the table if results go their way elsewhere

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Simms, Adams, Ward, Marshall, Robinson (Meakin-Richards 45), Heath, MacPherson ©, Knox (Blair 71), Dyer, Forsdick (Adam 83)     Subs Unused: None

Leek Town: Cooper, Soboljew, Thomas, Alexander, Johnson ©, Talbot, Brannan, Edwards (Hill 79), Briscoe, Hopley, Jeffries (Booth 87)     Sub Unused: Marsden