UniBond Northern Premier League

Frickley Athletic

Towler (15), (40), (67), Morris (70)

Hednesford Town

(2) 4

(0) 0



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Sam Hall


Lincoln United (A) 9.2.08

The Pitmen's recent run of fair form was shot to pieces this afternoon as they were destroyed by lowly Frickley Athletic in a display that left the Hednesford supporters giving manager Phil Starbuck and his players a lambasting at the final whistle after their worst performance of the season


Starbuck had been buoyed by his team's battling draw with table toppers Witton Albion the previous week but was forced into several changes due to the unavailability of players. Mario Pedro, Alan Nagington and Wayne Dyer all returned to the side in place of Tom Birch, Rory May and Chad Sheppard

Frickley may be second-bottom of the UnBond Premier League currently but were in the midst of a fine run of recent form that had seen them lift themselves off the foot of the table and within four points of safety. Wins over Guiseley, Ossett Town and Marine in recent games had lifted the Blues up to sixth in the current form table, with manager Billy Heath making three changes to the side that had started the 3-2 win over Marine last weekend; Scott Turner, Chris White and Lee Morris came in for Pollock, Rob Pell and Jonathan Groome

The addition of White in the Frickley side threw up the ultimate commentator's nightmare scenario, with the Pitmen, of course, having their own Chris White in the team, leaving the quick-witted Hednesford supporters who had made the journey up to chant 'there's only two Chrissy Whites' upon announcement of the teams over the tannoy


The Pitmen threatened in the opening exchanges as they kicked towards the social club end of Westfield Lane. Veteran winger David Eyres sent over a corner in the fourth minutes that saw Nagington force Frickley goalkeeper Jon Hood into a save as he flicked the ball goalwards from six yards out

Three minutes later, Ross Dyer could have opened the scoring for the Pitmen as he held off a challenge from skipper Chris Hilton to fire in a shot that was cleared off the line by Hood


The visitors' bright start continued in the ninth minute as Ross Dyer also fired in a shot on nine minutes that flew over the bar as he neatly sidestepped challenge before trying his luck from twenty-five yards out

Frickley's first sight at goal came a minute later as Hilton struck a firm volley at goal from just outside the Hednesford penalty area that forced Ben Scott into a save that he held at the second attempt

Frickley's Chris White won a free kick off Robinson on thirteen minutes and took it himself, which he hit into the wall with. The ball dropped kindly to Lee Morris, who dithered when presented the follow-up and allowed Scott to clear for the Pitmen

It was end-to-end stuff now, with Scott saving the Pitmen again to deny Morris on fourteen minutes before launching the ball up to Nagington, who was denied by Hood on the counter-attack in what was a breathless twenty seconds of play

However, on fifteen minutes, the open nature of the game took a turn against the Pitmen as Frickley took the lead. Hilton picked up a throw-in from White and curled in a cross from the right that was brought down by Neil Towler before he fired past Scott from the edge of the box

Morris could have extended their lead five minutes later, but narrowly missed the target after Towler had played his strike partner in on goal down the left-hand corner of the penalty area

Mario Pedro should have brought the Pitmen level midway through the first half, beating Dean Jones before drawing Hood out of his goal. Pedro made a real mess of his finish, however, as Hood managed to divert the ball away from danger. The ball eventually dropped to Wayne Dyer - lurking on the edge of the area - only for his effort to be turned away for a corner by the busy Hood

A slip from Ben Brown on twenty-eight minutes saw Morris seize upon the loose ball and sent Towler away, only for a late, late offside flag on the main stand side to deny the striker a second goal of the afternoon

Jones headed wide for the hosts on thirty-two minutes from a Hilton corner kick, before Hednesford's Chris White was given a stern warning from referee Mr Cooke after crudely bringing Danny Walsh down in midfield

Towler was causing uncertainty in the ranks at the back for Hednesford, and Scott had to be at his best to deny the forward a second goal on thirty-eight minutes as he pushed the striker's shot away from goal


However, more lax marking allowed Towler to claim his, and the home side's, second two minutes later when Morris's cross found him unmarked to knock the ball home after good play from full-back Scott Turner set Morris away down the left-wing

A long punt forwards from Robinson on forty-two minutes caught the Frickley defence out and found Nagington in behind, only for the former Leek man to pull his shot well wide as he tried his luck on his weaker foot

Ross Dyer had a great chance to get the Pitmen back into the game in added time as he broke through the flimsy Frickley offside trap to get on the end of a pass from Sam Hall, only to be denied by Hood once more

Starbuck will no doubt have given his side a tongue-lashing at the break after a characterless display from his side thus far. However, it was to prove ineffective as his side continued their lax approach to the game in the second half

A succession of early Hednesford corner kicks at the start of the second half were well-marshalled by Walsh and Wayne Harratt, who offered stern resistance to the Pitmen's limp attack with several dominant clearing headers

Frickley had the ball in the net again on fifty-three minutes but Morris's effort, stabbed home from close-range following a Hilton corner kick, was ruled out for offside

Ross Adams denied Towler a hat-trick on fifty-seven minutes with a powerful header away from goal to clear the danger from Towler's header towards goal


Scott punched a White shot away from goal on sixty-two minutes and recovered well to block Towler's rebound after Turner had lifted the ball back into the danger zone

Morris went close to making it 3-0 three minutes later as he dived in to reach a cross from Phil Lindley, only to head just wide of the right-hand post as he got there ahead of Adams


It seemed inevitable that a third goal would arrive as Frickley continued to press and it duly did on sixty-seven minutes. Ben Brown was easily brushed away by Towler as he collected a pass from White, taking take the ball around Scott and sealing his hat-trick as the remainder of the defence stopped running and watched the move unfold. Yet another infamous addition to their shocking showreel of defensive errors and cock-ups

In an attempt to stem the tide of Frickley attacks, the Pitmen made their first substitution of the game on sixty-nine minutes as David Brown came on in place of 44-year-old Eyres, who had been struggling with the pace of the hosts down the left

The hammering was complete on seventy minutes, sending many Hednesford fans straight to the bar to drown their sorrows with twenty minutes still to play. Morris was allowed to take Walsh's pass from his own half to the edge of the area and fire home in off the post past Scott as the Hednesford defenders dropped off the striker

With fifteen minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their second change of a grim afternoon as Robinson was replaced by Birch as the Hednesford skipper felt the back of his calf and was immediately taken off

The Pitmen plugged away for very little reward in the final ten minutes as Wayne Dyer's rising shot was tipped over by Hood on eighty-two minutes after god work from Adams down the right flank

With three minutes remaining, substitute David Brown cut inside from the right flank and beat Chris Gowen, only to lift his angled shot over the crossbar from the corner of the penalty area

In added time, Brown's impressive late cameo saw him skip past Jones on the edge of the penalty area and drive a low shot at goal that was well saved by Hodd, stretching full-length to his right to push the ball away from goal

The Pitmen had been devoid of ideas for much of this game and had once again defended dreadfully, allowing their lowly opponents to continue their fine recent form to move back towards safety in the process. Starbuck's position continues to be a source of primary conversation amongst the travelling supports as he seems to be completely out of ideas as to how he can motivate his players as they cruise towards a mid-table position with seventeen games still to play

Frickley Athletic: Hood, Turner, Gowen, Harratt, Lindley, Jones, Hilton ©, Walsh, Morris (Wilburn 76), Towler (Oleksewycz 81), Chris White (Pollock 89)       Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Scott, Adams, Eyres (D. Brown 69), Chris White, B. Brown, Robinson © (Birch 75), Pedro, W. Dyer, R. Dyer, Nagington, Hall       Sub Unused: Sheppard

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