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UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Forsdick (21), (66), Dyer (77)

Frickley Athletic

(1) 3

(0) 0



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Simon Forsdick


Buxton (A) 21.8.07

The Pitmen's UniBond Premier League campaign got off to a flying start with a confident win over Frickley Athletic this afternoon at Keys Park that saw Phil Starbuck's side strike three goals without reply


A busy summer of activity had seen Starbuck make several new signings in light of last season's nightmare finish, determined to improve on their sixth-placed position. In had come goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin (Walsall), Tom Ward (Market Drayton Town), Paul Robinson (Ilkeston Town), Peter Knox (Eastwood Town), Dave MacPherson, Alan Nagington and Rob Hawthorne (all Leek Town), Simon Forsdick (Halesowen Town), Gordon Simms (Finn Harps) and Danny Blair (Carlton Town). Youth team graduate Keenen Meakin-Richards was also handed his full debut for the club at right-back after impressing in pre-season

Frickley had once again defied the odds last term and finished in a relatively safe mid-table position despite one of the lowest budgets and lowest average attendances in the UniBond Premier League Manager Billy Heath already had injury issues despite it being the opening day of the new season as injuries to regular centre-backs Adam Deakin and Dean Jones in pre-season added to suspensions for both Steve Robinson and Ross Haywood, meaning Heath had to field something of a thrown together defence for today's curtain-raiser

On a bright, sunny day in South Staffordshire and with a fine 500-plus crowd in attendance, the Pitmen - in their striking new 'Monaco' style black and white shirts - made a good start to proceedings as they looked to work the makeshift Frickley defence early on in the game. The tricky Knox was first to register a shot for the hosts in the fifth minute, seizing upon a pass from Ross Adams and drilling his first-time effort wide of Frickley goalkeeper Jon Hood's left-hand post

Ross Dyer went close to breaking the deadlock four minutes later, picking up an incisive pass from strike partner Knox but sending his shot high over the Hednesford End stand


For Frickley, Nathan Hotte's free-kick dropped just wide of the post on eleven minutes after a Dyer foul on the Frickley man twenty yards from the Hednesford goal had set up the opportunity for the Frickley youth team graduate to shoot at goal

Hotte was again in the action on twelve minutes, firing over the bar after a Tom Marshall ball was seized upon by Danny Walsh, who laid the ball to Hotte on the edge of the penalty area

Nagington, one of the numerous league debutantes for the Pitmen, could have scored the Pitmen's first goal of the season on fifteen minutes but the shot was just wide

The opener did arrive soon after, with summer signing Simon Forsdick the man to score it. Dyer's ball across seemed to have missed everyone, but the ball finally fell to Forsdick, who controlled the ball and fired past Hood

The Pitmen thought they were celebrating a second goal just ten minutes later when Forsdick curled a shot past Hood following a short corner. The referee disallowed the goal for offside, although there appeared to be no one in an offside position at the time

Just before the break, the home side had a good chance to extend their lead when Knox managed to get a shot in, but only found the side netting

Frickley emerged with real purpose at the start of the second half, and should have equalised straight from the kick-off; Lee Morris was left all alone twelve yards from goal, but with the frame of the goal in sight, he spooned his shot wide of Rene Gilmartin's goal when he really should have found the target

The Pitmen, with skipper Dave MacPherson and Forsdick running the show, made it 2-0 on sixty-six minutes; a move involving five Hednesford players culminated in Nagington playing the ball through to Forsdick, who fired across Hood and found the far corner of the net for his, and the Pitmen's, second

As is so often the case, two goals is not a big enough cushion, and Frickley reminded the Pitmen of this with fifteen minutes to go. Morris's volley was brilliantly saved by Walsall loanee Gilmartin, who once again looked the part between the sticks for the Pitmen

Hednesford wrapped up victory on seventy-seven minutes when Forsdick's corner caused confusion in the Frickley ranks, allowing Dyer to force the ball home to open his account for the season

Nagington missed a simple opportunity to add to the three already in the bag, but his effort nine minutes from time, arguably the easiest chance of the game, missed the net by inches. Forsdick forced Hood into a save late on as he looked for a hat-trick goal

As it was, it proved to be an excellent first game for the Pitmen, who will look forward to the trip to new boys Buxton on Tuesday night with confidence after a confident opening day win with several of the new faces showing good form and understanding with the more established names ay Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Meakin-Richards, Adams, Ward (Blair 84), Marshall, Robinson, Dyer, MacPherson ©, Knox (Adam 56), Nagington, Forsdick     Sub Unused: Simms

Frickley Athletic: Hood, Pollock, Hilton, Walsh, Heath (Laight 64), Ball, Morris, Hotte (Medcalf 79), Tracey (Davidson 67), White, Wood      Subs Unused: None

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