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Nationwide Conference North

Gainsborough Trinity

Pell (75)

Hednesford Town

Barrow (85) (penalty)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Andy Bell



Stalybridge Celtic (H) 29.8.05

 The Pitmen earn their first away point of the new season as Lee Barrow's late penalty is enough to hand the visitors a share of the points against struggling Gainsborough Trinity this afternoon

Having made a stuttering start to the new campaign, Hednesford arrived in Lincolnshire with the returning Paul Szewczyk available for selection after injury in pre-season had kept him out of the first three games of the new campaign. He had to be content with a place on the substitute's bench, however, as manager Chris Brindley stuck with the same XI that had fought well last weekend but ultimately lost 4-3 at home to Hinckley United

Trinity had made a poor start to the new campaign and sat second bottom of the table going into today's game after failing to win any of their first three games. Manager Paul Mitchell made two changes to his side for today's return to Northolme after a 2-1 defeat at Worcester City last weekend as Ben Purkiss made his first appearance of the season in place of Alex Higgins and Jon Rowan returned to the XI as he replaced former Premier League forward Clint Marcelle

The all-green clad Pitmen made a bright start amongst cloudy Lincolnshire skies and Andy Bell drove an early sighter over the crossbar from twenty-five yards out in the second minute

In the sixth minute, Tommy Whittle's long free-kick forwards dropped at the feet of Bell, who turned quickly and played Colin Hunter into the Gainsborough penalty area, only for the winger's left-footed effort to cannon off the boot of Purkiss and away from goal. The ball rebounded back to Bell, whose first-time shot beat Jamie Holmshaw in the Trinity goal and found the bottom corner of the net. Bell's celebrations were cut short, however, as an offside flag against him saw referee Mr Murphy rule the goal out


Two minutes later, Gainsborough's Jamie Sherlock made a surging run from his own penalty area all the way to the corner of the Pitmen's as he was not challenged by the men in green, with Mark Branch eventually making the covering tackle to clear the ball before Sherlock could shoot


Gainsborough went closest of either side to opening the scoring in the eleventh minute as a good pass from Danny Wood sent Rowan away down the left wing; he cut inside and attempted a cross-cum-shot that beat Whittle but came back off the far post. Danny Steadman had made a run into the penalty area but was caught ball-watching and couldn't react quickly enough to turn the loose ball home as Adams recovered well and cleared the danger


Neat play from the Pitmen in the seventeenth minute saw Lee Williams play Bell into space down the left, with the striker picking out Rob Heath with a fine pull-back into the path of the midfield man, whose rising shot drifted wide of the upright from eighteen yards out


Good play from left-back Adam Burley for the hosts saw him skip past a challenge from Jamie Barrett midway through a competitive first period, with the defender hanging up a cross to the far post, where Whittle managed to palm the ball away from the clutches of the swiftly-arriving Rowan


Four minutes later, skipper Lee Barrow got on the end of an outswinging Williams free-kick but saw his downward header blocked at the near post by the leg of Trinity's Nick Ellis, who completed the clearance


On the half-hour mark, Steadman and Dave Reeves linked up well to lay the ball into the path of Rowan, who got his angles all wrong as he dragged his left-footed effort well wide of Whittle's goal


Whittle was called upon to make a timely save for the visitors three minutes later as he touched Rowan's clipped shot over the crossbar as the striker attempted to lob the stopper from fifteen yards out


Back came the Pitmen and Paul McMahon - scorer of two goals in the defeat to Hinckley - had his first sight at goal in the game on thirty-seven minutes as he streaked away from Pell to reach Barrett's forward pass, but was forced wide by Ellis and drove his shot well wide of Holmshaw's near post


With five minutes of the first half remaining, a quick break down the left from the Pitmen saw Hunter receive a pass from Barrett and cross low into the path of Heath, who in turn clipped the ball into the path of Bell with a clever flick of the boot. Unfortunately for the striker, he slipped at the most inopportune moment and allowed the ball to dribble away from him


 It had been a fairly evenly contested first period, with both sides having good chances to open the scoring but neither goalkeeper had been severely tested so far

Five minutes into the second half, Trinity should have taken the lead as another Sherlock run played Danny Wood into space, who in turn played the ball across the Hednesford penalty area to Rowan, who pulled his shot wide of goal from six yards out

Two minutes later, an inviting low cross from Bell, who had made a move out onto the right flank, was aimed at McMahon but a timely interception from Purkiss nicked the ball away from the striker before he could pull the trigger

On fifty-eight minutes, Purkiss was involved at the other end of the pitch as he got on the end of a free-kick from Steadman out on the left with a glancing header but headed straight into the arms of Whittle

Just after the hour mark, Hunter beat two men down the left with a slaloming run into the Gainsborough penalty area but saw his low shot deflected away from goal by the boot of Ellis


Sherlock's corner kick was partially cleared by the Pitmen on sixty-three minutes but only as far as Ellis, whose follow-up shot sailed harmlessly over the crossbar from twenty yards out


The visitors made their first substitution of the afternoon on sixty-eight minutes as Szewczyk was handed his first minutes of the season as he made his second debut for the club, coming on in place of McMahon up front

Within a minute of coming on, the tall striker picked up an Adams pass on the edge of the Gainsborough penalty area and turned towards goal but saw his low driven effort saved by Holmshaw

With nineteen minutes remaining, Barrett quickly took a free-kick inside the centre circle and played Bell into space, with the striker getting the better of Burley to the right of the Gainsborough penalty area but scuffed his shot into the ground and straight into the arms of Holmshaw

The hosts got their noses in front in the seventy-fifth minute as they opened the scoring through Pell; Whittle made a superb save to turn Rowan's dipping from twenty yards out over the crossbar but could do nothing to stop Pell from getting goal side of Richard Teesdale to meet Steadman's cross at the far post and head home from close-range

The Pitmen made an attacking change a minute after going a goal down as Steve Brannan came on to add pace and a combative spirit, replacing the tiring Williams in midfield

With eleven minutes remaining, Hunter managed to nick the ball from Wes Parker down the left and play the ball back to Branch, whose cross bounced into the path of Bell. The striker managed to bring the ball under his control but fired wide of goal with an off-target effort

On eighty-three minutes, Teesdale headed agonisingly wide of the near post as Brannan's corner kick was met by the young defender at the near post as he beat Pell to the ball

The Pitmen pulled themselves level once more with five minutes of the game remaining as they were awarded a penalty kick; the hard-working Bell got on the end of Barrett's forward pass before being bundled over a couple of yards inside the Gainsborough penalty area. Mr Murphy had no hesitation in awarding the Pitmen a penalty kick, despite Purkiss and Ellis arguing against the decision. Barrow - last season's penalty expert - stepped up once more to fire beyond the reach of Holmshaw and equalise for the hosts with his second goal of the campaign

Szewczyk turned past Ellis with two minutes of the game remaining and played Hunter into space, although the winger slightly overhit his cross as he aimed it towards Bell, who couldn't quite reach the ball with his head at the far post

In the first minute of added time, Trinity had a great chance to claim all of the points late on as substitute Marcelle showed excellent close control to turn past Barrow and drag it past Teesdale, but his low driven effort was claimed by Whittle at his near post

A point is a good return for the Pitmen and earns them their first positive away result of the season; they had defended stoutly for much of the game and can be pleased with the chances they created throughout the game. There is much good to take from today's performance from Brindley's side, who will return to Keys Park on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon as they play host to former Vauxhall Conference rivals Stalybridge Celtic, who won their first game of the season today with victory against Worksop Town

Gainsborough Trinity: Holmshaw, W. Parker, Burley, Ellis, Pell, Sherlock, Purkiss, Steadman (Higgins 86), Reeves (Caudwell 73), Rowan (Marcelle 64), Wood       Subs Unused: Gordon, L. Parker 

Hednesford Town: Whittle, Adams, Branch, Barrow ©, Teesdale, Williams (Brannan 76), Barrett, Heath, Bell, McMahon (Szewczyk 68), Hunter    Subs Unused: T. Marshall, Beckett, Brindley

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