Nationwide Conference North

Hednesford Town

Teesdale (19)

Gainsborough Trinity

Mallon (13)

(1) 1

(1) 1



Current Form

Next Match


Tom Marshall



Workington (H) 11.2.06

On a bitterly cold afternoon at Keys Park, Hednesford and mid-table Gainsborough Trinity have to be content with a point apiece after both two goals in the opening twenty minutes

Two wins on the bounce from the hosts saw them arrive at Keys Park full of renewed confidence, having lifted themselves off the foot of the table in midweek courtesy of a 1-0 win over play-off chasing Lancaster City. Manager Steve Anthrobus was able to name the same starting XI as the one that had started on Monday night after Mark Briggs had shaken off the leg injury that had forced him off in the first half of the Lancaster game

Trinity travelled to Keys Park sitting in thirteenth place in the table, having conceded a last-minute goal to Worcester City last weekend to lose 1-0 to their fellow mid-table dwellers at Northolme. Manager Paul Mitchell made just the one change from the side that had started against Worcester as on-loan Burton Albion man Eric Graves replaced Jamie Smith

The recent cold snap had left the game in some doubt until mid-morning, with referee Mr Tavinder passing the pitch as playable despite some part of the pitch in front of the main stand still being frozen. The Pitmen's newly-found battling qualities were in full view as early as the first minute of the game as young striker Ross Dyer chased down a pass from Lee Barrow and clashed with Trinity goalkeeper Jamie Holmshaw, prompting Mr Tavinder to have a word in the ear of the teenager after Holmshaw was left in a heap on the floor

Colin Hunter's strong run down the left in the sixth minute saw the winger beat Danny Wood for pace before pulling the ball back into the path of Dyer, whose attempted lay-off to Briggs was hacked clear by Adam Burley

Steve Brannan bustled his way past Charlie Trout in midfield in the ninth minute of the game but elected to shoot from long-range rather than pass to Dyer, striking his effort high over Holmshaw's crossbar

Trinity had offered very little going forwards so far but silenced the Keys Park crowd as they took the lead in the thirteenth minute; Matty Caudwell's long throw from the right was flicked on by Richard Pell and into the path of Ryan Mallon, who turned past Richard Teesdale on the edge of the penalty area and looped a shot over the head of the stranded Gary Hateley and into the far corner of the net. The strong sunshine in the Hednesford goalkeeper's eyes will not have helped as he appeared to lose the ball in the sun

Back came the shell-shocked Pitmen and Tom Marshall's firmly struck effort after Hunter had squared a free-kick to him in the fifteenth minute flew inches wide of Holmshaw's right-hand post

The Pitmen thought that they had levelled matters once more in the eighteenth minute as Hunter picked the ball up from a Briggs corner kick and struck an angled shot at goal that looked destined for the far corner until Wood came from nowhere to clear the ball off the line and behind for another corner kick

From Briggs' resultant corner kick, the ball was partially cleared as far as home debutant Leon Drysdale, whose low cross was turned home through a forest of legs by Teesdale from six yards out

A minute later, the hosts felt that they had a decent shout for a penalty kick as Platt's run into the penalty area saw him apparently pushed over by Ellis as he entered the penalty area. McSweeney and Dyer both chased Mr Tavinder down, but he was unimpressed and gestured to Platt to get back to his feet

Drysdale was the first player to be shown a yellow card midway through the first period as he sent Alex Higgins flying with a heavy challenge and was rightly booked by Mr Tavinder for a challenge that left the Trinity bench incensed

Three successive corner kicks from the Pitmen ramped up the pressure on the Gainsborough defence, with Briggs a constant threat sending over his inswinging crosses. His final ball in on twenty-six minutes was headed up in the air by Tom Marshall and forced Holmshaw into a panicky punch off his line as the ball threatened to dip over the head of the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net

Graves made a run in behind the hesitant Hednesford defence on twenty-nine minutes and turned the ball into the path of Mallon, whose first-time shot forced Hateley into a diving save down to his left

Three minutes later, the tricky Hunter beat Nick Ellis as he drifted inside from the flank and stood up a cross to the far post, where Briggs arrived to head goalwards from a tight angle, forcing Holmshaw into a save at his near post

Excellent football from Leon McSweeney in the thirty-fifth minute saw the Irishman shimmy his way past Burley's tackle and clip a delightful left-footed pass into the path of strike partner Dyer, who wastefully drove his shot past the post from fifteen yards out

On thirty-seven minutes, Briggs proved more excellent service from a right-wing corner kick as he found Teesdale lurking at the near post, but the young centre-back headed wide from close-range

A minute later, Trout won a free-kick for Trinity to the left of the Hednesford penalty area after being tripped by Teesdale. Jamie Sherlock took the resultant kick but curled his effort over the wall and past Hateley's right-hand post

With four minutes of a competitive half remaining, Graves showed great industry to win the ball down the right from Tom Marshall and pull the ball back into the danger zone, forcing Barrow into a timely clearance inside the six-yard box as Mallon closed in on the ball

Marshall was involved at the other end of the pitch sixty seconds later as Platt's lofted ball into the penalty area was met by a full-blooded header from the young defender but he was off-target as his effort skipped over the crossbar

In the final minute of the half, Barrow headed high over the crossbar for the Pitmen as the skipper met a Briggs corner kick at the near post but got his angles all wrong

It had been an entertaining forty-five minutes thus far, with both sides enjoying good spells of possession and creating a fair amount of openings but not being able to take the lead before the break

The Pitmen started the second half quickly and Trout denied Dyer a clear shot at goal two minutes after the restart as he slid in to clear the ball away from the striker's feet after a long ball forwards from Tom Marshall

A minute later, Hunter collected Drysdale's excellent cross-field ball and took the ball into the penalty area, only for another fine save from the busy Holmshaw to deny the winger

Another excellent block from Trout on fifty-one minutes denied McSweeney as he deflected the striker's shot behind for a corner kick after McSweeney had worked himself some space just inside the Gainsborough penalty area

Sean Platt's quickly-taken free-kick on fifty-six minutes played Hunter into space down the left, with the former Morecambe man curling in a shot from the corner of the penalty area that tamely landed in the arms of Holmshaw

A minute later, Ellis climbed highest to reach a free-kick from Caudwell as he got a run on Barrow to head the ball goalwards but glanced his effort narrowly wide of the far post from six yards out

The excellent Marshall made a superb block tackle to deny Mallon on the hour mark as he eased the striker away from goal and stretched a long leg out to deflect the Gainsborough goalscorer's right-footed effort behind for a corner kick

A great run from Dyer three minutes later saw the youngster take the ball from the halfway line to the byeline and crossed for McSweeney, who over-stretched for the ball at the far post and glanced a header well wide of goal

This was to be Dyer's final involvement in the game as he was replaced by the Pitmen's top scorer Paul McMahon on sixty-four minutes as the hosts looked for more creativity inside the Gainsborough penalty area

A long-range effort from Sherlock tested the reflexes of Hateley on seventy minutes as he picked up a loose clearance from Barrow twenty-five yards from goal before unleashing a low shot at goal

A double change for Gainsborough added more menace to their attack on seventy-three minutes as Tom Baker replaced Caudwell and Smith came on for Graves

Baker almost made an immediate impression for the Blues just two minutes after his introduction as he made a late run into the penalty area to latch onto Mallon's cross, but saw his header cleared by the omnipresent Marshall once more from close-range

A good run from Smith dragged Barrow out to the left-wing on seventy-seven minutes, tricking his way to the byeline and crossing to the far post, where Pell turned the ball into the side-netting from an acute angle

McMahon's record of late goals for the Pitmen almost continued on seventy-eight minutes as he got on the end of a cross from Hunter to hook the ball goalwards from ten yards out but Holmshaw made a regulation save

A minute later, McMahon was at it again as he was first to react to a fine through ball from Briggs, racing beyond the Gainsborough defence as the Blues appealed in vain for offside, but fired just wide of goal as Holmshaw raced out of goal to narrow the angle

Two more corner kicks followed as the Pitmen pressed for a late winner, with a third Briggs corner in succession aimed at the head of Marshall, who came off worst in a clash of heads with Smith on the six-yard line and required a lengthy amount of treatment from Don Drakeley

Drysdale's free-kick from the right was flicked towards goal by Teesdale on eighty-four minutes, requiring Holmshaw's intervention in pushing the ball over his crossbar for a Hednesford corner kick

From the resultant corner kick, Gainsborough struggled to clear their lines a Briggs cross as Hunter seized upon the ball, striking a firm effort back at goal from the edge of the penalty area that forced Holmshaw into a superb flying save down to his left to push the ball away

With a minute of normal time remaining, Briggs had a great chance to grab a crucial three points for the Pitmen as Briggs tricked his way into the Gainsborough penalty area with a slalom-like run, only to be denied by Trinity man of the match Holmshaw once more as he slightly overran the ball and allowed the goalkeeper to make a smothering save

Drysdale was taken off by the hosts in the final minute of the game as he appeared to have picked up a knock, with Ross Adams coming on in his place for the four minutes of added time

It had been a frustrating second half from the Pitmen, who felt that they had created enough good chances to take all three points against a hard-working Gainsoboruhg side that had been hanging on to their valuable point in the closing stages of the game. However, poor finishing and a superb display from Holmshaw meant that the hosts had to be content with a point, which does keep them ahead of Vauxhall Motors - beaten 4-2 by Droylsden - and just behind Alfreton Town, who drew 1-1 with Northwich Victoria. The Pitmen have a two-week break before mid-table Workington make a first-ever trip to Keys Park, with the Pitmen looking to continue their upturn in form and results with three more crucial points in their bid to avoid the drop 

Hednesford Town: Hateley, Drysdale ▆ (Adams 89), T. Marshall, Platt, Teesdale, Barrow ©, Brannan, Briggs, Dyer (McMahon 64), McSweeney, Hunter      Subs Unused: Beckett, Wright, Whittle


Gainsborough Trinity: Holmshaw, Wood (Parker 76), Burley, Ellis, Pell, Higgins, Trout, Sherlock, Graves (Smith 73), Mallon, Caudwell (Baker 73)      Subs Unused: Burbeary, Charles