UniBond Northern Premier League


Hanson (9) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

R. Dyer (83)

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Ross Dyer


Ashton United (H) 12.4.08

The Pitmen came away from Nethermoor feeling slightly aggrieved that they had not taken all three points off play-off contenders Guiseley this afternoon after a superb second-half performance


Manager Phil Starbuck had to deal with two enforced changes to his side from the one that had been frustrated by Whitby Town on Monday night, with Ross Adams missing out for the first time this season due to injury and Rob Davies unavailable due to attending a funeral. Mario Pedro replaced Davies in midfield and Paul Robinson came in for Adams in the centre of defence. There were two new names amongst the substitutes as youngsters Morgan Hurley and Ben Harbutt were both brought into the first-team picture for the first time

Guiseley were still chasing a top-five place with only four games remaining this term and were keen to complete a quickfire double over the Pitmen after demolishing their visitors at Keys Park last month. Manager Steve Kittrick made two changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 at fellow high-flyers Fleetwood Town last weekend as Dave Merris and James Cotterill returned to the side in place of Nathan Hay and Sean Taylforth

The visitors made a good start to the game on a cold day in West Yorkshire with Pedro's superb run down the left-wing in the third minute seeing him drift past two challenges before lifting his shot over the crossbar

Chad Sheppard's inswinging corner kick two minutes later was met by a full-blooded header from the returning Robinson at the near post, only for the ball to sail over the crossbar and into the Hednesfors supporters gathered behind Piotr Skiba's goal

Despite their positive start to the game, the Pitmen found themselves a goal down in the ninth minute as Guiseley were awarded a penalty kick. A through ball from captain Richard Dunning found striker James Hanson one on one with goalkeeper Paul Evans, with the pair coming together just inside the area. It looked more like a genuine clash rather than a foul, but referee Mr Newman saw it differently and after what seemed an age, gave the home side a penalty. Despite protests from players and fans, Hanson stepped up to send Evans the wrong way from the spot and give the Lions the lead with his twentieth goal of the season

Guiseley looked the more likely to grab themselves another goal as the Pitmen struggled to get themselves back into contention; Daniel McLeod was dispossessed by Aron Wilford in the thirteenth minute down the right and provided strike partner Hanson with another chance, only for the young striker to waste a good opening by firing well wide of goal with an angled shot

Five minutes later, Danny Ellis saw the ball drop at his feet following a free-kick from Cotterill out on the left, only for the bouncing ball to not sit favourably for the defender and allow Ben Brown to get a block tackle in from just four yards out

Hanson was proving to be a real thorn in the Pitmen's side once more, underlining his reputation as one of the best young strikers at this level. He got on the end of a cross from Dunning in the twentieth minute after getting goal side of Tom Marshall but headed straight into the grateful arms of Evans

Ellis made a charging run deep into the Hednesford third of the pitch midway through the half, beating McLeod before pulling the ball back into the penalty area, but there was no Guiseley player on the end of the ball and Sheppard cleared

Ben Brown's long lump up field on twenty-eight minutes was headed on by Ross Dyer into the path of Maguire, who did well to take a couple of touches on the corner of the Guiseley penalty area before clipping a cross to the far post, where Alan Nagington dived in to head just wide of the post from six yards out

Matthew Noble was allowed time and space just inside the Hednesford penalty area on the half-hour mark, turning and unleashing a shot that Evans was equal to once more with a regulation save

The big, strong Guiseley central defence had given Nagington and Ross Dyer very little to work off thus far, whilst Pedro had also found Merris a tough opponent out on the flank. Maguire had more joy up against Ellis on thirty-four minutes as he neatly turned past the full-back and crossed for Wayne Dyer, only for the midfielder's flying volley to clear Skiba's crossbar from fifteen yards out

Good interplay between Jonathan Fernandez and Dunning three minutes later opened up the Hednesford defence once more, only for Dunning to get his angles wrong with a wild effort wide of goal

A couple of minutes before the half-time break,  Sheppard sent over a free-kick from the right-wing in Ross Dyer's direction, only for a desperate last-ditch challenge from Simon Sturdy denying Hednesford's top scorer a certain goal as he stooped to head home at the near post

There had been plenty of spirit in the Pitmen's play during the first period but very little in the way of overall quality as Guiseley had held their mid-table opponents at arm's length in the main

The hosts fired in another warning shot at goal within two minutes of the restart as Wilford's persistence saw him come away with the ball in a clash with Robinson and slipped the ball past Marshall to Hanson, only for the ball to get caught under between his legs and allowed Ben Brown to hack the ball clear

Nagington finally evaded the attentions of Cotterill on fifty-two minutes, firing in a shot from the edge of the area that was blocked by Ellis, with the ball eventually running to Pedro. His follow-up shot was also blocked as it headed towards goal as Cotterill recovered well to deflect the winger's shot away from goal

Sheppard was guilty of a poor miss five minutes later, firing well over after being teed up by Ross Dyer on the edge of the Guiseley area when he should have taken a touch to steady himself

Pedro could have added to his impressive goal tally for the season with a clever lob on the hour mark, seizing upon a loose ball before attempting to beat Skiba with a long-range effort that just cleared the crossbar from nearly thirty yards out

David Brown, who had been so impressive as a substitute in the previous two games, made another appearance from the bench on sixty-five minutes as he replaced Maguire down the left-wing

Robinson headed tamely wide of goal two minutes later after Pedro had recycled a Sheppard corner cleared as far as the winger out on the right flank ad sung it back into the danger zone

On sixty-nine minutes, a fine piece of individual play from the excellent Ross Dyer saw him shimmy his way past both Ellis and Sturdy before playing Nagington into space behind Cotterill, only for Nagington's first-time shot to end up in the hands of former Ossett Town man Skiba

Despite the pressure building on the Guiseley goal, there was always a chance that the extra quality the hosts had up front could result in a goal. With fifteen minutes remaining, they almost put the Pitmen out of the game when Hanson outmuscled McLeod with the pair chasing down a long ball forwards and fired narrowly wide with a low drive across goal

Three minutes later, a quick break from the home side involving Dunning and Fernandez saw Wilford played clean through on goal, only for a late offside flag to pull the striker back after he had moved too soon

Substitute Brown was guilty of a poor miss with ten minutes of the game remaining, blazing over from an excellent position twelve yards out. At this point, some of the Hednesford supporters who had made the journey up to Nethermoor thought it may not be the Pitmen's day

 However, the Pitmen got the goal they had deserved on the balance of play in the second half with seven minutes left. Sheppard's lofted ball into the Guiseley penalty area found Ross Dyer, whose powerful shot was pushed away from goal by Skiba. The ball bobbled in front of the goal, with Dyer first to react to turn the ball home from close-range, despite the attentions of the recovering Skiba and Merris

The Pitmen suddenly sensed a turnaround in the game and went in search of an unlikely winning goal with what remained in the game. Ross Dyer was given a brief sight at goal on eighty-five minutes as he got the better of Sturdy, only to fire well wide from an angle


Sheppard also had a late sight at goal with only two minutes remaining but was also off target as he slipped at the crucial moment when letting fly from twenty-five yards out


The Pitmen can take heart from a tremendous battling second-half display and a well-earned point against a side who will be challenging for one of the top five places at the end of the month. Starbuck's side return to Keys Park on Saturday as face Ashton United, looking to avenge the Robins' 2-1 win over them at Hurst Cross in September

Guiseley: Skiba, Ellis, Merris, Crooks (Dunne 70), Cotterill , Sturdy, Noble (Camfield 87), Dunning ©, Hanson, Wilford (Hay 75), Fernandez        Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Evans, McLeod, B. Brown, Sheppard, Marshall ©, Robinson, Pedro, W. Dyer, R. Dyer, Nagington (Hurley 80), Maguire (D. Brown 65)      Sub Unused: Harbutt

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