6.12.2008

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Durrell (47), Hall (72)

Guiseley

Denney (59), Harvey (65) (OG)

(0) 2

(0) 2

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Nantwich Town (H) 16.12.08

The UniBond Premier's top two had to be content with a share of the spoils this afternoon, as Hednesford and Guiseley played out an entertaining draw at Keys Park

 

 Manager Dean Edwards, looking to rectify things after a poor performance against FC United of Manchester last week, brought young playmaker Elliott Durrell back into the starting line-up after seeing Anthony Robinson depart this week with only one game under his belt. He could also call upon Tom Marshall again, restoring the tall stopper in defence after releasing veteran Scott Stamps during the week. In midfield, Mark Briggs replaced Chad Sheppard in a like-for-like swap

Guiseley had moved above early pace-setters Eastwood Town and Ilkeston Town to sit just below the Pitmen in the table and only two points behind their hosts ahead of today's game, although form had been patchy of late. Manager Steve Kittrick made one change to the side that had drawn at home with Nanwtich Town last weekend as James Hanson replaced Mark Whitehouse up front

It looked from the balance of play in the opening exchanges that neither side was willing to give a lot away, as neither attack really threatened. The Pitmen were first to launch an attack, which saw Guiseley's Polish goalkeeper Piotr Skiba pick up a nasty-looking head injury after clashing with a team-mate as he went to claim a high ball. After lengthy treatment over two spells, Skiba carried on with a bandage on his head

Very few chances came the way of the home side's strike force, with Tyrone Barnett looking particularly off-colour in the first period. Ross Dyer created a wonderful opportunity midway through the half by pulling the ball back after a mazy run down the right, but the ball was out of reach of Barnett and skipper Ross Draper, who had made a run forward

Guiseley had set their stall out early on in the game with their formation; a strong, solid outfit who it is clear to see why they have done well this term. Defender Danny Ellis was impressive at the back for the away side, as they shackled the top-scoring duo of Dyer and Barnett well

If the first period had been a bit of a let-down, the second half was anything but, as the Pitmen were quickly out of the blocks after the restart. Two minutes in, a flick header from Barnett was perfectly placed for the onrushing Durrell, who kept his composure before slotting confidently past Skiba

The Pitmen were on top, playing to feet in an attempt to carve open Guiseley for a second killer goal. Dyer flashed a shot well wide of goal before Marshall just failed to get his head on a Mark Briggs corner curled to the back post

Guiseley, despite showing plenty of ability on the ball, had offered very little in the way of an attacking threat since the second half had kicked off. Kittrick made a bold substitution in an attempt to get back in the game on fifty-eight minutes, bringing on Phil Denney and Dave Brown for Alex Callery and Hanson

The away side's bold changes bore instant success as barely one minute after making the change, Guiseley were level with both of the replacements involved. Brown took the ball down the right-hand side, teasing Marshall with his skill before playing the ball across the face of goal to find Denney unmarked at the back post, who fired past Stuart Brock in the Hednesford goal

Stung by the leveller, the home side almost had an immediate response through Draper, who fired wildly over after being set up twelve yards out in front of goal

If the hosts felt they had allowed Guiseley back into the game too easily, they would have been fuming at gifting them the lead six minutes later. Denney and Brown were causing chaos in the ranks with their movement and speed, and another pacey Brown attack looked to have been snuffed out by Danny Harvey's interception, However, to Harvey's horror, and to onrushing keeper Brock, he merely diverted the ball into his own net, under pressure from Brown

It was cruel on the Pitmen, who had played well but had been punished for a lack of focus at the back. Barnett's towering header failed to produce a reply as the hosts went in search of an equaliser of their own

With eighteen minutes remaining, the growing pressure on the Guiseley goal finally told. Skiba, who had not looked convincing since picking up his head injury, was at fault for the goal, as the impressive Sam Hall's corner kick from the left swung in towards goal. Under pressure from left-back Adam Burley, Skiba managed to get something on the ball but succeeded in fumbling the ball over the line before booting it away. The assistant referee on the Main Stand side was alert to Skiba's fumble and correctly awarded the goal

Despite over fifteen minutes of play left, there was a feeling that both sides had cancelled each other out, and that a draw was a fair result on reflection. Another wild effort from Draper was the best the Pitmen could muster in the final ten minutes, with Denney testing Brock's reflexes late on

With Eastwood Town looming ominously in fourth place after today's results, both sides must look to end their recent sticky patches if they are to continue to challenge at the top of the table. A free week for the Pitmen sees them regroup once more and take a break from league action next Saturday when they host league rivals Nantwich Town in the first round of the F.A. Trophy

Hednesford Town: Brock, Hall, Burley, Gomes, Harvey, Marshall, Briggs, Durrell, Barnett, Dyer, Draper ©       Sub Unused: Maguire, Sheppard, Platt, Harbutt 

Guiseley: Skiba, Merris, Lloyd, Burton, Cotterill, Ellis ©, Crossley, Bolder, Callery (Brown 58), Muller, Hanson (Denney 58)       Subs Unused: Pugh, Tiana, Whitehouse

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