Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Francis (4), Campion (15), (86), M. Robinson (68) (penalty)

Halesowen Town

Smith (45), Godwin (49)

(2) 4

(1) 2



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Darren Campion


Oxford City (H) 26.3.11

The Pitmen's incessant form continues unabated this evening as they make it eight wins in a row to brush aside the challenge of relegation-threatened Halesowen Town in tonight's derby match at Keys Park

Having extended their winning run to seven games on Saturday courtesy of a backs-to-the-wall performance at Cirencester Town on Saturday Hednesford manager Rob Smith made one change to his side from one that had started at the Coronium Stadium as youngster Alex Melbourne was replaced by on-loan James Ellison, meaning a shift in position for fellow loanee Kyle Haynes as he moved to right-back to deputise for Melbourne

Halesowen - sitting bottom of the table at the start of the play and with continuing rumours circulating regarding the club's future - had done little to improve their position at the weekend as they had drawn 0-0 at Bashley on Saturday. Yeltz manager Shaun Cunnington stuck with the same XI that had started in the New Forest, naming former Hednesford defender Keenen Meakin-Richards in the side as he returned to Keys Park

On a crisp evening in Staffordshire, the Pitmen sent a message of what was to come for the Yeltz in the second minute of the game as Darren Campion's inswinging corner kick was met by the head of Cheyenne Dunkley, whose rising header just cleared the crossbar from eight yards out

Two minutes later the hosts stole into the lead as Kyle Haynes won a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal, allowing Campion to strike a firm shot at goal that took a wicked deflection off skipper Liam Francis, with the defender's diverted shot beating Louis Connor in the Halesowen goal from three yards out. A somewhat fortuitous goal as Francis knew very little about it, but when you are in form these are the kind of goals that favour you

Ellison could have doubled the hosts' lead two minutes later, as he ran onto a pass from Haynes but could not direct the ball home as his angled drive hit the side netting from ten yards out

The on-loan striker was involved again in the eleventh minute of the game, as he flicked on across from Decio Gomes into the path of the lively Campion, who volleyed over with a wild first time shot from twelve yards out

The Pitmen had been totally dominant in the opening stages of the game and deservedly took a two-goal lead in the fifteenth minute of the game; Campion took a free-kick just outside the Halesowen penalty area, striking his initial shot straight into the Yeltz wall. The ball ran to Ellison, who played the ball back into Campion's path with a neat back-heel, allowing Campion time and space to strike an unstoppable left-footed effort beyond the reach of Connor and into the far corner of the net from twenty yards out. A superb strike from the former Birmingham City youngster

Nick Wellecomme went close to making it 3-0 before we had reached the twenty-minute mark as a Chris Clements corner kick was cleared to the striker by skipper Peter Folkes, with the in-form striker lifting his angled shot from fifteen yards out just over the crossbar

Connor was called upon to make a timely side to deny Dunkley midway through the first half, tipping over the defender's looping header with an acrobatic save after Campion's corner was headed goalwards by the former Crewe Alexandra youngster

Good approach play from the Pitmen on twenty-six minutes saw Hyanes and Jay Denny link up to send Wellecomme away down the right flank. His run to the byeline saw him skip past Adam Robinson and cross for Kyle Patterson, who had to stretch to reach the ball and could only head straight into the arms of Connor from eight yards out


 Having offered nothing as an attacking entity so far, Halesowen must adopt their first attempt at goal just after the half-hour mark as a long ball over the top from Connor was misjudged by Francis, allowing the ball to run behind him and into the path of Rory Curtis. The midfielder took a touch which took him away from goal, allowing Dan Crane to cover his near post and force the Halesowen man to strike an angled shot over the crossbar

Neat play in a confined area from the Pitmen on thirty-four minutes saw Haynes and Campion link up to play the ball into the path of Wellecomme, who did well to hold off the attentions of Josh Skidmore and lay the ball off to Denny on the edge of the penalty area, only for the combative midfielder to strike a firm shot just over the crossbar

Halesowen went close to gifting the Pitmen another goal on thirty-seven minutes as Campion made a drifting run inside from the left and crossed looking for Wellecomme; the ball drifted over the striker's head and ran into the path of Adam Robinson once more, whose attempted header back to Connor had a little too much on it and forced the goalkeeper into a smothering save to turn the ball away from goal and behind, thus stopping the ball from running into the net

Haynes was guilty of wasting another good opening for the hosts four minutes from half-time as he exchanged passes with Wellecomme before firing high and wide of goal from eighteen yards out

Despite being second-best for the whole of the first half, Halesowen reduced the deficit with the last chance of the first half as Adam Robinson's curling cross from the left was met by the head of big striker Mark Smith, who planted a firm header beyond the reach of Crane from close range to make it 2-1

This late Yeltz goal had taken the shine off what had been a highly impressive and commanding display from the hosts so far, showing their full array of talent from all parts of the team and re-affirming the belief that they could well be in the hunt for the play-offs if their form continues deep into April

Looking to re-establish their two-goal advantage at the start of the second half, the Pitmen had two good chances within three minutes of the restart; Haynes dragged a chance wide of goal on forty-six minutes after good play from Clements had played him into the right-hand side of the penalty area before the Cheltenham Town loanee pulled his effort wide of the near post with a wild attempt from fifteen yards out

A minute later, a flying run and cross from Haynes was met by the head of Ellison, who rose above Skidmore to head the ball a foot or so over Connor's crossbar from ten yards out

Dunkley was alert to some good play from the lanky Smith, who turned past Francis with a clever change of direction on forty-nine minutes and drove the ball across the face of goal towards Anthony Bruce, only for Dunkley to intercept the cross and turn it behind for a corner-kick at his near post

From Meakin-Richards' resultant corner kick, Chris Godwin rose highest to meet the ball in the six-yard box and looped the ball into the net, despite Clements' best attempts to clear the ball on the line. Having been so dominant at 2-0, it would have seemed unlikely that the hosts would let such an advantage slip, but let it slip they had through a combination of slack defending and complacency

Wellecomme should have put the Pitmen back ahead on fifty-three minutes as a delightful ball over the top from Francis found the striker in on goal behind the Yeltz defence. He attempted to dink the ball over the onrushing Connor but found the stopper equal to his effort before Wellecomme tamely turned the ball wide from the rebound

Haynes was the first player in the evening to be booked as he was yellow-carded on fifty-six minutes for chasing down Folkes and bringing the Yeltz skipper down in full flight

Two minutes later, a visibly frustrated Smith made a double attacking change for the hosts as the ineffective Patterson was replaced by Marvin Robinson and on-loan Ellison came off in favour of Ross Davidson

Davidson was quickly into the action for the Pitmen as he forced Connor into a diving save down by his near post on sixty-one minutes; Campion did well to make space down the left before pulling the ball back to Davidson on the edge of the Halesowen penalty area, with the substitute striking a low shot that Connor saved well down to his right, holding it before Marvin Robinson could pick up any scraps

Halesowen nearly completed a remarkable turnaround in the game four minutes later, as the ball was played into the path of Gareth Davies who neatly turned past Campion's challenge to work some space for himself inside the Hednesford penalty area, striking a firm rising shot that came back off the crossbar with Crane well beaten

Midway through the second half, good play from Smith saw him hold the ball up well on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area and lay the ball off to Meakin-Richards, who saw his shot blocked by Dunkley. The ball ran to Bruce, whose follow-up shot from eighteen yards out was never a real threat to Crane's goal

The game swung back the Pitmen's way on sixty-eight minutes as they were awarded a penalty kick; former Halesowen man Denny crossed from the right and found the head of Marvin Robinson, who saw his goalbound effort brilliantly saved by Connor to his left the ball ran to Dunkley who was then brought down by Adam Robinson inside the six-yard box. The referee had no doubt that it was a penalty kick and pointed to the spot despite the protestations of the furious Halesowen players, with Smith and Adam Robinson both booked for dissent as they argued their case

Marvin Robinson stepped up to take the spot-kick and was not to be put off by Connor's goal line antics, firing beyond the reach of the stopper to his right and giving the Pitmen the lead once more

Smith had to improvise with an effort with the outside of his boot on seventy-four minutes to turn a Davies through ball towards goal, under pressure from Francis. Crane, however, was on hand to make the save with a stop low to his right

Francis headed over the crossbar for the Pitmen two minutes later as Clements picked out his skipper from a corner kick out on the left, only for the former Coventry City youngster to get a little too much on his effort and head over Connor's woodwork

There was still plenty of drama to come, however, as the Pitmen were reduced to ten men with then minutes of an absorbing local derby remaining. A through ball from Bruce in midfield found Smith in behind a ragged-looking Hednesford defence, with Gomes doing his best to get back and challenge the striker. The Portuguese full-back mistimed his attempted tackle on the striker and brought him down on the edge of the penalty area, thus stopping a clear goalscoring attempt and was shown a straight red card

Bruce took the resultant free-kick from just eighteen yards out, but could not keep the ball down and lifted his effort over the Hednesford war but also over Crane's crossbar

Despite being a man down, the Pitmen still pushed forwards in search of a killer fourth goal. On eighty-two minutes a long, searching free-kick from Francis on the halfway line cleared the Halesowen defence and fell into the path of Marvin Robinson, only for the ball to run away from the substitute before he could toe-poke the ball past Connor from six yards out

The Pitmen finally put the game to bed two minutes later with a fourth goal to kill off the Halesowen threat; Haynes did well to pull the ball back from the right-wing byeline and looked to find Marvin Robinson in the six-yard box, only for Connor to get to the ball first and palm it away from goal. The ball dropped to Campion at the far post, who volleyed the ball first-time back across goal and into the far corner of the net for his second goal of the evening. There was a moment of confusion before the goal was given, however, as the assistant on the main stand side had initially flagged for offside against Haynes before the cross came in, but was over-ruled by the referee after a discussion between the two men in black

With two minutes remaining, Clements went on a mazy run from twenty-five yards out as he jinked his way past three Halesowen challenges and into the penalty area before seeing his shot at goal deflected behind for a corner by Godwin

It had been a hugely entertaining evening for most of the 423-strong crowd to enjoy, with six goals, a red card, a comeback from the visitors and ultimately the Pitmen extending their superb winning run to eight games. The sky-high confidence of Smith's side will be tested once more at the weekend when they play host to mid-table Oxford City at Keys Park, with a win potentially moving them up into second place in the table if results go their way. Don't say it too loudly, but if they were to continue a run like this for the remainder of the season, a shot at the title may still be on

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes ▆ (80), Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Haynes , Patterson (M. Robinson 58), Wellecomme (Bailey 81), Clements, Ellison (Davidson 58)      Sub Unused: Melbourne, Keenan

Halesowen Town: Connor, Adams, A. Robinson , Godwin, Skidmore, Davies, Curtis, Folkes ©, Smith , Meakin-Richards (Mills 83), Bruce       Subs Unused: Flower, Jarrett, Richards, Chambaud