6.2.2010

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Barnett (25), Adkins (90) 

Halesowen Town

Blenkinsopp (11), Turner (28)

(1) 2

(2) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

504

Cheyenne Dunkley

W D D W L D L L W D

Clevedon Town (A) 13.2.10

Bernard McNally returned to Keys Park as the club's new permanent manager to oversee a second 2-2 draw of the season against an in-form and dangerous Halesowen Town in today's local derby

McNally - who had returned to the club to take the reigns from former manager Simon Line after missing out on the job to the former Market Drayton man earlier in the season - immediately stamped his mark on the side with a number of changes to the side from the one that had beaten Evesham United two weeks previously; Aaron Gibson returned to left-back in place of Zak Martin, who moved into midfield ahead of Elliott Durrell. The popular Decio Gomes had returned to the club and made his second Hednesford debut this season in place of Grant Goodhead, whilst Darren Alexander filled in at number eight after the departure of Steve Jagielka. Sean Platt was given the captain's armband by McNally after relieving Ross Dyer of his duties. The final notable addition was the signing of Dorryll Profiitt from UniBond Premier League side Buxton, who was named amongst the substitutes

Halesowen were enjoying a fine season to date and sat just outside of the play-off places at the start of play and could move into the top five if results went their way today. Manager Matt Clarke included new signings Jimmy Turner and former Hednesford skipper Carl Palmer in his side for today's game, having signed the pair recently from AFC Telford United and defunct King's Lynn respectively. Former Pitman Alex Cowley - who had a brief spell at Keys Park last term - was named in the Yeltz starting XI at right-back

The away side, backed by a good away following, started much the brighter, keen to extend their unbeaten recent run. On ten minutes, David Blenkinsopp picked up a loose ball that had been spilt by Stuart Brock and set up former Tamworth man Scott Rickards, who saw his shot cleared off the line acrobatically by Gomes

Blenkinsopp was involved again a minute later, with the Yeltz taking a deserved lead in the game. Brock again made a hash of the shot, this time from former Hednesford captain Palmer, allowing Blenkinsopp to force the ball home from close range after arriving before the Hednesford defenders

Palmer again managed to get in a shot on nineteen minutes, hitting a shot from the edge of the area that Brock this time managed to field well

The Pitmen responded with Gibson firing straight at Halesowen keeper Nick Bussey after Tyrone Barnett had unselfishly laid the ball into his path on twenty minutes

Hednesford almost grabbed the equaliser on twenty-four minutes with Barnett setting up Martin, but Bussey was equal to the youngster's angled drive and managed to keep the ball out before Jimmy Turner hacked the ball away

A minute later, the hosts finally got back on level terms; Martin's throw into the area caused panic in the Halesowen ranks, allowing Barnett to stab the ball past Bussey from inside the six-yard box for goal number ten of the season

In a topsy-turvy first half, the Pitmen were only on level terms for three minutes, as the in-form Yeltz went back in front on twenty-eight minutes. A free-kick from Steph Morley found Turner lurking at the far post, with the new signing firing home on his debut to put Halesowen 2-1 up

Rickards almost put Halesowen out of sight on thirty-two minutes, hitting a swerving free-kick that Brock held at the second attempt

Barnett went within a matter of inches of giving Hednesford a second goal three minutes later, but somehow managed to miss Sam Adkins' corner kick as he rose to meet it unmarked

McNally's half time pep talk galvanised the Pitmen, as they forced Halesowen back into their own half in search of a leveller. Barnett was the home side's chief threat, especially in the air, as he headed an early chance wide of goal after being set up by Gibson

Alexander, making his first start since his return to Keys Park, was also guilty of heading wide of goal on fifty minutes, getting up highest to meet Martin's cross but failed to test Bussey

The Yeltz were content to catch the Pitmen on the counter-attack, using their dangerous front men as targets. Skipper Liam Daly combined with Morley on the hour to help the ball into the path of Palmer, but the burly midfielder missed with a wild shot that flew high over the crossbar

Martin's involvement in the game pretty much ended there, as McNally threw on his ace in the pack Durrell in an attempt to force an equaliser

Durrell was straight into the action, taking the ball twenty yards into the Halesowen half before firing wide of goal with a typically fierce strike

Dyer, clearly in need of a goal to boost his confidence after a difficult spell in front of goal, nearly got the strike he craved on sixty-four minutes, driving into the Halesowen area with typical gusto, but fired a couple of yards wide of the near post

it was end to end stuff in the final twenty minutes, with Rickards crossing for the league's top scorer Stefan Moore, who had been kept quiet all afternoon by the outstanding Cheyenne Dunkley. On this occasion, however, he failed to make contact with the ball, allowing it to drop harmlessly out of play

Dyer's goalless afternoon was brought to a halt on seventy-three minutes as McNally opted to give the powerful Proffitt a late-run out up front with a debut from the bench in place of the former skipper

Veteran striker Tony Thorpe - on as a substitute in place of Blenkinsopp - almost sealed it for the away side sixty seconds later, improvising with a lob over Brock that dipped a yard wide of Brock's post

For the Pitmen, Durrell looked the most likely threat in the latter stages with his dangerous set-pieces. One particular free-kick had Bussey scrambling across his goal, but fortunately for the Yeltz stopper, it was wide of goal

In a frantic final couple of minutes, the Pitmen went all out in search of a winner, winning a free-kick twenty yards out. Durrell's shot was half-cleared, dropping to Adkins on the edge of the area. His low shot took at least two big deflections before beating Bussey and sealing a hard-earned point for the home side in the final minute of the game

McNally will have learnt plenty about his squad today and many will expect some comings and goings in the next week or two as the former West Brom man looks to mould a squad in his own form. Next Saturday sees the Pitmen make the trip down the M5 to face relegation-threatened Clevedon Town at the Hand Stadium

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt © , Gibson , Bailey, Dunkley, Gomes, Martin (Durrell 57), Alexander, Barnett, Dyer (Proffitt 73), Adkins ▆       Subs Unused: Goodhead, Chapman, Flynn

Halesowen Town: Bussey, Cowley (Connor 85), Morley, Turner , Daly ©, Denny, Palmer , Rickards, Moore, Blenkinsopp (Thorpe 73), Edwards     Subs Unused: Clarke, Griffiths, Eze