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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hastings United

Ryall (27), Remy (60)

Hednesford Town

(1) 2

(0) 0



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Shaun Wray


Grantham Town (H) 2.9.02

A poor attacking showing condemned the Pitmen to their first defeat of the Dr. Martens Premier League season at Hastings United's Pilot Field this afternoon


Manager Ian Painter kept faith in the eleven that beat Moor Green in a tight game on Monday night, but was able to call upon Paul Ware for the first time this season after the former Stoke City man was passed fit to be involved for the first time since pre-season as he looked to extend their unbeaten run to five games


Newly-promoted United - who had changed their name from Hastings Town during the summer months - had started the season in inconsistent form, with only one win so far from four games against Hinckley United. This left them down in fifteenth place in the table ahead of today's game, with manager George Wakeling was without key men Steve Yates and Duncan McArthur to call upon for this afternoon's encounter


On a bright, sunny August day on the south coast, Hednesford started with real purpose and pushed Hastings back into their own half in the first fifteen minutes. Kevin Francis had the first chance of the game on eight minutes, firing over the crossbar after lifting his shot high into the crowd from fifteen yards out


Two minutes later, strike partner Mark Jones made a clever run in behind the Hastings defence and fired just wide of goal with a shot on the run as the Pitmen continued to press


In the twelfth minute, Wayne Simpson played a lovely ball down the line to Shaun Wray, whose tantalising cross was missed by everyone as it flew across the face of goal. A shame, as Hastings keeper Stuart King never moved off his line to collect it


A downward header from Francis found Jones in the penalty area on twenty minutes, but good defending from the experienced Tony Burt denied Jones a clear shot on goal and the ball was cleared


A minute later, Carl Adams clipped in a free-kick from the wide on the left wing and found the head of Chris Brindley, whose miscued effort flew high over the crossbar from eight yards out


 Somewhat against the run of play, Hastings took the lead on twenty-seven minutes. A needlessly given away free kick found the head of Stuart Myall at the far post, and he glanced the ball past Gayle to give the home side the lead they barely deserved


 Despite the setback, the Pitmen continued to carve out chances as they chased a way back into the game. Simpson had a goal disallowed for a suspicious offside decision two minutes later, as he turned an Adams free-kick home, only to be denied by a late offside flag. In truth, Simpson was at least level at the point of the free-kick, leaving the Pitmen feeling a little aggrieved at the disallowed goal


Derek Rae did well to win the ball back from Landry Zahana-Oni in midfield on thirty-three minutes and played Jones through on goal, only for the former Wolves man to dither on his shot and allow Adam Flanagan to take the ball off him 


Adams was also guilty of firing wide after cleverly being set up by Jones on forty minutes, driving his low shot well wide of goal after Jones had played a disguised pass into the feet of the midfielder


The second half followed the theme of the first in many ways, with the Pitmen making all of the running and creating chances but lacking that spark in the final third that they had found in the last few games. Burt did well to tackle Jones on the edge of the penalty area as the striker threatened to wriggle past him following a Rae pass on fifty-two minutes


The visitors were happy to catch the Pitmen on the counter-attack, using their pace to keep the leggy Hednesford defence on it's toes. On fifty-seven minutes, Myall's long, rangy ball caught out the Pitmen's defence and slipped Danny Simmonds in, only for Gayle to deny the striker with a smothering stop


However, Gayle was to blot his copybook on the hour mark as he gifted Hastings a killer second goal. A hopeful effort from Simmonds was spilled by the Hednesford stopper, allowing Ellis Remy the simple job of rolling the ball into the open goal after he followed the shot up


Painter had seen enough from his misfiring side and made a triple change on sixty-five minutes with the introductions of Ashley Williams, Ware and Steve Piearce for Simpson, Rae and Jones


The chances continued to come for the visitors, with Brindley heading an Adams free-kick wide of the far post on sixty-nine minutes, followed a minute later with Piearce heading over the crossbar from a chipped cross from Wray


With thirteen minutes remaining, Ware struck a powerful effort from just outside the penalty area that was well held by King


Hastings went close to extending their lead on eighty minutes through Remy once more, but the striker lifted his shot over the crossbar from twelve yards out


All in all, a frustrating afternoon for the Pitmen as they lose their unbeaten record at the fifth attempt. Monday night offers Painter's side the ideal opportunity to get back on track as they take on fellow high-flyers Grantham Town at Keys Park, looking to continue their 100% record at home so far this term


Hastings United: King, Osborne, Hegley, Playford, Burt, Flanagan (Cornwall 59), Myall, Zahana-Oni, Honey (Graham 85), Simmonds, Remy     Subs Unused: Penfold, Webb, Simms


Hednesford Town: Gayle, Simkin, Lucas ©, Robinson, Brindley, Simpson (Williams 65), Wray, Rae (Ware 65), Francis, Jones (Piearce 65), Airdrie   Subs Unused: Ryder, Jenkins

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