Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Piearce (63), (77), Ware (69)

Havant & Waterlooville

(0) 3

(0) 0



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Steve Piearce


Stafford Rangers (A) 17.9.02

Hednesford got themselves back to winning ways with a fine second-half attacking performance to down out-of-sorts Havant & Waterlooville at Keys Park


Two goalless draws against Weymouth and Hinckley United had checked the Pitmen's early progress in the Southern Premier League in the past week, leaving them fifth in the table at the start of this afternoon's play. Manager Ian Painter made one change to the side that had started in midweek against Hinckley - the fit-again Stuart Lake returned to the line-up in place of Derek Rae in midfield to make his first appearance of the season. Teenager Ashley Williams was included amongst the substitutes for the first time in three games


Havant's start to the season had been one of inconsistency, with Liam Daish's side struggling to get their season started with only one win from their first eight games. Chippenham Town had defeated the Hawks 3-1 in midweek to leave them in eighteenth place in the table and without a win in three games. Daish named himself in an experienced line-up alongside former Chelsea and Sunderland man Gareth Hall, also including 40-year-old non-league great David Leworthy amongst the substitutes. Daish was, however, without the services of key men Shaun Gale, James Taylor and Warren Haughton, leaving Jamie O'Rourke to plough a lone furrow up front against the Pitmen's experienced back line


It was a sunny day in South Staffordshire, with the hosts getting off to the more assertive start; Carl Adams' fourth-minute corner was headed wide of goal by Darren Simkin after the full-back had stolen in unmarked at the far post to reach the deeply-hit corner kick


Five minutes later, neat interplay from strike partners Mark Jones and Steve Piearce saw the pair link up well on the edge of the Havant penalty area, only for the ball to be nicked off the boot of Piearce by Hall at the crucial moment


Adams was to go close to breaking the deadlock in the eleventh minute, as wing wizardry from Shaun Wray saw him shimmy his way past youngster Louis Savage and send over a cross to midfield man Adams, whose sidefooted effort cannoned back off the foot of Aaron Kerr's right-hand post and away from goal


Mark Gayle was called into action for the first time in the afternoon on thirteen minutes, making a fine save to deny Jamie Ford from close-range after the forward had beaten the Hednesford offside trap to get in behind the defence


Back came the Pitmen, with Simkin's powerful low shot from a free-kick sailing just wide of Kerr's goal on fifteen minutes. From the resultant corner, Jones sent over a cross towards Paul Ware, who horribly skewed his shot wide of goal from an excellent position twelve yards out


A chance for veteran Hall was pulled up by a linesman's flag two minutes later, as Gayle palmed a Savage effort straight into the path of Hall, whose header clipped the post but would not have counted due to an earlier foul on the keeper by the defender


Jones did well to get on the end of another fine solo run from Wray on twenty-six minutes but put his effort wide of goal as he stretched to meet the winger's low cross


Wray was at it again three minutes later, sending over a deep cross for Piearce this time, with the former Wolves man heading into the Hednesford end with a weak downward header


A clever run from Paul Wood saw him take the ball to the byeline and pull a cross into the Hednesford penalty area on thirty-three minutes, but a lack of target man was to be Havant's undoing once more as they struggled without the availability of Taylor as Chris Brindley unceremoniously hacked the ball away from his own goal


A quick break from the Pitmen a couple of minutes before the break saw the men in white flood forwards as Brindley found himself in space out on the right. With four players in the six-yard box to pick out, Brindley's cross was headed over by Piearce when he really should have done better from a good position


Havant were to have a great chance to open the scoring just five minutes into the restart, as a free-kick from the left fell at the feet of Bobby Howe, who struck his shot over the crossbar from a great position just ten yards out. A let-off for the hosts


The Pitmen made their first change of the game a minute later, with youngster Williams coming on in place of Wray


Four minutes later, Brindley thought he had added to his season's tally as he volleyed a deep cross from Lake home at the far post, only to be denied by an earlier offside call against lake before he sent over his cross


The Pitmen had cut a frustrated team up this point, but finally took one of the chances that came their way in the sixty-third minute; a pass towards Daish from Brett Poate was gleefully intercepted by Williams, who fed Simkin down the right wing. Simkin's deep cross found the head of Piearce at the far post, with the striker heading firmly past Kerr for his first goal for the club


The Pitmen went close to adding an immediate second goal with their next attack, as an attempted clearance from Daish saw the player/manager miss the ball completely and allow Jones in on goal. Jones spared the former Birmingham man's blushes by firing into the side netting from a tight angle, ten yards from goal


With their tails well and truly up now, the Pitmen did indeed double their lead on sixty-nine minutes with a delightful second goal from Ware; Simkin's long, hopeful ball forwards caught the Hawks' defence out, allowing Ware to steady himself and lob the advancing Kerr from the edge of the penalty area


Simpson was introduced to proceedings with nineteen minutes remaining, replacing Lake in defensive midfield after Lake had started to tire following his return to first-team action


The Pitmen wrapped up all three points with a killer third goal on seventy-seven minutes. Again, Havant did themselves no favours with more defensive errors, as Neil Champion was caught dithering on the ball by Ware, who won the ball off him on the edge of the Havant penalty area. Kerr did well to save Ware's initial shot and also managed to get a hand on Piearce's follow-up but could do nothing to stop the striker tapping home at the third attempt from close range


With the game now won, Painter could afford to take off Piearce's strike partner Jones before the game kicked off again, bringing on Stewart Airdrie in his place


The Pitmen saw the remainder of the game out with ease to record a well-deserved three points which moves them into the top four as a result. Painter's men are well-equipped to go to deadly rivals Stafford Rangers on Tuesday night with plenty of confidence as they go to Marston Road with one eye on top spot in the Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Simkin, Lucas ©, Robinson, Brindley, Lake (Simpson 71), Wray (Williams 50), Ware, Piearce, Jones (Airdrie 77), Adams      Subs Unused: Ryder, Jenkins


Havant & Waterlooville: Kerr, Savage (Leworthy 72), Poate, Champion, Hall, Daish, Wood, Davis, Howe, O'Rourke, Ford (Blake 45)       Subs Unused: Ferrett, Hale, May