5.2.2011

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Patterson (14) (penalty), Denny (51)

Hemel Hempstead Town

(1) 2

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

277

Kyle Patterson

W W L L W L W W W W

Cambridge City (A) 12.2.11

The Pitmen shot to the top of the Zamaretto League's form table this evening as they turned in a regulation win over struggling Hemel Hempstead Town this afternoon at Keys Park

With three straight wins chalked up, without conceding a goal in the process, Hednesford were confident of continuing their recent good form. Manager Rob Smith gave Alex Melbourne his first start for the club after making his debut as a substitute in Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Bashley. He also gave a debut to Southport forward Liam Blakeman after snapping up the playmaker on a month's loan from the Blue Square Bet Premier club - he replaced Nick Wellecomme, who appeared amongst the substitutes

Hemel - sitting in seventeenth place at the start of play - were in the midst of a dreadful run of form, having lost their last four games. Under pressure manager Colin Payne made one change to the side that had started in their 3-0 defeat at Salisbury City in midweek as Jamie Gilbert replaced Sonny French in midfield

Hemel started well, as Hednesford were slow to make inroads into the visitors' defence. Danny May gave the Pitmen a warning on six minutes, firing across Dan Crane's goal with a cross-shot that gave another poor Keys Park crowd a moment to worry about

The home side battled back, and after a Marvin Robinson header flashed across the face of Hemel's goal on ten minutes, the Pitmen were awarded a penalty kick. It was Robinson who was involved again, as Jay Denny's quickly-taken free-kick set Robinson away from the visitors' defence. Hemel keeper Mark Osbourn rushed out to meet the burly striker but only succeeded in colliding with Robinson just inside the area as the former Derby County man attempted to dart past him. Kyle Patterson stepped up to take the spot-kick, firing confidently down the centre of the goal to give the Pitmen the lead

The goal lifted Hednesford, with Hemel struggling for a spell to escape their own half. Darren Campion could have added a quickfire second goal on sixteen minutes, gambling at the far post in meeting a Melbourne cross, but volleying wide of Osbourn's goal

Cheyenne Dunkley thought he had put the Pitmen two up midway through the first half, making a late run into the area to meet Campion's corner and bundle the ball into the net from close range. However, the referee spotted that Dunkley had pushed the ball into the net with his hand and booked the teenager after disallowing the goal

There had been very little in the way of an attacking threat from Hemel at the other end, with Crane enjoying one of his easiest games in a Hednesford shirt to date. A great block tackle from Dunkley denied May on the edge of the Pitmen's penalty area before setting Denny on his way. The ball found its way to Blakeman, who showed great feet in turning past his marker before curling the ball towards goal - only a timely intervention from Fiston Maunella denied the loanee a debut goal

The elusive second goal almost arrived in the last minute of the first half, as Liam Francis crossed for Robinson, only for the big striker to head past Osbourn and inches wide of the post

The second half was played in much the same vein as the first, with Hednesford continuing to push forward and Hemel only managing the odd foray into the Pitmen's half. The Pitmen's persistence in going forward bore fruit six minutes into the second half, as Denny weighed in with a rare goal

Melbourne made a run down the right, whipping in a cross that found Marvin Robinson unmarked six yards out. His header came back off the post, bouncing kindly into the path of the onrushing Denny who gleefully tapped home from close range

Osbourn continued to be the busier of the two keepers, making a fine save to deny Patterson a second goal on fifty-eight minutes, turning away a well-struck free-kick from the striker to concede a corner kick. Campion's resultant corner somehow managed to miss everybody as his well-struck ball skipped across the penalty area

The closest Hemel came to a response was a wild effort from the hard-working May on sixty-eight minutes, skying his shot after he managed to evade the attentions of Liam Francis

Blakeman had offered plenty of examples of his clear quality during the game, but his debut was brought to a premature end on seventy-two minutes when the playmaker was brought off in favour of the bustling Nick Wellecomme

Wellecomme's introduction offered the Pitmen more of a physical threat up front, and the remaining play saw the ball played up to the two big men Robinson and Wellecomme. One particular ball up to Wellecomme saw the substitute lay the ball off to Patterson, only for the in-form striker to scuff his shot well wide of goal

With Hemel's attacking threat nullified by a resolute Hednesford defence, the final minutes were played out in relative ease. Campion could have put the icing on the cake with a third goal in added time, hitting a brilliant free-kick just over the crossbar after a foul on Patterson just outside the penalty area

That is now five league wins in a row for Smith and Chambers' side, who moved into that crucial final play-off place as a result. A real test of their play-off credentials comes up next - a trip to title-chasing Cambridge City next Saturday

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Bailey (Melbourne 61), Patterson (Osborne 75), Wellecomme, Quinn (Robinson 34), Davidson      Subs Unused: Keenan, Gibson

Hemel Hempstead Town: Osbourn, May, Parsons, Thomas (Hewitt 64), Butler ©, Matt McEntegart, Manuelle, Gilbert (French 77), Fenemore, Vicente, Blake       Subs Unused: Mike McEntergart, Ashe

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