Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hinckley United

Jenkins (21), Smith (66), Jackson (67), Piercewright (90)

Hednesford Town

(1) 4

(0) 0




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Chris Brindley



Havant & Waterlooville (A) 23.8.03

A dreadful performance from the Pitmen this evening sees them slump to a first defeat of the season at Hinckley United tonight as Barry Powell's side are put to the sword by a free-scoring Knitters side at Middlefield Lane


Saturday's season opener against Weymouth had offered plenty of positives for Powell's new-look Hednesford side ahead of another long season. The former Wolves man was without the services of skipper Steve Palmer after the former Telford midfielder had twisted his ankle in the first half of Saturday's game - he was replaced by new signing Les Hines, who made his Hednesford debut following his summer switch from Halesowen Town in the only change to the side from the Weymouth game

Much-fancied Hinckley had kicked off the new season with a 1-1 draw at Dorchester Town at the weekend and returned home for their last ever season at Middlefield Lane looking to get off to a good start at home this evening. Manager Dean Thomas stuck with the same side that had started at The Avenue Stadium, naming a number of experienced step two heads in his side as they looked to avenge the Pitmen's 1-0 win over them towards the end of last season

It was a bright, warm evening in Leicestershire with the hosts making the brighter start of the two sides with change for Shaun Murray in the fourth minute, blazing over the crossbar from a great position after he was played into a good position just outside the Hednesford penalty area by Justin Jenkins

Four minutes later, the Pitmen were awarded a free-kick inside the Hinckley penalty area after Knitters keeper Tommy Whittle had picked up a clear back pass from Jamie Lenton. Darren Simkin struck a low shot at goal from the resultant free-kick, but his goalbound attempt was deflected away by Linton Bailey before Jenkins completed the clearance

Whittle was involved again to keep the game scoreless on thirteen minutes, turning Antony Maguire's rising shot over the crossbar when it looked as though it may sneak past the former Oldham Athletic stopper and into the top corner of the net

Despite making a game of the opening quarter of the game, the Pitmen found themselves a goal down on twenty-one minutes as that oh-so-familiar spectre of individual defensive errors that had blighted the whole of the 2002-2003 season crept into their game at the start of this new campaign. It was new signing Karl Brown at fault, making a terrible error of judgement as he tried to play his way out from the back and simply allowed Jenkins to take the ball cleanly from him just outside the penalty area. The big striker steadied himself before cleverly lifting his shot over the head of the onrushing Ryan Young and finding the corner of the net with his lobbed effort to open the scoring

Back came the shell-shocked Pitmen, with Hines sending over a fine inswinging free-kick from the right-hand side on twenty-six minutes that was headed narrowly wide of goal by Chris Brindley at the far post

Hinckley were content to play the Pitmen on the counter-attack as they allowed the Pitmen to have plenty of the ball in front of them in midfield before hitting them on the break through the likes of Jenkins, Chris Smith and former Bilston Town man Leon Jackson. A run from Jackson on thirty-three minutes saw the forward glide into the Hednesford penalty area before Simkin's last-ditch challenge denied Jackson a clear shot at goal

Hines was having a good debut game at left-back, linking play well and sending over a string of dangerous crosses when he got over the halfway line and into the Hinckley half. An inswinging corner kick from the former Aston Villa trainee caused Hinckley some momentary problems on thirty-two minutes as his cross dropped in the Knitters' six-yard box, only for no one in white to take advantage of the bouncing ball and allowed Bailey to clear off the line

Another header from Brindley whistled past Whittle's left-hand post a few minutes before half-time after Maguire had sent over a fine free-kick from the left with the Pitmen's final opening of a disappointing first period for the visitors

If things hadn't gone the Pitmen's way in the first half, then the second half was to prove a disaster for the away side as they were taken routinely apart by the home side; they were hit with an injury concern on fifty minutes as the influential Les Robinson was forced off due to injury and was replaced by teenager Ashley Williams


Hinckley were building pressure on the hesitant Hednesford defence throughout the early stages of the second half, with Bailey rehang over from Murray's corner kick off fifty-three minutes, before Jenkins forced Young into a smothering stop at his near post after he had nipped in to turn Stuart Storer's cross goalwards

The mis-shaped Hednesford defence eventually conceded a second goal on sixty-six minutes, as a deep cross from Murray found Smith unmarked at the far post, with Smith volleying confidently past Young from close range for his first goal of the season

The Pitmen were at sixes and sevens and conceded a third goal just a minute later as they failed to deal with a long punt forward from Lenton and allowed Jackson to ghost in a turn the loose ball past a horribly exposed Young from close range. Terrible defending and a total lack of communication from a brittle Pitmen defence, something that has yet to be addressed from last season's woes

The ineffective Kevin Seabury was hauled off on seventy-two minutes as Ashley Dodd was handed his first minutes of the season in the centre of midfield, with the Pitmen now struggling to make simple passes stick never mind push forwards in search of a goal


With eleven minutes remaining, Mark Danks - still searching for his first goal of the season - was taken off in place of another debutant in the form of former Tamworth striker Michael Swan


Neither substitution was to prove effective for the Pitmen, as it was Hinckley who continued to look the more likely to add to their tally for the evening as darkness descended on Middlefield Lane. Substitute Simon Tucker - on for Jenkins - scuffed a good effort wide of goal on eighty-one minutes before Bailey completely missed a header from Wayne Dyer's cross three minutes later

With the game heading into added time, Hinckley added a fourth goal to really rub it in for the poor Pitmen, as yet more poor defending from the visitors allowed Brad Piercewright to turn a loose ball home from close range at the third time of asking after the Pitmen had failed to effectively clear their lines from a Lenton corner kick

It had been a sobering reminder for the Hednesford supporters of their failings from last season as they had witnessed yet another defensive capitulation to add to a fairly toothless attacking display to boot. Powell's troops are on the road once more this weekend, as they make the long trip to the south coast to face another side fancied to do well this season in the form of an experienced Havant & Waterlooville side

Hinckley United: TBC

Hednesford Town: Young, Maguire, Brown, Robinson © (Williams 50), Simkin, Brindley, Seabury (Dodd 72), Hines, Anthrobus, Danks (Swann 79), C. Palmer      Subs Unused: Charie, P. Evans