20.8.2005

Nationwide Conference North

Hednesford Town

Heath (11), McMahon (52), (65)

Hinckley United

Colkin (15) (penalty), Shilton (39), Heeley (42), Brown (51)

(1) 3

(3) 4

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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620

Paul McMahon

L W L

 

Gainsborough Trinity (A) 27.8.05

 The Pitmen crash to defeat at Keys Park this afternoon as local rivals Hinckley United earn their first win of the new season as they edge out their hosts by the odd goal in seven

Monday night had seen Chris Brindley's side produce a fine display against Alfreton Town to record their first win of the season, courtesy of Andy Bell's first goal of the new campaign. Player/manager Brindley made one change to the XI that had started against the Reds in midweek as Jamie Barrett was restored to the side to make his home debut for the club after being dropped against Alfreton. Brindley named himself amongst the substitutes after sitting out the first two games due to a suspension carried over from last term

Hinckley made the shirt trip across the A5 off the back of successive draws at the start of the new season, leaving the Knitters a point and five places behind their hosts in the table ahead of today's game. Long-serving manager Dean Thomas made one change of his own to the side that had drawn 0-0 at Worcester City on Monday night as Frenchman Laurent Cluzel made his full debut for the side as he replaced the experienced Marc McGregor

On a typically bright and sunny summer afternoon, the visitors enjoyed the better of the early possession but it was the hosts who were to have the first sight at goal in the fourth minute; Paul McMahon - man of the match on Monday night - picked up a bouncing ball thirty yards from goal and attempted an ambitious lob over veteran stopper Ryan Price which sailed over the crossbar and out of play

McMahon was involved once more four minutes later as skipper Lee Barrow took a free-kick out on the left and whipped in a cross that was flicked on by Andy Bell to his strike partner, only for McMahon to get his laces underneath the ball from eight yards out and lift his effort harmlessly over the crossbar

The hosts were rewarded for their enterprising start to the game as they took the lead in the eleventh minute through Rob Heath's first Hednesford goal. Good play down the left wing saw Colin Hunter and Barrett work the ball down the flank, with Barrett's clever ball back into the path of his midfield partner allowed him to fire home past Price from sixteen yards out

Hinckley's response came through striker Andy Brown two minutes later as he picked up a pass from Carl Heeley and turned quickly past Barrow, but his volley sailed over Tommy Whittle's crossbar from the edge of the penalty area

The Knitters were handed a route back into the game in the fifteenth minute as they were awarded a penalty kick by referee Mr Pardoe after youngster Matt Lewis got on the end of former Hednesford man Lee Colkin's cross but was hauled down by Hunter in the Pitmen's penalty area as the pair challenged for the ball, Mr Pardoe pointed to the spot, despite the Pitmen's protests that Lewis had perhaps gone to ground a little too easily. It was former Keys Park favourite Colkin who stepped up to take the kick and sent former Hinckley goalkeeper Whittle the wrong way from twelve yards to level matters once more

Good play from the long-serving Stuart Storer saw the Hinckley captain beat Heath to the ball on twenty minutes and play Brown into space to the right of the Pitmen's penalty area. Brown took a touch and laid it off to Sam Shilton, whose first-time, curling shot was just wide of Whittle's left-hand post

Midway through the first period, Lee Williams supplied Bell with a fine threaded pass, but Bell wanted a little too much time to think about his options and allowed the vastly experienced Heeley to clear the danger

On twenty-six minutes, Brad Piercewright's clearance from his own penalty area dropped as far as Teesdale, who lumped the ball back into the Hinckley penalty area where McMahon reacted quickest to the ball to seize upon the bouncing ball. Heeley managed to push the striker wide and narrowed his angle, forcing McMahon to lash his effort into the Heath Hayes terrace

On the half-hour mark, Barrett lost out to Storer in a midfield battle, with Storer switching the ball out to Lewis on the right. His cross was flicked away by Teesadale but only as far as Shilton, with the former Burton Albion man firing in another effort that failed to test Whittle from long-range

Williams delivered one of his trademark free-kicks into the Hinckley penalty area on thirty-four minutes that caused the Knitters all sorts of problems in clearing their lines; Heeley's eventual clearance dropped to Barrett, whose recycled cross sailed harmlessly out of play with no one in white willing to gamble

Three minutes later, Brown latched onto a delicious cross from Colkin, getting on the end of the left-back's low cross but somehow turning the ball wide of goal from only six yards out

The visitors got their noses in front for the first time in the game on thirty-nine minutes as another period of pressure finally told on the Hednesford defence. Cluzel - signed from French side ASF Andrezieux in the summer - was the provider as his ball over the top found Shilton just outside the Pitmen's penalty area, with the midfield man firing past Whittle with a well-struck right-footed shot that gave the stopper no chance

Worse was to follow for the hosts just three minutes later as Hinckley put clear daylight between them and the Pitmen with a third goal; Lewis whipped in a corner kick from the right-hand side and found the head of Heeley, who powerfully headed past Whittle from eight yards out as he was allowed to meet the cross unchallenged from close-range

It could have got even worse for the Pitmen as a rampant Hinckley side almost grabbed a fourth goal with a couple of minutes remaining in the first half. Cluzel was the provider once more as he picked out Lewis's run down the right, taking out Mark Branch with a fine pass that was turned wide by Lewis's weakly-struck shot

The hosts trudged off at the break, having been hit by Hinckley's late sucker punch towards the end of the half and struggling with the Knitter's movement in midfield. The likes of Hunter and Bell had struggled to get involved in the game against a highly experienced step two outfit who were showing their knowhow at this level

Things were to get worse before they got better for the hosts, who started the half slowly and allowed Hinckley to stretch their lead on fifty-one minutes. Price turned provider with a long punt forwards that was picked up by the impressive Brown, who was given far too much time and space to bring the ball under his control as the Pitmen dawdled, turning past Barrow before firing beyond the reach of Whittle from twelve yards out

The Pitmen responded well to this blow and within a minute had pulled a goal back as another fine free-kick from Williams found Bell in the Hinckley penalty area - his low shot was fumbled by Price and allowed the predatory McMahon to pounce on the loose ball and turn it home from close-range

In a bid to add more knowhow to the home side's ranks, player/manager Brindley chose to bring himself on fifty-six minutes to make his Conference North debut in place of Ross Adams after serving his two-game suspension carried over from last season. Brindley went to play up front with Hunter dropping back into defence to cover for Adams' departure, changing the Pitmen's formation to a 4-3-3

Brindley's height and nuisance value gave Hinckley issues, with the substitute getting a flick-on to a Hunter cross on sixty-one minutes and heading the ball into the path of Bell, who pulled his effort well wide of goal

The Pitmen pulled another goal back on sixty-five minutes as Brindley was once again involved, getting on the end of Branch's long, raking ball forwards to flick the ball into the path of McMahon, who superbly curled his first-time shot beyond the reach of Price and into the far corner of the net from eighteen yards out

With their tails up once, more, Hednesford laid siege to the Hinckley goal in the final twenty-five minutes and created several openings to grab what looked an unlikely equaliser earlier in the half. On seventy minutes, a run from Heath saw the former Stafford man play Bell into space once more down the right. Bell turned past Richard Lavery and laid the ball off to Williams, whose curling effort was easily claimed by Price

 

With fifteen minutes of the game remaining, another towering header from Brindley saw the old stager beat his old nemesis Heeley to the ball and knock Branch's throw-in down to McMahon once more, but the striker's well-struck effort was brilliantly turned away by Price down to his left-hand side

A minute later, Price was on hand to keep his side in the lead once more as he made a fine stop to push Teesdale's goalbound header from a Williams corner away from goal

Steve Brannan was added to the ranks by assistant manager Steve Anthrobus with thirteen minutes remaining as the young midfielder came on in place of the timing Bell

The Pitmen's final change of the afternoon came with ten minutes remaining as young striker Craig Marshall was given a late run-out in place of Hunter up front

The wily old Price - a nemesis of previous Hednesford sides in the nineties for Macclesfield Town and Telford United in the Vauxhall Conference days -  continued to frustrate the hosts in the final minutes with more timely stops. He denied Marshall a maiden Hednesford goal on eighty-three minutes as more good play from Brindley and McMahon saw the pair combine to set up the substitute, whose low shot was turned away by Price from close-range for a Hednesford corner

With four minutes remaining, Leon Jackson's clearance dropped to Branch, who picked the ball up on the left-hand corner of the Hinckley penalty area and played McMahon into space. His quick turn and shot was blocked by Storer, with Marshall not quite able to get a toe to the ball as it rebounded into his path

In the first of three minutes of added time, Price once again left the Pitmen cursing him as another flying save from the veteran saw him push Barrow's glancing header over the crossbar after Williams had picked the defender out at the far post with a free-kick

The Pitmen will have felt that they had deserved a point from today's game on the balance of play and their dominant second-half display, but as they had seen against Barrow last weekend, teams at this level are clinical in front of goal if you allow them to be and Hinckley's experience was very much the difference between the sides as they hung on to the points to register their first win of the season. The Pitmen have a full week's break before they make the trip across to Lincolnshire and a meeting with Gainsborough Trinity at their Northolme ground

Hednesford Town: Whittle, Adams (Brindley 56), Branch, Barrow ©, Teesdale, Williams, Barrett, Heath, Bell (Brannan 77), McMahon, Hunter (C. Marshall 80)    Subs Unused: T. Marshall, Beckett

Hinckley United: Price, Lewis, Colkin (Lenton 80), Lavery, Heeley, Piercewright, Storer ©, Jackson, Cluzel (Story 73), Brown, Shilton      Subs Unused:  Winder, Wade, Platnauer