7.3.2006

Nationwide Conference North

Hucknall Town

Harding (45), Morris (74)

Hednesford Town

McSweeney (1), Williams (79)

(1) 2

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

281

Jai Stanley

L L W W D D L L L D

 

Worksop Town (H) 11.3.06

 Hednesford's winless league run is extended to six games tonight as they have to come from behind to earn themselves a point at top ten dwellers Hucknall Town 

Under-pressure Hednesford manager Steve Anthrobus had used the Pitmen's extended break between games - handed to them by Saturday's postponed game against Leigh RMI - to make yet more signings as he continued to chop and change his misfiring side. Combative midfielder Jai Stanley had joined the club on loan from league rivals Worcester City, whilst utility man Scott Hadland had made the switch from Bromsgrove Rovers. The third signing was a familiar face to Hednesford supporters, as striker Nathan Lamey - who had a spell with the club in the 2003-2004 campaign - had returned to Keys Park, after a prolific season for Halesowen Town. All three players came straight into the side for tonight's game, joined by the fit-again Lee Barrow in four changes to the side that had been humiliated 8-0 at Northwich Victoria - Steve Brannan, Richard Teesdale, Anthony Maguire and Mark Briggs were the men to miss out

Hucknall were still clinging on to the faint hopes of a late run to the play-offs, with the Yellows starting tonight's game in ninth place in the table. Manager Kevin Wilson made one change to his side from the one that had started the 2-2 draw at Nuneaton Borough on Saturday as former Hednesford favourite Lee Colkin missed out due to a hip injury and was replaced by the experienced Gary Ricketts

It was a cold and overcast evening in Nottinghamshire, with the dull Watnall Road floodlights adding to the gloomy weather and making viewing difficult for the 281 brave souls that had made the effort to come along to this evening's game. They were, however, treated to a flying start to the game as the all-green Pitmen shocked the hosts with a first-minute goal; Colin Hunter picked the ball up from Tom Marshall and swung in a cross from the left-wing that bounced in front of former Hucknall man Leon McSweeney, who applied the finish by prodding the ball beyond goalkeeper James Lindley from six yards out

Hednesford goalkeeper Gary Hateley kept his side in front in the sixth minute of the game as he pushed a Gary Sucharewycz header over the crossbar following Mark Ward's left-wing corner kick

Ward was the provider once more in the tenth minute as Phil Rowland won a free-kick to the left-hand side of the penalty area after being brought down by Tom Marshall. Ward swung the ball in and found the head of Greg Pearson, who got underneath the ball and looped his header high over the crossbar

Lamey's first involvement as a returning Hednesford player was to be pulled up for a foul on Lindley in the fourteenth minute as the striker challenged the former Stafford Rangers man for a Stanley cross

New boy Stanley was busy putting himself about in the opening stages of the game, adding some much-needed bite to the Hednesford midfield and breaking up some of the Hucknall moves forward. On sixteen minutes, the Worcester loanee exchanged passes with Hunter before drilling a shot in at goal from twenty yards out that just cleared the crossbar

Three minutes later, the tricky Ward drifted inside from the left and left Ross Adams in his wake before trying his luck with a cross-cum-shot that Hateley tipped over his crossbar

Another strong move from Stanley midway through the half saw the burly midfield man make an unchallenged run into the Hucknall penalty area before he struck a low shot wide of the post from fifteen yards out

Nathan Winder should have levelled matters once more for Hucknall on twenty-five minutes as Ward's outswinging corner kick was nodded goalwards by the full-back, who had made a late run into the six-yard box, but his glancing effort missed the target as it skipped wide of the post

Just before the half-hour mark, Ricketts did well to win the ball from Tom Marshall and make progress down the right flank before pulling the ball back to Pearson, whose first-time effort from ten yards out was well held by the alert Hateley

Two minutes later, Hunter should have done better for the visitors as he broke through the flimsy Hucknall offside trap to latch onto Barrow's pass but scooped his effort over Lindley's head and also over the crossbar

Both sides had been overly-reliant on set-pieces to create opening in the first half so far, with Barrow heading high over the crossbar on thirty-five minutes as he met a Sean Platt free-kick eight yards from goal with a looping header

At the other end, Ricketts was guilty of missing a great chance for the Yellows on thirty-eight minutes as Ward's pinpoint cross from a corner kick found the striker unmarked, only for the former Hinckley and Arnold Town man to head over the crossbar with the goal gaping in front of him

A swift counter-attack from the Pitmen on forty-two minutes saw Stanley and Platt link up to send Hunter away down the left wing and in behind a quickly retreating Alistair Asher. Lindley came out of his goal to narrow the angle for the winger, whose subsequent lob over the goalkeeper's head and narrowly wide of the far post

Right on the stroke of half-time, the hosts got themselves back on level terms as Russell Cooke's cross from the right dropped to the feet of Lee Morris, who controlled the ball well before laying it off to Daniel Harding, whose unstoppable right-footed shot from fully thirty yards out nestled in the corner of the net with Hateley well beaten

It had been a competitive first half from both sides, with the Pitmen smarting at having conceded such a late goal at the end of the half to change both manager's half-time team talks after leading for forty-four minutes previously

Hucknall started the second half with real purpose, keeping the ball well in midfield and using Ward to good effect out on the left-wing. Good play from the wing man on fifty minutes saw him turn Platt inside out and cross for Ricketts, who was caught on his heels as he made a run in behind Marshall but could not turn the ball home from close-range

On fifty-four minutes, Hateley was forced into a punch away from danger as Rowland crossed towards Pearson, with the ball dropping kindly to Ricketts on the edge of the penalty area; his first-time volley lacked direction however and flew just wide of the goal

McSweeney's close control saw him get away Sucharewycz on fifty-six minutes and work the ball onto his left foot, striking a rising shot at goal that was claimed by Lindley

Three minutes later, Stanley sprayed the ball out to Hunter with a fine lofted pass to the left-wing. The former Harrogate Town man curled a cross into the Hucknall penalty area and into the path of Lamey, who could only toe-poke the ball wide of goal from eight yards out

Ricketts was involved once again for the hosts on sixty-two minutes as he held off Marshall's challenge to meet a Ward cross, but he could not guide his header past Hateley and headed wide of goal

Hateley made a good save down to his right to deny Pearson on sixty-six minutes as he threw himself across goal to turn the Hucknall striker's low shot from twenty yards out around the post for a corner kick

Ian Wright made a timely stop to deny Pearson on sixty-nine minutes, sticking out a leg to block the former Rushden & Diamonds man's effort as Morris played him into the penalty area

On seventy-one minutes, Hucknall were denied a second goal of the evening by referee Mr Knee; Ward's cross to the far post was caught initially by Hateley before the goalkeeper dropped the ball inside his six-yard box and into the path of Morris, who headed home. However, Mr Knee disallowed the goal for an apparent push on Hateley in the build-up, which on second viewing appeared to come from one of his own defenders

Hucknall were not to be denied, however and took the lead on seventy-four minutes. Ward was involved once more as he sent over a free-kick from the right, finding Morris unmarked at the far post to head home unchallenged

The Pitmen made a bold double substitution on seventy-seven minutes in a bid to get themselves back into the game as Williams replaced the impressive Stanley and Ross Dyer came in up front in place of McSweeney

Williams was involved in spectacular style for the visitors just two minutes after coming on, as he got the Pitmen back on level terms in bizarre fashion. The Pitmen won a corner on the left-hand side, which was taken by Williams, who swung the ball in and cleared the head of Lindley before dropping in the far corner of the net, despite Asher's best attempts to keep the ball out

The Pitmen had their tails up with the game moving into the last ten minutes and had chances to take the points. On eighty-two minutes, the industrious Hadland played the ball to Platt, who took a touch before letting fly from twenty-five yards out with a wild right-footed effort that flew over the crossbar

Sixty seconds later, Barrow flicked on Hunter's free-kick into the path of Dyer, who had to stretch to meet the ball but could only turn the ball straight into the arms of Lindley

The woodwork came to the Pitmen's rescue with five minutes remaining as Hucknall substitute Paul Robinson flicked on a free-kick from Asher into the path of Ricketts, whose header came back off the crossbar with Hateley beaten

Eugene Francis - on as a late substitute for Pearson - broke through the flimsy Hednesford offside trap just two minutes after he had come on but shot wide of goal with only Hateley to beat from ten yards out

In the final minute of the game, Asher's deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Ricketts and into the path of Morris, but his flick header was hacked clear by Marshall's timely intervention

A draw could be considered a fair result, with both sides having chances to take the points but not having enough in the final third in the ninety minutes. A point gains very little for the Pitmen in their current predicament, leaving them three points adrift of safety ahead of their return to Keys Park on Saturday when they face Hucknall's local rivals Worksop Town

Hucknall Town: Lindley, Asher, Winder, Sucharewycz, Harding, Cooke (Robinson 70), Morris, Rowland, Ricketts, Pearson (Francis 85), Ward      Subs Unused: Groves, Nangle, Kearney

Hednesford Town: Hateley, Adams, T. Marshall, Hadland, Wright, Barrow ©, Platt, Stanley (Williams 77), Lamey, McSweeney (Dyer 77), Hunter     Subs Unused: Maguire, Briggs, Molloy