24.9.2007

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Adam (6), Marshall (49)

Ikeston Town

(1) 2

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

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383

Linden Dovey

L W L L L L D W L W

Alfreton Town (H) 29.9.07

The Pitmen finally got back on track in the UniBond Premier League this evening with a much brighter performance - and a win - over an aggressive Ilkeston Town side at Keys Park

 Under-pressure manager Phil Starbuck had finally run out of patience with several of his under-performing players and made wholesale changes to the side that had lost at North Ferriby United on Saturday with three new faces in the side - midfielder Sam Hall, on loan from Burton Albion came in in place of Rob Hawthorne; Ashley Woolliscroft, signed from Kidsgrove Athletic, replaced Dave MacPherson, who dropped to the bench and was stripped of the captaincy; and Linden Dovey, a striker from Shifnal Town came in to replace the injured Ross Dyer

Ilkeston's inconsistent start to the new season saw them sitting in thirteenth place in the table ahead of tonight's play. Player/manager Nigel Jemson - a former team-mate of Starbuck's at Nottingham Forest back in the late eighties/early nineties - was also coming under pressure from his supporters for a response to their recent indifferent form, having fallen out of the F.A. Cup to lower-league Sutton Coldfield Town and losing at home to Witton Albion on Saturday. Jemson left himself out of the side for tonight's clash and elected to bring Nathan Winder back into the side in his place

On a cool Keys Park evening, Dovey looked to get off to a goalscoring start to his Hednesford career but headed tamely wide from a Dominic Heath cross in the third minute

 

Three minutes later, two former Ilkeston players combined to grab the opening goal of the game for the hosts; a long diagonal ball from defender Paul Robinson found Chris Adam unmarked on the left-hand corner of the penalty area. The winger controlled the ball well before firing past Paul Pettinger in the Ilkeston goal to give the Pitmen an early lead

Tom Ward was lucky not to go into referee Mr Radford's book on eleven minutes as he took Winder out with a wild challenge on the defender as he shepherded the ball back to Pettinger

Good wing play from Adam on sixteen minutes saw him skip past a challenge from Liam Powell and cross for Dovey, only for Gareth Holmes to make a timely block just inside the Ilson penalty area

Adam could have added to his, and Hednesford's, goal with an identical set-up to his earlier strike on twenty minutes. On this occasion, he picked up a cross from Dovey and fired narrowly wide of the right with Pettinger beaten from the edge of the box

 

Holmes was the first of several players to find themselves booked during the game as he was shown a yellow card on twenty-one minutes for bringing Heath down in full flight

Dovey went close to opening his account for the Pitmen five minute later with a cheeky chip that from twenty-five yards out that narrowly dipped over Pettinger's crossbar as the veteran keeper scampered back

 

On thirty-three minutes, Dovey's former Shifnal team-mate Dominic Heath produced a wonderful run and cross from the right that no one took a chance on inside the six-yard box, which was headed behind by Winder for a corner kick

Ilkeston had looked fairly impotent thus far going forwards, with Adam Muller going closest for the visitors in a disappointing first period as his firmly-struck effort was well saved by Rene Gilmartin on thirty-seven minutes

Rick Brewer and Winder both ended up being booked just before the break with Winder really struggling to keep pace with some of the Pitmen's attacking threat through the middle as he was booked for a cynical two-footed challenge on Woolliscroft that left the Hednesford bench incensed and demanding a red card for the player

Hall was struggling towards the end of the first period and was taken off at half-time in favour of the more experienced MacPherson in midfield. Winder was hauled off by the visitors before the restart, perhaps before he was sent off, with Jemson electing to bring himself on in a defensive midfield role

There was a big shout for a Hednesford penalty just  four minutes into the second half as a flailing arm from Brewer appeared to divert the ball away from the busy Dovey, but all protests were waved away by Mr Radford who only gave the Pitmen a corner kick

It was from this corner that the Pitmen grabbed a second goal from as Ilson failing to clear the original Adam cross and gave away a free-kick just outside the box for a foul on Dovey. From Adam's quickly-taken free-kick Newly-elected captain Tom Marshall cleverly turned the Ilson defence and found Wooliscroft, whose ball into the danger zone was deflected back across goal by Tom Ward and into the path of Marshall once more, who had made a late dart into the box to turn the ball home from a matter of inches out

More aggression from the visitors followed as they proceeded to kick anything in a black and white shirt that moved to give away a constant stream of free-kicks. Jemson was booked for a particularly crude challenge on Dovey on fifty-eight minutes which had Starbuck on his feet and remonstrating with the assistant on the main stand side for more than just a booking - perhaps a bit of the old rivalry from years gone by coming to the fore there?

Dovey had really endeared himself with the home supporters throughout the game with his non-stop work rate and running in behind the Ilkeston defence. A late offside flag pulled the striker up on sixty-one minutes as he ran onto a MacPherson through ball and shaped to shoot past Pettinger

Ilkeston were limited to long-range efforts in an attempt to get themselves back into the game as both Ross Gardner and Jermaine Palmer struck efforts at goal that were fielded easily by Rene Gilmartin

The Pitmen made their second change of the evening on sixty-eight minutes as fan's favourite Mario Pedro came in for Heath in a straight swap out on the right flank

This was followed five minutes later by a third and final change of the evening for the hosts as striker Peter Knox was brought on in place of the hard-working Ward in amove that saw Woolliscroft drop into a more defensive role

Dovey could have added a gloss finish to the game with ten minutes remaining as he cut inside from the right flank and curled a shot at goal that forced Pettinger into a fine save

With five minutes remaining, Marshall nearly doubled his goal return as he glanced an Adam corner kick wide and into the Hednesford fans gathered in the Heath Hayes terrace

It had been a much-improved showing from the Pitmen and one that eases the pressure on Starbuck and Jimmy Mullen in the process. Hednesford take another break from the league this weekend as Ilkeston's near-neighbours Alfreton Town come visiting on Saturday in the F.A. Cup second qualifying round

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Marshall ©, Adams, Robinson, Simms , Ward (Knox 73), Heath (Pedro 68), Adam, Hall (MacPherson 45), Woolliscroft, Dovey         Subs Unused: None

Ilkeston Town: Pettinger, Powell, Hunter, Holmes , Winder  (Jemson 45 ), Brewer , Gardner , Walker, Muller, Palmer, Piliero (Ross 59)      Sub Unused: Wade