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UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Sheppard (18) (penalty), Alexander (50), Hadland (88)

Ilkeston Town

(1) 3

(0) 0



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Darren Alexander


Mossley (A) 14.10.06

Hednesford moved back up to second place in the UniBond Premier League following a fantastic home performance to soundly beat Ilkeston Town this evening in what was by far easily their best showing of the campaign at Keys Park thus far

 There was only one change to the starting line-up following Saturday's win over Kendal, with Iain Screaton fully fit again, replacing Tom Franklin. Joint top scorer Darren Alexander played despite having several stitches in his shin following a collision in the Kendal game

Ilkeston arrived at Keys Park off the back of a 2-1 win against Mossley at the weekend to leave Nigel Jemson's side just below the Pitmen in fifth place in the table. Jemson stuck with the same side that had beaten Mossley as he looked to make it three wins in a row for his side in their first visit to Hednesford since 2002. Former Hednesford favourite Leon McSweeney was included in Jemson's side, deployed in an unfamiliar right-wing role for the visitors

On a cool October evening, the Pitmen made the better of the opening exchanges between two of the league's in-form sides. Danny Jellicoe's quickly-taken free-kick in the fifth minute found Mario Pedro out on the right, with the winger creating half a yard for himself and crossing for Darren Alexander, who got the faintest of touches to glance a tame header wide of goal

The Pitmen thought they had taken the lead in the tenth minute as on-loan Terry Henshaw played Pedro through on goal to poke the ball past the advancing Ben Scott in the Ilkeston goal, only for his strike to be chalked off for offside

Good interplay between strike partners Alexander and Ross Dyer three minutes later saw the pacy Dyer get in behind Paul Robinson - who had this week turned down the chance to join the Pitmen after a seven-day notice from the club - but scuff his shot straight into the arms of Scott

 Five minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty kick as a powerful run into the penalty area by Alexander was ended by Ilkeston's Barry Miller, who brought the striker down in the area. Midfielder Chad Sheppard stepped up and sent Scott the wrong way from twelve yards out to grab his second goal from the spot in forty-eight hours

Dyer could have doubled the Pitmen's advantage just three minutes later as a typically surging run from the youngster ended up in him firing into the side netting, under pressure from Rick Brewer

Another one of Pedro's mazy runs on twenty-five minutes saw him skip past former Hucknall man Alistair Asher and cut inside from the touchline, looking to pick out Dyer at the far post but overhitting his cross somewhat as the ball sailed over the head of the striker

Ilson had offered very little in the way of an attacking threat so far in a game they had been very much second best in; the closest they came to a chance of note came on the half-hour mark as Robinson headed high over Ryan Young's crossbar as he beat Ross Adams to an inswinging corner kick from Chris Adam

McSweeney should have done better with a glancing header that drifted wide of goal on thirty-four minutes, nipping in ahead of Henshaw top meet a cross from Asher

Ilkeston were to finish the half strongly, with Adam doing well to turn past Chris White two minutes later and crossed for former Aston Villa striker Matrin Carruthers, whose weak header was easily fielded by Young

Asher was the first of several players on both sides to receive a caution on thirty-eight minutes as he was booked for sending Pedro sprawling down the Hednesford right

Thsi was followed just two minutes later by a double booking for Iain Screaton and Adams for a bout of handbags between the pair after Adam had deliberately stopped Screaton from taking a throw and the Hednesford man took exception to this

The first half was end on a serious and worrying note as Brewer and Sheppard challenged for a high ball in midfield, with the Ilkeston man ending up toppling over Sheppard and falling awkwardly to the ground. After a spell of treatment, the midfielder was stretchered off and taken to hospital

The Pitmen continued to have the better of the chances early on in the second period, with Alexander picking up White's pass on forty-eight minutes and made a move into the Ilkeston penalty area, only to strike a weak shot straight at Scott


 They did, however, double their lead with their next attack two minutes later as Dyer got his head to the Pedro cross and looped a header towards goal. Dyer's header came back off the crossbar but fell kindly for the incoming Alexander, who bundled the ball over the line from a yard out to make it 2-0

Henshaw was the latest player to receive a caution on fifty-three minutes as he kicked the ball away in frustration at the award of an Ilkeston free-kick and was shown a yellow card for dissent

Four minutes later, Screaton's long throw from the left was flicked on by Alexander at the near post and into the path of Sheppard, only for a fine saving tackle from substitute Craig Gaunt, who had come on for the stricken Brewer at the break

 Henshaw denied veteran striker Carruthers an almost certain goal on the hour mark as he made a magnificent last-ditch tackle on the former Hull City man to deny him from just four yards out

Gareth Holmes was shown a yellow card for the visitors on sixty-five minutes as he pulled at Pedro's shirt to deny the Portuguese winger a clear run down the flank


Superb play by Pedro four minutes later saw him level asher behind as he tricked his way past the full-back down the left and laid the ball back onto the path of White, only for the Hednesford skipper to completely fluff his shot and send his effort over the top of the Hednesford end stand

Pedro's race was run on seventy-three minutes, as his recent return from injury and two games in three days meant that he started to struggle with the pace of the game and was replaced by Phil Hadland


Hadland was to prove a real threat to the Ilkeston defence in his seventeen-minute cameo with several probing runs, including one on seventy-eight minutes where he took the ball on a forty yard run before setting up Dyer, who fired wide from twelve yards out

Two minutes later, another fine run from Hadland saw him win the ball off Carruthers and take the ball down the right before finding Dyer in space inside the penalty area once more. The striker turned past Robinson and fired in a low shot that Scott pushed away at his near post for a Hednesford corner kick

You felt that Ilkeston had essentially accepted their fate at this point, as the game seemed to peter out in the final ten minutes with neither side looking likely to notch another goal

Adam Muller was shown the final yellow card of the evening with three minutes remaining as he was guilty of halting the bright and breezy Hadland on one of his mazy runs once more 

A minute later, Hadland capped a fine team performance with a well deserved third goal of the night for the home side, picking the ball up on the left and making an angled run into the penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable drive across goal and beyond the reach of Scott from twenty yards out

Before the game could restart, the Pitmen made their final change of the game as Tom Franklin was given a late run-out in midfield in place of the tiring Alexander

It had been a pleasing display from the hosts, who had put one of their fellow top-six dwellers in their place with a very impressive attacking performance. Jemson was so unhappy with his side's display that he refused to shake the hand of his former Nottingham Forest team-mate Starbuck at the end of the game as he sloped off the pitch


It's another one of those 'firsts' at the weekend for the Pitmen in their inaugural Northern Premier League season, as they travel to Manchester-based Mossley for the first time ever looking for another win that would extend their recent unbeaten run to seven games 

Hednesford Town: Young, Screaton , Henshaw , White ©, Marshall, Jellicoe, Adams, Sheppard, Alexander (Franklin 88), Dyer, Pedro (Hadland 73)      Subs Unused: Meakin-Richards

Ilkeston Town: Scott, Asher, Butler, Miller, Robinson, Brewer (Gaunt 45), McSweeney, Holmes , Muller , Carruthers (Boulding 77), Adam        Sub Unused: Hall

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