UniBond Northern Premier League

Kendal Town

Kilford (37), Taylor (41), (44), Wisdom (52)

Hednesford Town

Draper (78)

(3) 4

(0) 1



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Danny Woodhall


Eastwood Town (H) 21.2.09

After seemingly getting back on track last week at Leigh Genesis, the threadbare Pitmen were brought crashing back down to earth after a heavy defeat this afternoon at Kendal dented their hopes of sustaining a title challenge


Dean Edwards was drastically short of players ahead of today's long trip up to Cumbria having seen Adam Burley and Chad Sheppard both depart the previous week to Chaestown in controversial circumstances and could only muster three substitutes for the game with injuries to key players such as Stuart Brock and Tyrone Barnett leaving him with very few options

Mid-table Kendal were still smarting from a poor display and a heavy 5-1 defeat at Ossett Town two weeks ago, leaving player/manager Lee Ashcroft with much to ponder ahead of today's game. The former West Brom midfielder made four changes to his team as debutant goalkeeper Tom Bush replaced the suspended David Newnes, Danny Wisdom replaced David Standley, Ian Kilford came in for Michael Cole and Tony Hallam was brought in for Lee Mulvaney

The hosts were quickly into their stride, taking advantage of the gluepot conditions that had seen the game narrowly passing a pitch inspection early in the morning. Tony Hallam tested the Pitmen's resolve with an early shot that was deflected away by Rapinder Gill for a corner

The Pitmen started to get a purchase on the game after an awkward first ten minutes and could have taken the lead when Sam Hall whipped in a great cross from the right-hand side, but Ross Dyer's header dropped wide of goal when he perhaps should have tested the keeper

The away side had their tails up and had further chances moments later. Dale Anderson - still to claim his first goal for the Pitmen since his return to the club - got on the end of a cross from Dyer, but dallied on the ball with the goal in sight, and allowed a defender to whip the ball away from him when he was in a good position

Elliott Durrell, who has not found goals so plentiful in recent weeks, was next to register a shot on fifteen minutes, hitting one of his trademark long-range rockets that flew past the post. This was followed a minute later with Tom Marshall's cheeky attempt from the edge of the area that only just missed the target

Durrell was seeing plenty of the ball, and he tested Kendal's debutant goalkeeper Bush with a wicked free-kick that he managed to turn away from goal

We had seen very little in the way of an attacking threat from Kendal up to this point, with Danny Woodhall simply fielding back passes up to that point in the game. He was called into action to deny Dean Wordsworth by turning shot over the bar and followed that up by denying Danny Wisdom with a low block after the Kendal player had broken clear from what appeared to be an offside position

The Hednesford keeper was becoming the busier of the two keepers at this point and denied Carl Osman on twenty-six minutes with a fine save down to his left when the ball looked like sneaking in the corner. He also smothered a shot to deny the same player a minute later after he was allowed to control the ball in the box by a generous defence

The experienced Ian Kilford was the man to break the deadlock eight minutes before half-time, picking the ball up thirty yards out and hammering an unstoppable shot past Woodhall to give the hosts the lead

This was to be the start of a dramatic defensive collapse for the Pitmen, as they conceded two further goals before the break. Two minutes later Alex Taylor hot a bobbled shot that was not cleared by the Hednesford defence, allowing the ball to trundle past a number of players and find the bottom corner of the net

Three minutes later, and it was three; Wisdom's cross from the left found Taylor in the box, who flicked a header past Woodhall

Edwards will have no doubt given the players a real roasting at the break, as they had looked comfortable during the first quarter of the game, and had now given themselves a mountain to climb. They started the second period strongly, with Bush denying Tom Marshall after the burly defender had headed towards goal

However, they continued to live dangerously at the back and were made to pay for a fourth time on fifty-two minutes. It was typical route one stuff, with Bush hammering a kick forward towards Wisdom, who scampered onto the punt forward. With no challenge from the Hednesford defence forthcoming, he calmly fired past Woodhall from the edge of the area

It could have been worse for the visitors five minutes later, as Woodhall bravely denied Wisdom with an instinctive save low down after the Kendal man had once again been given too much time to control the ball and shoot

There was very little in the way of action at the other end of the pitch, as the shell-shocked Pitmen were simply limiting the damage inside their own penalty area. Sam Hall went closest to reducing arrears with an untidy effort that was just wide of the post after he had gambled on a run to the far post to meet a Mark Briggs corner

Bush managed to deny Anderson after he had dropped Hall's cross but recovered well to claim the ball at the second attempt with the striker bearing down on him

Luke Edwards was introduced to the game in place of Dean Craven, but even with another forward on the pitch, the Pitmen still found it hard going. Marshall again tried his luck with a first time shot, but once again his radar was off and he missed the goal

Two minutes later, the Pitmen finally got their consolation goal, with skipper Ross Draper claiming his first goal in a while. His typical swashbuckling style won him the ball on the edge of the area before he steadied himself and fired past Bush

Late efforts from Durrell and Edwards were both blocked by Kendal defenders, eager to keep the Pitmen down to one goal, but make no mistake - this was a poor performance from the away side, who will be counting the cost against league leaders Eastwood if they continue to defend as they did today


Kendal Town: Bush, Williams, Byrne ©, Hallam, Wordsworth, Melling (Standley 53), Osman (Redhead 69), Hobson (Baker 75), Taylor, Kilford, Wisdom       Subs Unused: Ashcroft, Mulvaney

Hednesford Town: Woodhall, Hall, Craven (Edwards 65), Gill, Harvey, Marshall, Briggs, Durrell, Anderson, Dyer, Draper ©        Subs Unused: Maguire, Platt