UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

MacPherson (33)

Kendal Town

Wright (20), Hobson (49), Arnison (61)

(1) 1

(1) 3



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Keenen Meakin-Richards


Ashton United (A) 3.9.07

Just when you thought it was safe to assume anything at Keys Park, the Pitmen surprise you with this poor performance that culminated in a first home league defeat of the campaign to Kendal Town this afternoon


There was one enforced change to Phil Starbuck's side this afternoon after Paul Robinson's injury against Leek on Bank Holiday Monday saw him sidelined for today's game. Youngster Keenan Meakin-Richards made a swift return to the starting XI in place of the former Ilkeston Town defender. There was a return to the squad for defender Gary Sucharewycz after he had recovered from an injury suffered in pre-season

Kendal had made an inconsistent start to the new campaign and had been well-beaten by Witton Albion on Bank Holiday Monday to leave them down in thirteenth place in the UniBond Premier League table. Player/manager Lee Ashcroft made five changes to the side for this afternoon's game as David Newnes, Tony Hallam, Callum Warburton, Gareth Arnison and Paul Bryne came into the side for Ryan Smith, Paul Sparrow, Scott Redhead, Ian Kilford and Craig Hobson

Kendal started well, pushing the Pitmen back into their own half in the opening stages of the game. On-loan Rene Gilmartin fielded long-range efforts from both Arnison and Byrne within a minute of each other on eight minutes as the away side looked to start on the front foot


Neat build-up work involving skipper Dave MacPherson and Dominic Heath saw Simon Forsdick played into space on the corner of the Kendal penalty area on eleven minutes, but the winger pulled his effort and lifted it over Newnes' crossbar as he was shut down by debutant Hallam

Kendal could have taken the lead two minutes later when former Newcastle and Carlisle player Arnison found his way through the Hednesford defence with only Gilmartin to beat, but he was pulled up by an offside flag as he shaped to shoot

Heath was next to have a go for the hosts on seventeen minutes but his effort from a Forsdick corner bobbled about, hitting a number of bodies en route to goal before being cleared by some desperate Kendal defending inside their six-yard box

After their bright start, it was no real surprise that Kendal took the lead on twenty minutes; Kendal worked the ball into the area, where Peter Wright was waiting to turn the ball past Gilmartin from close range as the Pitmen stood off him, hoping for an offside flag that was not forthcoming

The visitors were forced into a change to their personnel three minutes later as Byrne limped off after suffering the ill-effects of a challenge from MacPherson in midfield and was replaced by Hobson

A minute later, the Mintcakes thought that they had grabbed a second goal as Wright raced onto a through ball from Warburton and slid the ball past Gilmartin, only for an offside flag to deny Wright a quickfire brace

Despite this setback of conceding a sloppy goal, the Pitmen reduced the deficit just after the half-hour mark. The trio of Heath, Forsdick and MacPherson combined well to allow the Hednesford skipper to fire home after a quickly worked free-kick that was straight off the training ground

Kendal were in no mood to let the Pitmen take the game to them, and they had further chances to take the lead again in the next five minutes; Arnison saw his effort frantically cleared off the line by Ross Adams as his shot bobbled around the Hednesford six-yard box before the Hednesford centre-back cleared his lines


Two minutes later, Wright tried his luck with an opportunistic effort from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area that Gilmartin watched straight into his arms

With three minutes of the half remaining, a well-worked corner kick from Kendal saw Hobson send over a cross from the right that was flicked goalwards by the head of Dene Whital-Williams and dropped just wide of the far post

The away side's strong end to the first period continued into the early stages of the second and they were back in front only four minutes into the restart; Gilmartin's lax kick out of his penalty area hit Hobson on the back, with the Kendal player reacting quickly to the spinning ball and knocking the ball into the empty net before the Hednesford goalkeeper could react to the situation. A silly, sloppy goal to concede and completely avoidable 

Back came the Pitmen, stung by the early Kendal goal - Ross Dyer's header was brilliantly turned away by David Newnes in the Kendal goal on fifty-five minutes as the Barrow loanee - also making his Kendal debut - somehow got across to tip the goalbound header from the striker away from danger


Peter Knox had been quiet up front for the Pitmen after his goalscoring exploits of the past two games, playing Heath through on goal with a clever reverse pass on three minutes later but he was crowded out before he could get his shot away as he dawdled on the ball

Kendal settled the game on the hour mark with a classic breakaway goal. After a spell of pressure building around the edge of the Kendal penalty area, the Pitmen were caught short at the back as a quick break from the visitors caught them out. Arnison ran onto a Hudson through ball and jinked past Gilmartin before knocking the ball into the empty net

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon a couple of minutes later as Starbuck looked to change things around with the introduction of winger Danny Blair for the more defensively-minded Tom Ward

The Pitmen responded to falling 3-1 down with a spell of pressure on the Kendal defence, forcing a succession of corner kicks in a bid to get themselves back into the game. Forsdick went closest to reducing the deficit on seventy minutes but was denied by a fabulous save from Newnes as the keeper pushed the winger's firmly struck drive away from goal

Sucharewycz was handed his first minutes of the season on seventy-four minutes as he came on in place of the tiring Simms in the centre of defence, adding height to the Pitmen's attack at corner kicks in the process


Blair wasted a good chance to get the Pitmen back into the game on seventy-five minutes as his curling, swerving free-kick drifted wide of Newnes' right-hand post 


For Kendal, well they could have made the scoreline very embarrassing with ten minutes remaining as Wright fluffed a chance to make it 4-1 with a mis-hit shot from close-range that ended up wide of Gilmartin's post

The game petered out as a contest in the final minutes with both sides accepting their relative fates, with Tom Marshall's late header skimming the top of the crossbar from a Forsdick corner on eighty-nine minutes

A depressing result for the Pitmen and one that sees them drop to eighth place in the league table after being handed a deserved first home defeat of the season. Improvements will be needed come Monday night when the Pitmen make the trip up the M6 to face Ashton United at Hurst Cross

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Meakin-Richards, Adams, Ward (Blair 62), Marshall, Simms (Sucharewycz 74), Dyer, MacPherson ©, Knox, Heath, Forsdick      Sub Unused: Adam

Kendal Town: Newnes, Henry (Forbes 80), Woods, Hallam, Whittal-Williams, Fowler, Byrne (Hobson 23), Warburton, Arnison, Wright (Leigh 84), Mulvaney      Subs Unused: None