6.1.2005

Southern Premier League

King's Lynn

Hednesford Town

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Lee Barrow

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Worcester City (H) 15.1.05

The Pitmen are held to their second goalless draw in three games this afternoon as they earn themselves a point at The Walks this afternoon against fellow mid-table dwellers King's Lynn

Chris Brindley's men had registered their first win of the New Year on Bank Holiday Monday after beating relegation-threatened Stamford at Keys Park. Brindley made just the one change to the side that had beaten the Daniels as Leon McSweeney was brought back into the side in place of Paul McMahon after serving the final of his three-match ban against Stamford

King's Lynn returned to The Walks after losing 1-0 at Bedford Town on Monday afternoon, ending their recent run of fine form that had seen the Linnets win their previous five games to lift them off the bottom of the table and into the middle of the pack. Manager Tommy Taylor also made only one change to his side for this afternoon's mid-table clash as Adam Jones came into then side at right-back in place of Nicky Blake

In front of an impressive crowd of just under 1,000, the game took a while to get going as both sides struggled to get to grips with the hard and bumpy Walks turf. The experienced Gary Setchell made an enterprising run down the left flank to get on the end of a slide-rule pass from Mark Camm in the seventh minute and sent over a deep cross to the far post, where eighteen-goal top scorer Danny Bloomfield was on hand to head well wide of goal under pressure from Lee Barrow

Three minutes later, Carl Palmer did well to win the ball from Carl Holmes and play the ball into the path of Andy Bell, whose superb turn took Danny Hammond out of play before Monday's goalscorer slipped it into the path of Anthony Maguire. The winger did well to work the ball onto his right foot on the corner of the penalty area but drilled his shot high and wide of goalkeeper Steve Wilson's goal

In the sixteenth minuteBarrow was once again on hand to deny Bloomfield as he slid in to deflect the ball away from the striker as he shaped to shoot twelve yards from goal after being played through by George Georgiou

Setchell delivered another fine ball into the Hednesford penalty area two minutes later, this time from a free-kick out on the left-wing that was flicked on at the near post by Jack Defty but straight into the arms of Ryan Young as Bloomfield lurked with intent in the six-yard box

Midway through the first half, Lee Williams played a delightful reverse pass into the path of Maguire, whose first-time pass found McSweeney in behind the static Linnets defence. However, an offside flag against the Irishman denied him a chance to fire past Wilson as the play was halted by referee Mr Wade

Defty and Holmes linked up in midfield to set up Mark Angel on twenty-five minutes, threading the ball through to the forward who managed to get the better of Ross Adams before lifting his shot from twenty yards out high over Young's crossbar

The reunited duo of bell and McSweeney combined to set Maguire up once more just before the half-hour mark, only for the winger to take a heavy touch as he entered the King's Lynn penalty area and allow Setchell to make a covering tackle

Three minutes later, Georgiou had the best chance of the game so far for the hosts as he timed his run to perfection to get in behind the Hednesford defence as Holmes played him in on goal. The striker elected to take an ill-advised extra touch rather than shoot as he tried to make a better angle for himself, taking the ball wide of goal before firing into the side-netting when a first-time shot would have been a better option

Richard Teesdale rose highest to meet an outswinging Maguire corner kick on thirty-six minutes, glancing the ball towards goal at the near post but seeing Setchell hack the ball away from a couple of yards out

Wilson was alert to the danger posed by McSweeney three minutes later as he rushed out of his goal to boot Palmer's long punt forwards away from the striker before McSweeney could reach the bouncing ball

Williams went closest for the visitors five minutes before the half-time whistle as he swung in a free-kick from twenty-five yards out that Wilson saw dip inches over his crossbar

Angel dragged a good effort wide for the Linnets on forty-three minutes as he got the better of Teesdale, holding off the attentions of the centre-back to latch onto a pass from Holmes but pulling his shot from fifteen yards out and sending it well wide of Young's far post

It had been a keenly-contested game between two well-matched sides thus far, with the Linnets edging the game on chances but the likes of Barrow and Young performing well for the hosts to ensure the game remained goalless

A good run from Grant Beckett three minutes after the restart saw the left-sided utility man skip past a challenge from Adam Jones and cross low to the near post, where Wilson fumbled the ball in front of Bell but did enough to parry the rebound away from the boot of the Pitmen's top scorer before he could turn the loose ball home

Camm and Angel played a quick one-two around Ross Adams on fifty-one minutes and sent over a cross to Bloomfield, whose volley back across goal was blocked by the excellent Barrow and away from goal

Barrow was involved at the other end for the visitors on fifty-six minutes as he found Maguire's half-cleared corner kick drop at his feet. The veteran centre-back tried to turn the ball home but found three Lynn players in the way and the danger was cleared

Palmer went on one of his lung-busting runs from deep in his own half to the edge of the King's Lynn penalty area on the hour mark but got the ball caught under his feet at the crucial time and could only toe-poke the ball straight into the hands of Wilson

On sixty-four minutes, the Pitmen made their only change of the afternoon as McMahon was introduced in place of Maguire; this saw the Pitmen shift formation with McSweeney playing as a right-sided forward to allow McMahon to play to the left of Bell in a 4-3-3 formation

King's Lynn continued to be a threat, particularly on the break, as Angel outpaced Adams two minutes later and cut the ball back into the path of Georgiou, whose scuffed effort was blocked well by that man Barrow once more. The ball ran to Bloomfield, whose follow-up shot flew high over Young's crossbar

With twenty minutes of the game remaining, the Linnets also elected to make one substitute in the entire game as the luckless Georgiou was replaced by Michael Deane up front as Taylor shuffled his pack in search of a winner

The home side's best move of the game came on seventy-five minutes as Wilson's long throw was picked up by Deane, who made up territory on the left wing before picking out Angel further down the flank with a fine pass. Setchell made a fine overlapping run to pick the ball up from Angel and crossed well for Defty, who somehow headed wide at the far post from three yards out. A great chance wasted by the hosts

McSweeney was the only player to have his name taken by Mr Wade on seventy-eight minutes as he was booked for sliding in on Hammond as the defender looked to clear the ball from the edge of his own penalty area

The hosts were cranking up the pressure on the Pitmen as the game entered the latter stages and earned themselves three successive corners with ten minutes left as they looked to grab that all-important opening goal. Camm headed down a Setchell corner kick into the six-yard box, only for the alert presence of Williams to clear the ball before Bloomfield could turn the ball home from close-range

A minute later, Jones supplied the ammunition from the right with a free-kick that was headed inches wide of the far post by Hammond, who arrived late into the penalty area to beat Teesdale to the ball

The Linnets did have the ball in the net with seven minutes remaining as Holmes turned an inswinging cross from Setchell home at the far post from a couple of yards out, only for a late offside flag on the main stand side to chalk the goal off. The Lynn players argued to Mr Wade that Holmes was onside and that the flag had been raised against Bloomfield, who was standing in an inactive position away from play

McMahon almost followed up his first Hednesford goal on Monday with another strike on eighty-five minutes as a quick counter from the Pitmen saw Palmer supply McSweeney down the right, with the former Leicester City man chipping the ball into the path of the substitute; his first time volley was powerful but lacked direction and struck his effort wide of Wilson's left-hand post

A frenetic final few minutes inside the Hednesford third of the pitch saw King's Lynn push hard for a winner; Bloomfield nodded Angel's cross tamely into the arms of Young on eighty-nine minutes, whilst Defty's curling free-kick a minute later cleared Young's crossbar with the stopper scrambling across his line to reach the shot

In the third minute of added time, Barrow cemented his fine man of the match display with another block at the near post to divert Deane's downwards header from Setchell's free-kick away from danger

The Pitmen can be content with a point earned at a vastly-improved Lynn side that they had easily disposed of at Keys Park back in November. However, a point apiece does little for any ambition to move up the league; both sides are marooned in the obscurity of mid-table, too good to be dragged into a relegation scrap but seemingly nowhere near consistent enough to be challenging for a play-off place. The 2004 F.A. Trophy winners take a well-earned break from league action next weekend as they look to defend their trophy when they face Conference North neighbours Worcester City at Keys Park in the third round of this season's competition

King's Lynn: S. Wilson, Jones, Setchell, Matthews, Hammond, Camm, Defty, Holmes, Georgiou (Deane 70), Bloomfield, Angel     Subs Unused: Blake, J. Wilson, Chick, Higgs

Hednesford Town: Young, Adams, Branch, Barrow, Teesdale, Williams, Maguire (McMahon 64), Palmer ©, Bell, McSweeney , Beckett      Subs Unused: Brindley, Brannan, Turner, Evans