Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Bell (13), (21), (28), (48), McSweeney (79)

King's Lynn

Bloomfield (49)

(3) 5

(0) 1



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Andy Bell



Grantham Town (A) 16.11.04

The Pitmen turned in their best display of the season to return to winning ways in style this afternoon as they swept away basement side King's Lynn at Keys Park courtesy of a striking masterclass from Andy Bell

Player/manager Chris Brindley - looking for a response from his side after a run of indifferent performances and no wins in their last three games - made one change to his starting XI from the one that drawn against Bath City in midweek as skipper Carl Palmer brushed off his recent injury woes to replace Lee Williams in midfield. Despite reports in the press the previous day to the contrary, Bell was passed fit to start despite being expected to miss the game due to a knee injury

King's Lynn had endured a nightmare run of league games in recent weeks and arrived at Keys Park rock bottom of the table after failing to win any of their last five Southern Premier League games. New manager Tommy Taylor had seen his side make progress in the F.A. Trophy last weekend with a 2-0 win over league rivals Gloucester City and made one change to his side for today's game as Lee Stevenson replaced Chris Bacon

Tuesday night's game had started with a real bang, with chances at both ends early on. Today's game started in precisely the opposite tone, with both sides happy to sit back and allow the other to have the ball in front of them and limit opportunities

It took until the thirteenth minute of the game for either side to register a shot, with the Pitmen striking a blow with the first real foray into King's Lynn territory; a free-kick from Lee Barrow was headed down at the far post by Richard Teesdale, falling at the feet of Bell who turned past Danny Hammond and fired a low shot beyond Steve Wilson from ten yards out for his thirteenth goal of the season

Bell was in the mood to add to his tally two minutes later, breaking past the hapless Hammond once more to get on the end of a searching pass from Palmer, only to be denied by Wilson on this occasion as the former Kettering Town goalkeeper turned the ball away for a corner kick

King's Lynn's first real sight at goal came in the sixteenth minute as an inswinging corner kick from the experienced David Staff was met by the head of Stevenson at the far post, but his effort sailed into the crowd from eight yards out

On a bright and sunny afternoon in South Staffordshire, the conditions appeared to have a hand in the Pitmen being handed a penalty kick a minute later as Barrow's long ball towards saw Stevenson lose the ball in the sunshine and handled the ball as he tried to clear his lines ahead of Leon McSweeney. McSweeney placed the ball and took the resultant penalty kick, but Wilson guessed right and made a good save low down to his right-hand side to tip the Irishman's weakly-struck kick away from goal

Bell showed McSweeney how it should be done just three minutes later as Mark Camm's untimely slip saw him allow Anthony Maguire's through ball to bypass him and find Bell in behind him, with the home side's top scorer taking the ball around Wilson and slotted home from an angle, despite the best attempts of Nick Matthews to keep the ball out of the net

The Pitmen were rampant at this stage and looked like scoring every time they entered the King's Lynn penalty area. McSweeney's quick one-two with Bell on twenty-three minutes played Matt Turner into space down the right, with the winger's pull-back finding Palmer just inside the King's Lynn box. The midfielder went for placement rather than power and saw his shot deflected away by the covering Gary Setchell

A rare King's Lynn attack sixty seconds later saw striker Danny Bloomfield played in behind Barrow by Camm's fine pass, only for his left-footed effort to lack directions and fail to test Ryan Young at his near post

Brindley headed into the Hednesford end two minutes later, rising to meet a well-taken Maguire corner kick from the right that caught the visitors' defence ball-watching momentarily

Bell completed his first-half hat-trick on twenty-eight minutes, once again making a run in behind a static King's Lynn defence as McSweeney played him through with a fine pass, with Bell's initial shot parried by Wilson but falling kindly to the frontman a second time, allowing him to turn the ball home at the second attempt

The hosts were well in control of the game and slowed the pace of the game down after a manic ten-minute spell that had been fantastic entertainment for much of the 460-strong crowd. Turner's wing play on thirty-three minutes saw him trick his way past Setchell and stand up a cross to the far post, where Bell was not quite able to turn the ball home as he stretched to reach the ball without success

Grant Beckett made a good run down the left flank to collect a pass from youngster Mark Branch four minutes later, pulling the ball back to Maguire, who in turn teed up Palmer. The Hednesford skipper let fly from nearly thirty yards out but his effort lacked any kind of direction and ended up clearing the Hednesford end stand

Carl Holmes was the first player to have his name taken by referee Mr Williams on forty minutes as he petulantly kicked the ball away after the hosts had been awarded a free-kick on halfway 

With three minutes of the half remaining, Bell turned provider for McSweeney as he won a free-kick and took it quickly, looking to catch King's Lynn off guard once more as he played McSweeney in. However, McSweeney was caught on his heels and the ball ran away from him as he looked to get his shot away from fifteen yards out

The Pitmen were given a warm reception from the supporters at the end of the half, having put their opponents to the sword with an uncompromising attacking display and some lethal finishing from Bell

The Pitmen's hat-trick hero was at it again just three minutes after the restart as he extended the hosts' lead and grabbed his fourth goal of the afternoon on forty-nine minutes; Beckett was the provider as he looked up and played an inch-perfect ball into the path of Bell, who brought the ball under his control before firing past Wilson from twelve yards out with a half-volley

The Linnets provided a swift response to going four goals down as they grabbed a goal back just sixty seconds later - Stevenson's ball into the Hednesford penalty area appeared to catch the hosts out as they seemed to leave it to each other, allowing Bloomfield to nip in and fire past Young from eight yards out

The Pitmen continued to press and Bell was a continual threat with his movement and used his growing understanding with McSweeney to good effect. Bell's fine pass to Turner on fifty-four minutes played the winger into acres of space down the right, with Turner seeing his deep cross headed wide at the far post by the incoming Maguire on the far side of the penalty area

Maguire's chipped free-kick on fifty-eight minutes was headed back across goal by Teesdale, but a combination of Wilson's presence and McSweeney's poor finishing saw the ball bundled behind for a corner kick 

The visitors appeared to lose their discipline for a spell as Staff was shown a yellow card just after the hour mark for a foul on Branch and was followed into the book by substitute Craig Fishlock five minutes later as he hauled down a rampaging Bell

Excellent play from Palmer on sixty-seven minutes saw the midfield man hold off two challenges in midfield before playing McSweeney into space to the right of the King's Lynn penalty area. The striker showed great feet to beat Stevenson and work the ball onto his left foot, but curled his shot from eighteen yards out just wide of Wilson's right-hand post

Teesdale was the first man in white to receive a yellow card in the game on seventy-one minutes as he was penalised for a clumsy challenge on Staff down the King's Lynn left

Bell forced Wilson into a regulation save on seventy-three minutes as the ball sat up nicely for him to try his luck with a half-volley from twenty yards out after good play from Beckett

McSweeney was still searching for that elusive goal for his efforts and lifted a powerfully struck shot inches over the crossbar on seventy-six minutes as he took the ball from the halfway line to the edge of the King's Lynn penalty area

Bell nearly made it five for him and the Pitmen sixty seconds later as he somehow scooped a superb low cross from Turner over the crossbar from just six yards out as he slid in ahead of Fishlock

McSweeney's moment of glory arrived with eleven minutes remaining as he atoned for his penalty miss with the Pitmen's fifth goal of a fruitful afternoon. Wilson had denied Palmer initially by turning his header from a Bell cross around the post for a corner, but Maguire's resultant flag-kick eventually bounced to the McSweeney ten yards from goal to lash the ball home through a crowd of players 

The hosts made a double change before the game could restart as Marlon Walters came on in place of the tiring Palmer and teenager Jack Rogers made his Hednesford debut as he replaced Turner

Both sides seemed resigned to the scoreline and the pace of the game dropped once more. The Pitmen's final substitution of the afternoon came with five minutes remaining as assistant manager Steve Anthrobus replaced Bell, who received a standing ovation from all sides of the ground for his superb display

It had been a superb display from the Pitmen, who had shown real quality in all areas of the pitch throughout the ninety minutes to leave the Keys Park crowd purring at a fine rounded display from their side. With strength in depth in many areas, it is hoped that Brindley's side can start to shake off some of their early-season inconsistency and start to climb the table in the coming weeks with no F.A. Cup games to concern them and an F.A. Trophy campaign that does not start until January. Bell and McSweeney are proving to be a deadly combination against all-comers as their partnership continues to blossom, which they will look to take into Tuesday night's trip to the South Kesteven Stadium when they travel to mid-table dwellers Grantham Town

Hednesford Town: Young; Teesdale , Branch, Barrow, Brindley, Beckett, Maguire, Palmer © (Walters 80), Bell (Anthrobus 85), McSweeney, Turner (Rogers 80)     Subs Unused: Williams, Evans

King's Lynn: Wilson, Jones, Setchell, Matthews (Finchlock 50 ), Hammond, Camm, Stevenson (Bacon 61), Holmes ▆ (Blake 66), Bloomfield, Clarke, Staff ▆       Subs Unused: Defty, McAnally

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