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Zamaretto Southern Premier League


Corbett (3)

Hednesford Town

Quinn (13), Wellecomme (60)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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Dan Crane


Salisbury City (A) 8.1.11

The Pitmen finally returned to Zamaretto Premier League action this afternoon with a superb win over fellow play-off challengers Leamington at the New Windmill Ground in the club's first game of 2011

A lot has happened since the Pitmen's defeat to Windsor & Eton early in December which had now been scrubbed from the records following Windsor's liquidation. The dreadful weather of December had seen the whole month written off due to a combination of frozen, snowy and waterlogged pitches up and down the country as games against Bashley, Didcot Town, Swindon Supermarine and Halesowen Town were all postponed. A number of players had come and gone throughout this period, with Gavin Hurren's move to Redditch United saw him replaced by new signing from Stafford Rangers, Ross Davidson. Kyle Patterson was moved to the substitute's bench in favour of another man signed from the Pitmen's deadly rivals in the form of striker Nick Wellecomme. Decio Gomes made his full debut in his third spell at the club, replacing Ashley Woolliscroft, who had returned to parent club AFC Telford after his loan period expired. Another loanee, Jake Moult, was also replaced as he returned to Alfreton Town, with Jamey Osborne back in the side after injury

Leamington themselves had not played in over five weeks, last playing on 27th November in a 1-1 draw at local rivals Banbury United. Manager Paul Holleran made three changes to his side after such a long lay-off as ex-Pitman Scott Lycett, skipper Lee Downes and James Husband replaced Michael Touhy, Guy Sanders and James Rowe

A free-kick conceded by Jay Denny was floated into the Pitmen's penalty area, causing panic in the ranks. Former Hednesford loanee Luke Corbett was first to pounce on the loose ball, slotting past Dan Crane from close range

The Pitmen were stunned into action, with Danny Quinn giving the Leamington defence a nightmare with his constant movement and work rate. His efforts were rewarded on thirteen minutes, as a brilliant Jay Denny ball over the top played in Quinn. He out-paced the Brakes defence and calmly slotted past Tony Breedon in the Leamington goal

Quinn had a great chance to put the Pitmen in front on twenty minutes but cleared the crossbar with his rising shot. Three minutes later, he linked up well with Wellecomme, but the new boy was flagged for offside as he shaped to shoot

Yet another man with Hednesford connections, Matt Lewis, should have given Leamington the lead again just before the half-hour mark; Corbett beat Gomes for pace down the right, before cutting the ball back to Lewis, who was presented with an open goal six yards out. However, the former Keys Park loanee somehow skewed his shot straight at Crane when it looked easier to score

Osborne's injury problems came back to bite again on thirty-six minutes, as he limped off for the second time in three games - he was replaced by Simon Brown in a like-for-like swap

Lewis's day went from bad to worse on thirty-nine minutes, when he wasted Leamington's best chance to put daylight between the sides again. Corbett's pace was again a factor, as he raced onto a loose ball with Gomes. The Portuguese defender clumsily challenged Corbett, only succeeding in bringing him down just inside the penalty area. The referee awarded a penalty to the Brakes, with Lewis stepping up to take the kick. However, his effort will rank amongst the worst penalties seen in recent times, as his weak sidefooted effort was easily saved by Crane down to his left

Despite this let-off, Hednesford still struggled to get out of their own half, and Corbett continued to terrorise the away side's defence. Just before half time, his run and shot was well fielded by Crane, who made a good save low down to his right

The final action of a frenetic first half saw Davidson pick the ball up in midfield, before advancing on the area and driving towards goal, only to be denied by Breeden

Hednesford's half time team talks seemed to have the desired effect, as the Pitmen enjoyed a more profitable second half. Quinn struck a warning shot on fifty-two minutes, firing across Breedon's goal with a snapshot

Wellecomme and Quinn were already showing pleasing signs of picking up an understanding, playing a neat one-two with each other on the edge of the area on fifty-four minutes to open up the Leamington defence. however, Wellecomme snatched at his shot and fired well wide of goal 

After Lewis had wasted another good chance for the hosts, Wellecomme stepped up to make an impact on the game on the hour mark. Breeden's free-kick was flat and lacked distance, allowing Chris Clements to pick up the ball and play a superb through ball into the path of Wellecomme. The former Stafford man composed himself and lobbed the onrushing Breeden from twenty yards out to give the Pitmen the lead

The Pitmen were on the front foot at this point, with Quinn beating two tired-looking Leamington challenges before firing just wide of Breeden's left-hand post

Clements was next to try his luck, striking a free-kick straight into Breedon's midriff after Denny had won the set-piece with a powerful run before being fouled

Brakes substitute James Rowe went closest to bringing the Brakes level on seventy minutes, hitting a firm low shot that was well saved by the Pitmen's man of the match Crane

Marvin Robinson was introduced as the game entered the final ten minutes, coming on in place of Quinn as Rob Smith looked to hang on to the advantage his strikers had given the team

Rowe went closest to getting a late equaliser for the Brakes in the final moments, scuffing a volley just wide of goal as the hosts threw everything at the Pitmen in a final attempt to claw back a point from the game

After a run of inconsistent form for the Pitmen, this is a welcome win over a side likely to be in the play-off mix come the end of the season. With a run of games against a number of sides in and around the top six to come in the next few weeks, Rob Smith will want more of the same if Hednesford are to remain in contention amongst the top four in the tough forthcoming weeks 

Leamington: Breeden, Lycett, Morley (Taylor 87), Downes ©, Hood, Daly, Jackson (Tuohy 87), Husband, Lewis (Rowe 58), Corbett, Batchelor     Subs Unused: Wilding, Sanders

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Osborne (Brown 36), Clements, Wellecomme, Quinn (Robinson 82), Davidson       Subs Unused: Keenan, Bailey, Patterson

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