UniBond Northern Premier League

Lincoln United

Hednesford Town

Pedro (68), May (80)

(0) 0

(0) 2



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Rob Davies


Marine (A) 12.2.08

The Pitmen recent spluttering form was given a shot in the arm this afternoon as they saw off rock-bottom Lincoln United at Ashby Avenue with two second-half goals to record their first win in seven games


Manager Phil Starbuck swung the axe on his underperforming players after their hammering at Frickley Athletic last week, making five changes to his side from last Saturday's game. Out went David Eyres, Paul Robinson, Mario Pedro, Alan Nagington and Chris White, replaced by Tom Birch, David Brown, Rory May, Chad Sheppard and new signing Rob Davies. Starbuck's other new boy, the exotically named N'Diwa Lord-Kananga, filled one of the places on the bench

Lincoln had been in woeful form in recent times, sinking to the foot of the table after Frickley's recent spike in form. They had failed to win any of their last fifteen games, dating back to October and had overseen a high turnover of players since John Ramshaw had left the club back in November. Recently-appointed manager Mark Swan made two changes to the side that had lost 2-0 at Guiseley last week as Andy Potter came in for James Thompson and Andy Toyne returned in place of Tom Mallinson

Amidst the leafy, but cool, surroundings of Ashby Avenue, the all-blue Pitmen started well, with former West Brom man Davies immediately getting time on the ball in midfield as he looked to get his new side moving. One incisive pass from Davies in the fifth minute picked out Pedro on the right, only for the winger to lose possession at the crucial moment and allow Gary Walters to intercept

A former Pitman found himself in the wars in the sixth minute, as ex-Hednesford winger Chris Adam collided with keeper Ben Scott as the pair challenged for a bouncing ball just outside the Pitmen's penalty area. Adam came off worst in the clash and required a lengthy bout of attention. Despite playing on for a few moments, Adam had to admit defeat in the ninth minute and was taken off by the hosts as he required further attention

The Pitmen were clearly in the mood to shake off the depressing manner of defeat a week previously, and they pushed the struggling home side back with a number of attacks and set-pieces. Rory May, playing for only the second time since joining the club, was making life difficult for the Lincoln defenders, using his giant frame to create a chance for Ross Dyer in the twelfth minute as he bundled Ashley Foyle out of the way and played Dyer in on goal, only for the youngster to completely slice his shot into the tall trees behind the goal


May turned creator for David Brown four minutes later, chesting the ball into the path of the winger, who was also too keen to try his luck from long-range and fired well over the crossbar

For Lincoln, there were brief moments of pressure during the first quarter as Toyne fired wide of goal for the hosts a minute later minutes after good play from Gio Carchedi had laid the ball into his path


Karl Colley also threatened for the hosts on eighteen minutes as Scott Brough's cross was partially cleared by ex-Lincoln man Ben Brown and into the path of the midfielder, only for his low shot to sail harmlessly wide of Scott's goal


Colley tested Scott's reflexes sixty seconds later as he attempted a half-volley from eighteen yards out that the Pitmen's number one dealt with without being seriously tested

David Brown could have improved his already impressive starts-to-goals ratio on twenty-one minutes but pulled his shot wide of goal after Ross Dyer had set him up with a next pass through the left-hand side of the Lincoln defence

 Ben Brown almost scored against his former club on twenty-six minutes but found Lincoln goalkeeper Lee Walker in his way as the stopper nicked the ball off the toes of the centre-back with the pair challenging for a Sheppard corner kick

Lincoln responded with a sequence of corner kicks on the right that tested the Pitmen's fragile resolve in defence, with club captain Tom Marshall still missing through a long term shin splints injury but inching towards a return to action

Potter was lucky not to end up in the book on thirty-three minutes after pulling back Sheppard in midfield and bringing the former Birmingham City player down. Sheppard reacted to the foul negatively and was also talked to by the match official for a bout of dissent

The Pitmen were enjoying plenty of possession in the Lincoln half but doing very little with it, with Ross Dyer setting up namesake Wayne on thirty-nine minutes after a great run down the left and crossing for the midfielder, who scuffed his shot well wide of goal

Ross Dyer firing wide on forty-two minutes after Sam Hall's presence of mind saw him win the ball from Toyne and slip the ball through to the striker through the inside right position


 David Brown was presented with the Pitmen's final chance of the first half as he picked up May's downward header but took too long to shoot and was tackled by Foyle inside the area before he could get his effort away

Despite their lowly league position, Lincoln had played some decent football in spells throughout the first half and continued to play some good stuff in the second half. Neat play involving Toyne and Colley on forty-eight minutes played Glass into a good position, only for the covering Adams to make a smothering tackle


 May continued his bullying of the Lincoln defence into the second period as he got the better of Foyle on fifty-three minutes with a turn and shot wide of goal after good play from Davies

A minute later, Starbuck made an early substitution as he looked to grab the all-important opening goal as Pedro came on for David Brown in a like-for-like swap on the right-wing

Pedro was straight into the action as he made a break down the right to play a quick one-two with Adams on fifty-eight minutes and cross towards Dyer, only for the striker to narrowly miss the cross at the far post

May headed a Sheppard free-kick high over the crossbar two minutes later before the away side's persistence finally paid off as with substitute Mario grabbed the all-important goal on sixty-four minutes. A corner from the excellent Davies was touched on by both Ross Dyer and May, allowing the Portuguese winger to turn the ball home from close in

The goal seemed to settle the Pitmen's nerves and they played some neat and confident football through the midfield areas with the excellent Davies linking up well with Sheppard. One such spell of play saw Davies spray a sixty-yard ball straight into the feet of Pedro, who was unlucky to see the ball caught under his feet as he looked to take it past Walters

Ben Brown was again off-target for the Pitmen on seventy-one minutes as he glanced Sheppard's free-kick across the face of goal and away from danger; Lincoln broke quickly through Brooks, whose slide-rule pass found Glass, only for on-loan Tom Birch to just do enough to push the striker wide and scuff his shot

Lincoln substitute Tom Mallinson saw his bobbling effort from the edge of the penalty area easily saved by former Lincoln man Scott on seventy-six minutes before Foyle got underneath a corner kick from Potter and headed high over the crossbar two minutes as the hosts pressed for a leveller

However, it was the visitors who wrapped up the three points with ten minutes to go; Pedro's run down the right saw him cross for Ross Dyer, whose headed back across the face of goal and into the path of May, who could not miss from close-range to score his first goal for the club

Lincoln's goal threat subsided after the Pitmen had doubled their advantage, with the visitors looking to add to their total in the final few minutes of the game. Pedro had been bright and inventive since coming on, drifting inside from the wing and beating Walters before electing to shoot from a tight angle rather than square the ball to the unmarked May

In the final minute of the game, Davies tried his luck with a David Beckham-esque free-kick up and over the Lincoln wall that curled beyond the reach of Walker but also wide of the right-hand post

A morale-boosting win for the beleaguered Pitmen, coupled with favourable results elsewhere, moves them up to an unbelievable eighth place in the league from their fourteenth place at the start of the day. Despite this win, you still feel that the Pitmen will be looking behind them rather than above them, at least until they have chalked up another three or four wins anyway. Starbuck's side face another trip on Tuesday night as they travel up to Merseyside to face play-off chasing Marine at Rossett Park

Lincoln United: Walker, Brough , Walters, Toyne (Tyler 76), Foyle, Colley, Woolley (Mallinson 33), Potter, Glass, Carchedi, Adam (Forbes-Swindell 9)       Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Scott, Hall, Adams, Davies, B. Brown, Birch , R. Dyer, Sheppard, May , D. Brown (Pedro 54), W. Dyer ©      Subs Unused: Nagington, Lord-Kananga