UniBond Northern Premier League


Potter (16), Cumiskey (42)

Hednesford Town

Davies (87)

(2) 2

(0) 1



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Ben Scott


Prescot Cables (H) 16.2.08

The Pitmen's consistently inconsistent season continued this evening on Merseyside as play-off chasing Marine took all three points in tonight's league clash at Rossett Park


Having been boosted by their first win in seven games on Saturday, Hednesford manager Phil Starbuck made only one change to his side for tonight's game as there was one change to the starting line-up against Lincoln on Saturday as Mario Pedro was rewarded for his bright cameo by returning to the side in place of David Brown. Utility man Anthony Maguire had recovered from his long-standing injury sufficiently to be named amongst the substitutes, with Tom Marshall still likely to be a week or two away from full fitness after going through a lengthy warm-up before the game

Marine - currently occupying sixth place in the league table - had been without a league game since beating Frickley on 26th January, leaving Alvin McDonald's side a point adrift of the chasing pack going into tonight's game. McDonald made three change to his side for tonight's game as goalkeeper Andy Banks returned to the side in place of Andy Brown, Adam Farley replaced Paul Woolcott and Peter Cumiskey came back into the side up front in place of Kevin Towey

Marine started the game well and set the tone for the first half with their first attack in the second minute; Karl O'Donnell picked a loose ball up from outside the penalty area before hitting a sweet shot that keeper Ben Scott saved brilliantly by tipping over the bar. Good strike, great save

A corner kick straight off the training ground from the hosts in the eighth minute saw O'Donnell's inswinging ball flicked on by skipper James Connolly at the near post and into the path of Darren Brookfield, only for the midfielder to sidefoot his effort over the crossbar from eight yards out

The Pitmen's first sight at goal came in the twelfth minute as Ross Dyer intercepted a pass from Phil Brazier and drove into the penalty area, only to get his angles all wrong and curl a shot well wide of goal and into the small band of Hednesford supporters gathered behind the goal

Scott denied former Vauxhall Motors man O'Donnell again in the fifteenth minute, tipping the forward's rising effort over the bar once more for a Marine corner. It proved to be a decisive flag-kick as the resultant ball in found Freddie Potter, who fired a low shot past the unsighted Scott to give the home side the lead. Yet again, more questionable marking from the men in blue in the lead up to the goal

Marine continued to dominate the play and chances in the opening quarter of the game, with O'Donnell again making Scott work on nineteen minutes with a long-range effort that the former Lincoln United keeper turned away from goal 


From the resultant O'Donnell corner, Brookfield fired just wide of Scott's far post as the ball sailed over everyone's heads and dropped kindly for him from six yards out 

At the other end... well, not a lot really. The Pitmen's options in attack were limited, to say the least, in a terribly disappointing first half-hour that will have left Starbuck feeling frustrated once more at his players' lack of consistency and character. New skipper Wayne Dyer had the best chance of the half for the away side on twenty-nine minutes as he strode into the Marine penalty area following a pass from Rob Davies, only for his effort to be easily saved by Banks

The overworked Scott was back in action to keep the Pitmen in contention as he denied Brookfield again on thirty-four minutes by turning the midfielder's goalbound flick away from the foot of his near post

Brookfield was denied by Scott again three minutes later as Cumiskey got the better of Ben Brown and laid the ball off to his team-mate, only for Scott to once again come up with a timely stop

Despite the keeper's heroics, he could not prevent the hosts from going further in front three minutes before half-time. A cross from Potter dropped to Cumiskey in the area, with the other former Vauxhall Motors striker swivelling on the ball and firing home unchallenged from ten yards out

It had been a dreadful first-half showing from the away side, who had looked devoid of ideas going forwards and looked porous at the back with Cumiskey and O'Donnell leading their mix and match defence a merry dance

Potter almost added to the Pitmen's woes on fifty-one minutes as he strode forwards to get on the end of a flowing move involving Cumiskey and Eddie Hussin to strike the foot of the post with a flow bobbling shot from an angle

On-loan Tom Birch did well to snuff out the danger four minutes later as a quickly-taken free-kick from Hussn played Ian Latham free down the left-wing, with Birch doing well to stretch and deflect the full-back's dangerous cross behind for yet another Marine corner kick

Mario Pedro's neat piece of skill on the pristine Rossett Park surface saw him step inside two challenges on the hour mark, but sent over a cross that was a yard or so too high for Ross Dyer to attack

The Pitmen made a small tweak to their formation and started to play a more direct game to get the powerful, but limited, Rory May into the game. The big man headed over the crossbar with what was essentially his first contribution of the game on sixty-three minutes as his back-flick from a Sheppard cross dipped over Banks's crossbar 

David Brown came on in place of Chad Sheppard on sixty-six minutes to add more flair to the away side's attack and immediately got into the game with a run and shot that was deflected away from goal by Potter on sixty-seven minutes

May's sheer presence got him into position to turn and fire in a shot that was well saved by Banks a minute later as he out-muscled Connolly to get to a Pedro pass

The Pitmen's second substitution of the evening was another attacking one as striker Alan Nagington came on in place of full-back Ross Adams on seventy-two minutes; this saw David Brown switching to an unfamiliar right-back/wing-back role to cover for Adams being taken off

Davies - not proving as influential as his fine debut performance on Saturday - almost got the Pitmen back into the game with fifteen minutes left as his free-kick sailed through the crowd of players and took a desperate clearance off the line by Brazier to deny the midfielder his first goal for the Pitmen

Scott underlined his man of the match credentials with more fine goalkeeping as the game entered the final ten minutes; on eighty minutes he made a fine one-handed save to somehow tip Cumiskey's goalbound header away from goal as the striker looked to loop his effort into the far corner of the net


Three minutes later, O'Donnell was also denied again by Scott, who once again came to the Pitmen's rescue as he parried the striker's strike away at his near post for a Marine corner


Despite being firmly second best for the majority of the game, the Pitmen set up a grandstand finish with the lifeline of a goal three minutes from time. Davies picked the loose ball up in the centre of the pitch as was afforded too much time and space to compose himself before unleashing a low shot from long range that beat Banks for pace and settling in the corner of the net to give the visitors hope

A frenetic finish to the game saw both sides pick up two cautions each as Hednesford pressed with purpose and Marine defended stoutly. However, Marine held on to record a fine win that lifts them above both Buxton and Eastwood Town into fourth place and back into one of the play-off positions

The Pitmen remain in eighth position, but having played a game more than most of the clubs below them and with only a point separating the six clubs below them in a tightly-congested league table. Saturday sees the Pitmen return to Keys Park to face Marine's Merseyside rivals Prescot Cables, looking to complete a league double over the Hope Street side having beaten them 5-2 on Boxing Day

Marine: Banks, Potter, Brazier, Farley, Connolly ©, Hussey, Brookfield (Woolcott 89), Hussin, O’Donnell, Cumiskey, Latham      Subs Unused: Tuck, Jardine

Hednesford Town: Scott, Hall, Adams (Nagington 72), Davies, B. Brown, Birch, R. Dyer, Sheppard (D. Brown 66), May, Pedro, W. Dyer ©      Sub Unused: Maguire