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UniBond Northern Premier League


Parle (64)

Hednesford Town

Sucharewycz (53)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Ryan Young


Gateshead (H) 31.3.07

Ten-man Hednesford earned themselves a battling draw against a Marine side just below them in the league table this afternoon as the race for the play-offs hosts up

 Manager Phil Starbuck had almost a full squad to pick from for the first time in many weeks, with Gary Sucharewycz coming back into the side in place of Ross Adams in one of four changes to the side that had been beaten at Burscough last week. Skipper Chris White also returned after injury and replaced Jamie March, whilst Starbuck dropped himself to accommodate the return of Phil Hadland. The final change to the XI came up front as Danny Bacon dropped to the bench to make way for top scorer Darren Alexander

Marine sat a point and a place below the Pitmen in the table going into today's clash after beating fellow play-off chasers Guiseley at Nethermoor last Saturday. Manager Alvin McDonald stuck with the same side that had beaten Guiseley last week as he looked to overtake today's visitors and move into the top four

Referee Mr Hilton was to prove overly fussy and needlessly broke the play up on several occasions to brandish needless yellow cards and lecture various players. His first act was to book Sucharewycz in just the second minute for a slightly mistimed challenge on Peter Cumiskey. It was to prove to be a costly early caution for the returning Sucharewycz later in the game


Ryan Young was the first of the two goalkeepers into action as he reacted well to save from Ian Latham's shot in the fifth minute after a comedy of errors in the Hednesford defence saw them fail to clear a Darren Brookfield free-kick on multiple occasions


The Hednesford stopper had to be alert once more three minutes later as he held a long-range effort from Cumiskey after Brookfield had played the ball into his path

  There was a huge let-off for the visitors on eleven minutes when the unfortunate Whittaker - once again playing horribly out of position - was caught out at right wing-back and allowed the burly Cumiskey to get in behind him, but his effort flew over the crossbar as Young covered his near post well to deny him a clear sight at goal

 Jon Douglas was still looking for his first goal for the Pitmen after his move last week from Grantham Town and forced Marine's vastly experienced goalkeeper Andy Banks into a good save two minutes later with a low drive through the Marine defence

Marine striker Nicky Young saw his rising shot deflected wide of goal on eighteen minutes as Tom Marshall managed to get enough on the ball to turn it past the post

Midway through the first period, home midfielder Lee Parle robbed a dallying White of the ball just inside the centre circle and played Phil Brazier into space down the right-wing. The former Liverpool youngster crossed to the far post, where Cumiskey's downward header was claimed at his post by Young

On twenty-nine minutes, Eddie Hussin's misplaced pass towards Parle was seized upon by Beattie, who tried his luck with an optimistic lob over Banks from thirty-five yards out that lacked the carry on the ball and bounced into the arms of Banks

Brookfield was lucky not to be shown a yellow card by Mr Hilton on thirty-three minutes as he brought Hadland down out on the Hednesford left and was let off by the lenient official

The Pitmen had been limited in the Marine third thus far, with Dyer doing well to get into the home side's penalty area on thirty-seven minutes with a powerful run past two players but his shot was straight into the arms of Banks


Two minutes later, Beattie received a pass from Alexander as he ran beyond the striker and into the Marine penalty area, only to see his low shot deflected away by the legs of the alert Banks

Both teams had looked a little shot-shy in the first half and had lacked the ability to apply the finish to any of the chances that had been handed to them. McDonald's half-time talk saw his side emerge the stronger of the two sides and Cumiskey went close to breaking the deadlock on forty-nine minutes as  Cumiskey testing Young again with a low shot that the Pitmen's number one turned around the post for a Marine corner

Beattie had picked up a knock late on in the first period and had struggled to shake it off in the early stages of the second half; he was forced off the pitch a minute later after admitting defeat and was replaced by Bacon. It was a sad end to Beattie's loan spell at Keys Park, as he returns to Coca Cola Championship side Preston North End on Monday after his month's loan

Alexander produced one of his dynamic runs on fifty-two minutes, holding off a challenge from skipper James Connolly and forcing Banks into a save down to his right-hand side

 The Pitmen sensed a goal was in the offing and got their noses in front a minute later; Bacon assumed corner kick duties after coming on a swung in a fine cross from the right that was met by the head of Sucharewycz, whose looping header cleared the reach of Banks and into the corner of the net


Whittaker almost doubled the Pitmen's advantage in double-quick time as he made a run into the Marine penalty area on fifty-seven minutes to meet a cross from Hadland, but headed wide of the target with only Banks to beat

Bacon's corner kick on fifty-nine minutes was cleared by the Marine defence and the home side broke quickly as a result. Parle played Cumiskey into space behind the Hednesford defence, with Sucharewycz racing back but only succeeding in bringing the striker down. Mr Hilton had little option but to show the centre-back a second yellow card for the foul and sent him off the field of play - one of a handful of decisions the man in the middle got right all afternoon

The red card lifted Marine and they took control of the game with a period of pressure on the Hednesford defence, which had been plugged by Alexander dropping back to cover for the loss of Sucharewycz. Cumiskey headed wide from Latham cross on sixty-one minutes as he got across the front of Alexander to meet the ball in to the near post

 It came as little surprise that the home side got back on level terms three minutes later. Brookfield's pass into the Hednesford penalty area fell to Parle, who was given time and space to pick his spot and fire under the body of Young from twelve yards out

 Despite being a man light, the Pitmen continued to create openings as they looked to grab an unlikely winner to keep the teams behind them at bay. Whittaker - now playing further forwards as part of the reshuffle involving Alexander after the Sucharewycz red card - took a pot-shot at Banks's goal on seventy-two minutes but lifted his effort high over the crossbar

Latham's last contribution to the game came with fifteen minutes remaining as he got the better of Dyer and Adams down the left flank and cut inside down the byeline before attempting to pick out Young, only for a contribution of Marshall's presence and Young's lack of direction to turn the ball away from goal


With ten minutes to go, the Pitmen went close to grabbing a winner as Douglas saw his shot cleared off the line by Connolly, with the Marine skipper somehow getting something on the follow-up shot from Bacon before Hussin completed the clearance


The visitors had a golden opportunity to grab a late winner with six minutes remaining as Dyer crossed from the right to find Bacon, whose downward header came back off the post and into play once more

Marine were also close to snatching a winner on eighty-eight minutes as substitute Karl Noon's cross found the dangerous Cumiskey, but his miscued header from eight yards out drifted wide of the target with Young scrambling across to reach the ball

In added time, Tom Marshall made a run into the Marine penalty area and met White's low cross with a volley, but he could not keep his shot down and the ball sailed over the crossbar and into the Hednesford fans gathered behind Banks's goal


Despite fluffing their late chances, the Pitmen can be reasonably happy with their point from combative encounter against a side in much better form than themselves. They remain in fourth place in the table, two points ahead of both Guiseley and Marine with only seven games remaining. Next up - a home game against mid-table dwellers Gateshead at Keys Park and a chance to get back to winning ways after three games without a win

Marine: Banks, Brazier, McDermott, Farley, Connolly ©, Hussin, Brookfield, Parle, Young (Noon 65), Cumiskey, Latham (Hussey 77)       Sub Unused: Eaton

Hednesford Town: Young, Dyer, Hadland, White ©, Marshall, Sucharewycz ▆ ▆ (59), Beattie (Bacon 50), Screaton, Douglas, Alexander, Whittaker    Subs Unused: Pedro, Jenkins

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