UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Hanna (18)


Brookfield (61)

(1) 1

(0) 1



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Ben Brown


Eastwood Town (A) 19.1.08

Despite taking the lead in the first half, the Pitmen can feel content at earning themselves a good point against a high-flying Marine side in this New Year's Day fixture at Keys Park


There was a real surprise for supporters as they came through the turnstiles, as they were greeted with the sight of former Hednesford captain Chris White warming up with the Hednesford players, having rejoined the Pitmen in the morning following a spell playing and managing at league rivals Lincoln United. White was one of three changes to the side that been beaten at Worksop Town on Saturday as he replaced Gordon Simms, whilst Ross Dyer's neck injury sustained at Sandy Lane kept him out of the side and saw David Brown return to the starting XI. The final change saw the out-of-sorts Mario Pedro replaced on the wing by Anthony Maguire. Chris Adam had confirmed that he had made the opposite switch as White in midweek after joining Lincoln from the Pitmen


Third-placed Marine arrived at Keys Park off the back of an indifferent run of form with three defeats in the past four games. Manager Alvin McDonald made one change to his side from the one that had been narrowly beaten at Stamford on Saturday as Paul Woolcott came in for Wayne McDermott

A marauding run from Marine full-back Freddie Potter threatened to open up the Hednesford defence in the fifth minute as he made a surging run past three home players on a sixty-yard dribbled only to be denied a clear shot at goal on the edge of the penalty area by Paul Robinson

Wayne Dyer was to have the Pitmen's first real effort of note in the ninth minute in a slow-burner of a game as he escaped the attentions of Steve Hussey just inside the Marine half before driving into the Marine penalty area and drilling a low shot well wide of goal, rather than look to pick out the unmarked Chris Hanna


Left-back Ian Latham made a run deep into Hednesford territory in the twelfth minute and cut inside from the flank, only for Robinson to make yet another timely block to deny the defender on the corner of the penalty area

Dyer was the first player to have his name taken by the referee in the fifteenth minute after an overly aggressive challenge on Phil Brazier in the centre circle

It was the home side that took the lead three minutes later as Hanna snatching his second goal in three games since returning to the club on loan from Walsall; Alan Nagington's persistence down the right saw him beat two players before pulling the ball back to Hanna, who confidently slotted home from twelve yards out

Chad Sheppard - filling in at right-back with Ross Adams playing on the right side of central defence - was struggling to contain the tricky Lee Parle and made a last-ditch challenge to deny the midfielder a clear run on goal midway through the first half

Kevin Towey tested Rene Gilmartin with a low drive three minutes later, cutting in from the right and forcing the on-loan stopper to make a save at his near post


Gilmartin was called into action again on twenty-seven minutes, bravely making a save at the feet of Woolcott as the winger made a surging run into the penalty area

A good move involving White and Maguire forced a corner down the left for the Pitmen on thirty-two minutes, from which David Brown found Robinson lurking at the far post but headed wide of goal

Hanna really should have doubled his tally for the afternoon on thirty-seven minutes as he somehow failed to score from six yards out as he tamely hit a shot straight into the legs of Marine stopper Andy Banks after another fine delivery from David Brown down the right

The Pitmen forced two more corner kicks as a result of this corner kick, with the final ball in from Maguire headed agonisingly wide of the far post by Ben Brown, who was making his home debut following his post-Christmas switch from Lincoln United


A fine run from Maguire on forty-three minutes saw him play a low cross into the Marine penalty area but was behind both Hanna and Nagington. The ball was cleared back into the feet of Maguire, who saw his follow-up shot deflected behind for a corner kick

From Maguire's resultant kick, Robinson was once again off-target in the air as he leapt to meet the winger's deep cross at the far post but skewed his effort wide

It had been a keenly contested encounter so far, with Marine showing plenty of quality on the ball but struggling to create many clear-cut openings. the hosts had ridden their luck in places but had been good value for their lead

Dyer wasted the first real opening of the second period as he was picked out by Ross Adams from a free-kick on fifty minutes, but got his boot underneath the ball and lifted his shot from twenty yards out high over the crossbar and over the Hednesford end stand

Hanna went agonisingly close to doubling the home side's lead two minutes later as he met Maguire's free-kick eight yards from goal but saw his header come back off the crossbar. David Brown recycled the ball and clipped it back into the six-yard box, only for Marine to scramble the ball away

Parle was lucky to only receive a caution on fifty-seven minutes as his late challenge on White left the veteran midfielder requiring treatment and saw the Marine man receive a yellow card and a severe ticking off from the referee

From Robinson's resultant free-kick, Nagington did well to nip in and flick the ball goalwards with a backwards header, only for Banks to make an easy save

The Pitmen came to rue those missed chances at the start of the second period as Marine equalised with a slick move just after the hour mark. Peter Cumiskey's run was not checked by the Hednesford defence which allowed him to slip the ball through to Darren Brookfield, who confidently fired past the onrushing Gilmartin

Hanna had the ball in the net with Hednesford's next attack on sixty-four minutes, but a marginal offside decision against the striker from the assistant on the Wimblebury side pulled the play back

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on sixty-five minutes as Pedro came on in place of Nagington, who had struggled against the tall Marine central defenders

Marine striker Kevin Towey had two great chances to put the Mariners in front for the first time in the game in quick succession; his clever backheel towards goal on sixty-nine minutes was smuggled behind for a corner kick, with the same player seeing his shot blocked by Adams after the resultant corner kick was cleared off the line by Maguire and into Towey's path

Robinson was the latest player to pick up a yellow card on seventy-eight minutes after bringing down Potter in full flight. The Hednesford skipper then received his marching orders just a minute later as he purposely fell on the ball on the edge of the area to deny Marine the ball. Some felt that the decision was harsh, but Robinson will now be suspended for the upcoming game at Eastwood Town to add to the mounting injury issues faced by Starbuck

In a bid to counter Robinson's loss, the Pitmen made a swift tactical change with ten minutes of the game remaining as David Brown was sacrificed in favour of centre-back Simms

Pedro was straight into the action and forced Banks into a fine save on eighty-five minutes after a mazy run from the winger ended in a weak shot straight at the Marine stopper


Two minutes later, Marine substitute Shaun Tuck was picked out by Latham's cross only for the striker to pull his shot across the face of Gilmartin's goal and narrowly wide of the far post

The ten men of Hednesford managed to hold on to their point in the final minutes, despite Marine camping in the Pitmen's half in added time as they looked for a winner. The unavailability of Robinson will be another headache for the under-pressure Starbuck, still to convince many Hednesford supporters after eighteen months in charge that he is the man to take them back to the promised land of Conference North football. Play-off chasing Guiseley are the next side to come to Keys Park in a fortnight, with Starbuck likely to be busy once more in the transfer market now he has two weeks free of football to wheel and deal, as well as nurse some of his injured players back to fitness

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Adams, White, Robinson © ▆  (79), B. Brown, Sheppard , Maguire, D. Brown (Simms 80), Dyer , Nagington (Pedro 65), Hanna      Sub Unused: Patterson

Marine: Banks, Potter, Latham, Brazier, Connolly, Hussey, Brookfield, Parle , Towey , Cumiskey (Tuck 75 ), Woolcott      Subs Unused: O'Donnell, Hussin