13.9.2003

 

Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Methyr Tydfil

Thorne (80), Belle (90)

Hednesford Town

(0) 2

(0) 0

 

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514

Nathan Lamey

D L W L D D W D L

 

Worcester City (H) 16.9.03

Two goals in the final ten minutes from the home side denied the Pitmen a point at Pennydarren Park this afternoon as Barry Powell's men are once again made to pay for not taking their chances in front of goal against a mid-table Merthyr side

The Pitmen arrived in South Wales off the back of a battling draw in midweek at Grantham Town, with Steve Anthrobus finally getting off the mark for the season with a well-deserved equaliser for the away side. Powell elected to make one change to his side from the team that had started at the South Kesteven Stadium, bringing in Anthony Maguire for Steve Palmer in midfield after the youngster had starred for the reserves in midweek

Merthyr had suffered a similarly inconsistent start to the season as the Pitmen had done so far, with the Martyrs sitting in fourteenth place in the table at the start of play off the back of a 2-2 draw last weekend against Weymouth. Joint managers John Relish and Andrew Beattie made one change themselves to their starting XI from the side that had started against the Terras, bringing in Lee Collier for the injured Kevin Aherne-Evans up front 

A bright start from the visitors saw Maguire see plenty of the ball in the opening quarter of the game, with the youngster making a storming run forwards in the sixth minute that saw him drift past two challenges before lashing a wild shot into the terracing behind the goal

Nathan Lamey - still looking for his first Hednesford goal after joining the club last month from Moor Green - used his pace to good effect in the tenth minute to race clear of the Merthyr defence to get on the end of a rangy pass from Carl Palmer, only for his angled drive to be turned behind by the experienced Neil Thomas in the Merthyr goal at his near post

Collier had Merthyr's first realistic sight at goal on fifteen minutes, but dithered on the ball inside the Hednesford penalty area after receiving a pass from skipper Danny Carter and allowed Les Hines to make a timely tackle and clear the danger

The ever-willing Lamey teamed up with strike partner Anthrobus to create an opening on twenty-three minutes, as the big man did well to delicately cushion a pass into the path of Lamey, whose first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area was pushed away by Thomas for a Hednesford corner kick. Hines' resultant corner kick was a tempting ball in for someone to attack at the far post as it dipped towards goal, but no-one in sky blue could get their head to the inswinging cross and the ball dropped wide of the far post for a Merthyr goal kick

The home side were content to play on the counter attack, using the pace of summer signing Cortez Belle up front to cause the Pitmen problems.  A good run from the youngster saw him escape the attentions of skipper for the day Darren Simkin on twenty-nine minutes, playing a good ball across the penalty area to Collier, who was well off target with a rushed effort from eighteen yards out

Thomas was by far the busier of the two keepers and made another fine save to deny Anthrobus on thirty-eight minutes; a deep cross from Hines was inch perfect for the veteran attacker, whose goalbound header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the in-form stopper

Karl Brown escaped with only a dressing-down from the referee on forty-one minutes after his late challenge on Gary Thorne had irked the Merthyr Tydfil players, who felt that the Liverpudlian had left his foot on deliberatly

With half-time looming, the Pitmen had another great chance to take the lead through Stuart Ryder, who gambled at the far post to make a late run and meet Maguire's right-wing cross, only to see Paul Keddle clear his goalbound effort off the line. Frustratingly close from the former Walsall man at a perfect time to score

The away side started the second half well, with Ashley Dodd - starting his second successive game at left-back - letting rip with a long-range effort from fully thirty yards out that Thomas tipped over the crossbar and into the Hednesford fans gathered behind his goal

Lamey's poor luck in front of goal continued, as he put another good chance narrowly wide of Thomas's left-hand post on fifty-four minutes after he had nipped infant of his marker to get to a Hines free-kick first at the near post

Belle tested Young's reflexes with a weak effort on the hour mark, followed by a low shot from substitute Simon Heal on sixty-six minutes that dribbled wide of Young's post as Merthyr continued to struggle to create any real clear-cut openings in the game

With the Pitmen looking the more likely to score at this point in the game, Powell made a bold tactical change at this point, taking off midfielder Maguire and putting on striker Mark Danks to play as a three up top with Anthrobus and Lamey

Danks' first contribution saw him show Thorne a clean pair of heels after picking up a pass from Lamey on seventy minutes, but his shot from just outside the Merthyr penalty area failed to test Thomas as it skewed wide of goal

 

An up and under from Simkin turned defence into attack fo the Pitmen five minutes later as Carl Palmer did well to flick the ball on to Anthrobus, only for the former Wimbledon man to elect to shoot over from a ridiculous angle, incurring the wrath of the frustrated Hednesford supporters behind the goal

The Pitmen were once again made to pay a heavy price for not taking at least one of the chances presented to them in the previous eighty minutes, as Merthyr took the lead with one of their very few efforts on target in the game; a Collier corner was partially cleared by the Hednesford defence to Thorne, who was lurking on the edge of the penalty area. The former Bath City man struck a clean effort through a crowd of onrushing players and beat the unsighted Young by finding the bottom corner of the net

Powell was visibly angry with his mis-firing troops and made a double change a minute later, hauling off the disappointing Anthrobus and unlucky Lamey in favour of defender Chris Brindley and Damien Charie, with Brindley playing up front for the final minuets as an auxiliary centre-forward

Danks was denied by another good save from Thomas on eighty-five minutes, striking his effort straight into the hands of the keeper after Brindley had flicked a Hines pass into his fellow substitute's path

Brindley himself also had a chance to level matters for the Pitmen as the game entered added time, unleashing a first-time shot through a crowd of players after Hines' corner kick landed at his feet, but again man of the match Thomas produced a fine stop to turn the veteran's shot away from goal. Merthyr seized upon the loose ball and pushed into the space vacated by the Pitmen at the back, culminating in Belle picking the ball up and lobbing the onrushing Young from twenty-five yards out to settle the game in Merthyr's favour with the last kick of the game

Powell marched straight down the tunnel at the end of the game, refusing to acknowledge the travelling for the supporters after watching his side tamely give up at least a point in a game they should have won based on possession and chances. Expect a number of changes to the side ahead of Tuesday night's tough-looking encounter at home to play-off pushers Worcester City, as Powell continues to struggle to find a blend within his squad after nine games of the new season 

Merthyr Tydfil: N. Thomas, Edwards (Regan 57), Keddle, Witcombe, Jones, Thorne, Carter ©, Price, Belle, Dorian, G. Thomas (Heal 61), Collier (Evans 57)     Subs Unused: Needs, Cropley

Hednesford Town: Young, Williams, Hines, Dodd, Simkin ©, Ryder, C. Palmer, Maguire (Danks 66), Anthrobus (Brindley 81), Lamey (Charie 81), Brown       Subs Unused: S. Palmer, P. Evans

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