12.4.2004

Dr. Martens Southern Premier League 

Moor Green

Davis (3), Bailey (46)

Hednesford Town

S. Evans (56)

(1) 2

(0) 1

 

Attendance

MotM

Current Form

Next Match

285

Ryan Young

D L L W W L W L D L

Chippenham Town (H) 17.4.04

The Pitmen sink to the foot of the Dr. Martens Premier League this Bank Holiday Monday afternoon after Moor Green see off the challenge of their local rivals at Moorlands to clinch a crucial three points in their fight for the top thirteen

Saturday had seen the Pitmen battle it out with high-flyers Hinckley United and earn themselves a point against the sixth-placed Knitters in an uneventful game. Manager Barry Powell made three changes to the side that had started at the weekend, welcoming back Les Hines, Darren Simkin and Steve Anthrobus in place of Craig Dean, Chris Brindley and Karl Hawley as Powell continued to search for the right blend to his misfiring squad

The Moors had recovered from a poor start to the campaign to solidify their place in mid-table amongst the contenders for next season's Conference set-up. A win today would potentially put Bob Faulkner's side in possession of that crucial thirteenth place with only four or five games remaining for most sides around them. Saturday had seen the Moors come away from Newport County with a 1-1 draw, with Faulkner bringing veteran Dennis Bailey back into the side to partner former Hednesford top scorer Neil Davis at the expense of Rob Elmes

And what a start it was for the hosts, who got their noses in front in the third minute as more desperately poor defending from the visitors handed Davis yet another goal against his former club; another former Hednesford man, Phil Trainer, beat Ross Adams down the left wing and sent over a fine cross that Davis was afforded far too much time and space to plant a header beyond the reach of Ryan Young and into the corner of the net

In front of a meagre Moorlands crowd, the Pitmen struggled to get themselves going in the late Spring sunshine as the large away support that had made the short journey were once again handed another, spluttering, uninterested display from their players. Simkin's wild effort over the crossbar from fully thirty yards was as close as the men in white would get to the Moor Green goal in the opening quarter of the game

 

Clever hold up play from Davis in the fourteenth minute saw him swivel past Stuart Ryder and play the ball into the feet of Trainer down the wing, whose low, inswinging cross was palmed away from the feet of Bailey by Young, who had to be alert to the dangerous ball into his six-yard box from the former Crewe trainee

 

Three minutes later, centre-back Guy Sanders headed into the main stand behind the goal as he met a Jae Martin cross but could not keep his header down from ten yards out

Richard Robinson was allowed all the time and space in the world to take the ball down the right wing for Moors on twenty-one minutes, driving deep into Hednesford territory and crossing for Davis, who this time failed to hit the target with a scuffed volley at the far post that spooned up and over the crossbar

Moors keeper Matt Harris was called upon for the first time to deny Mark Danks in the twenty-fourth minute of the game, turning the striker's shot away from goal after a Hines cross was flicked into the path of Danks by the head of strike partner Steve Anthrobus. Steve Evans looked to capitalise on the rebound but was beaten to the ball by Harris, who gathered at the second attempt

The laggy Hednesford defence was nearly caught out again on the half hour mark as Martin and Peter Faulds played a quick one-to with each other to set Davis away once more and catch the centre of the Hednesford defence napping. Davis pulled the ball back into the path of the incoming Martin, whose shot at goal was blocked by the leg of Ryder

Young was again the Pitmen's saviour in another man of the match performance from the highly-rated stopper, making a fingertip save on thirty-four minutes to turn a Martin shot around the post for a Moor Green corner kick. From the resultant Trainer cross, Young was again alert to the danger and claimed the ball ahead of the incoming Bailey

Former Stafford Rangers man Bailey was making a mockery of his advancing years as he gave Simkin and Ryder the runaround in the first period alongside Davis, playing the ball into the feet of his strike partner on thirty-nine minutes but seeing the offside flag go up against the former Hednesford striker just as he looked to fire home from close-range

Jordan King gifted Moor Green a chance to float another ball into the box just before half-time after bringing down Faulds just outside the Hednesford penalty area which allowed Trainer to play a neat ball into the far post where Sanders headed narrowly wide

It had been another desperately poor performance from the Pitmen, who appear to have used their F.A.Trophy exploits as a distraction rather than an inspiration to their dire league form. Powell got into his troops at the break, with the only crumb of comfort being that they were only a goal behind ahead of the second half and not worse off after an uninspiring display

And yet, Powell's half time words were null and void as he watched on in horror as the Moors extended their lead inside the first minute of the half; Martin's cross from the left wing was dummied by Davis, taking a gullible Simkin out of the game and allowing Bailey to shoot past Young from close range

Chants of 'you don't know what you're doing' rang out from the terraces from the Hednesford supporters to Powell, who remained unmoved on the touchline after the conceding of a dreadful early goal. Simkin's rising shot almost clipped the crossbar as it sailed over the terrace behind Harris's goal on fifty minutes as the away side looked for some kind of response

Six minutes later, they found a way back into the game as Young's long ball forwards was flicked on by Anthrobus and into the path of Steve Evans, who controlled the ball well and fired past Harris from ten yards out

Ross Adams thought he had opened his account for the Pitmen four minutes later as he skipped past John Frain and drove a shot in at goal that Harris saved at his near post

Chris Gray came on for the Pitmen on seventy-one minutes as Steve Palmer was withdrawn in a tactical move from Powell that saw winger Gray slot in on the right wing and King moved into Palmer's position in the centre of midfield

The substitute was involved straightaway as he skipped past two Moor Green challenges and squared the ball to Carl Palmer, whose low, bobbling shot was easily saved by Harris

The Pitmen became reliant on set-pieces to create chances in the final twenty minutes of the game, with pressure put on Powell to introduce Brindley to the side as an auxiliary striker alongside Anthrobus and Danks. It was Steve Piearce who was brought on instead on seventy-eight minutes in place of Danks in a like-for-like swap

Adams and Gray combined down the right wing on eighty minutes to supply a great cross for Anthrobus, whose weak header downwards was hacked away by Sanders inside the six-yard box

Two minutes later, Gray did well to win the ball back off Frain and clipped the ball into the path of Carl Palmer, whose subsequent pass into the feet of Piearce saw the substitute drove his effort past the far post

Moor Green almost finished the Pitmen off on eighty-three minutes with a quick counter-attack from Trainer, whose through ball to substitute Elmes was smothered by the advancing Young before the ex-Hereford man could get his shot away

With time running out for the Pitmen to get back into the game, Powell made his third and final change of the afternoon as Anthony Maguire came on in place of Steve Evans

The home side were reduced to ten men with five minutes remaining, as Williams was shown a straight red card for a crude challenge on Piearce by blatantly pulling the striker back as he skipped past him

From the resultant Hines free-kick, Ryder headed into the side-netting after beating Sanders to the inswinging cross from the left-back to the right-hand side of the Moors penalty area

Anthrobus did well to control a pass from Carl Palmer with two minutes remaining and supply Piearce, only for a combination of poor finishing from the striker and a timely block from Frain to deny the former Wolves man a leveller as the ball dropped wide of the post

In the final minute of the game, successive corner kicks from Hines tested the composure of the ten man Moors as they struggled to clear their lines. More corners followed in added time, with Young electing to join his team-mates in the Moors penalty area in an attempt to force home a leveller. The bizarre sight of Young jinking his way down the right wing in third minute of added time as he rescued an over-hit corner kick was a memorable moment in an unmemorable game, winning a free-kick after Frain had hacked the keeper down by the corner flag to give the Pitmen a final chance to throw the ball into the box one last time

It had been another sorry afternoon from the Pitmen, who sunk to the foot of the table after results elsewhere counted against them and saw them drop three places to 22nd. Any lingering hopes of a push up the table have essentially gone at this point, with Powell only clinging on to his job courtesy of the upcoming F.A. Trophy Final as his side's league form since Boxing Day continues to unravel. The tough encounters continue at the weekend when the Pitmen hosts fellow strugglers Chippenham in a real relegation six-pointer for both sides

Moor Green: Harris, Robinson, Frain ©, Collins, Sanders, Williams  (85), Faulds (Doyle 68), Martin, Davis, Bailey (Elmes 71), Trainer       Subs Unused:  J. Petty, B. Petty, Teesdale

Hednesford Town: Young, Adams, Hines, King, Ryder, Simkin, C. Palmer, S. Palmer © (Gray 71), Anthrobus, Danks (Piearce 78), S. Evans (Maguire 84)      Subs Unused: Brindley, P. Evans

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