Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Moor Green

Lamey (77)

Hednesford Town

Davis (13), (79),  Lancashire (50), (65)

(0) 1

(1) 4



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Neil Davis



Scarborough (H) 12.1.02

After two weeks without a game, the Pitmen returned to action in winning form this afternoon to soundly beat local rivals Moor Green at their Moorlands ground and end a tumultuous 2001 on a high note

Hednesford made the short journey down the M6 to Birmingham off the back of a frustrating two-week spell of inactivity that had seen games against King's Lynn and Stafford Rangers called off due to the recent spell of bad weather. The club and its supporters were still smarting from the decision to call off the King's Lynn game only an hour or so before kick-off despite having been assured by the home side that the recent snowfall would not call off the game before it subsequently being postponed. Manager Kenny Hibbitt was able to welcome back Andy Brownrigg into the squad after the former Hereford United midfielder had recovered from injury and took his place amongst the substitutes. Graham Lancashire returned to the side in place of Damien Charie in the only change to the side that had drawn 0-0 with league leaders Crawley Town last time out

Moors were continuing to fly high in the league, remaining unbeaten at home all season and sitting in sixth place going into today's game. A 3-2 win over Tamworth on Boxing Day had kept Bob Faulkner's side in touch with the top four, sitting only six points behind Crawley at the start of today's round of games in the Dr. Martens League. Faulkner made one change to the side that had faced the Lambs, with Stuart Brighton coming in for Martin Myers as Moors looked for a ninth unbeaten game on their own turf this season already

The Pitmen were once again backed by a healthy number of supporters for today's game, with around 150 making the short trip to Moorlands to cheer their team on, on what was another chilly afternoon in Birmingham

Moors had the first real chance to open the scoring in the fifth minute of the game; young striker Nathan Lamey's cross-field pass found Craig Woodley, who did well to cut inside from the wing and evade the attentions of Richard Lucas, but curled his shot just wide of the far post

Two minutes later a fine pass from Richard Robinson set the pacy Lamey on his way down the right, evading Lucas once more before crossing into the danger zone where Mark Crisp's shot was blocked by Lee Barrow from eight yards out

The Pitmen took the lead in the thirteenth minute with their first real chance of the game as Stewart Airdrie's hopeful through ball was completely misjudged by Chris Gillard, allowing the winger's drifting cross to drop over his head and into the path of Neil Davis, who confidently dispatched the finish by firing past Adam Rachel from fifteen yards out

Moors responded through veteran former Birmingham City striker John Gayle, who fired wide from twelve yards out after Ben Petty had squared the ball to him inside the Hednesford penalty area

On twenty minutes, Lamey did well to skip past a challenge from Matt Gardiner on the edge of the Pitmen's penalty area before unleashing a shot that flew into the old wooden stand behind Mark Gayle's goal

The pressure continued from the hosts as Craig Woodley also went close to equalising for the Moors three minutes later, playing a quick pass with Crisp before firing just over the crossbar from twenty yards out

Good play from Stuart Lake on twenty-nine minutes saw him beat two Moors players in midfield before supplying Phil Trainer with the ball. The on-loan Crewe winger took a couple of touches before crossing for Lancashire, whose header was easily saved by Rachel from eight yards out

Davis was denied by an offside flag on thirty-two minutes as he broke clear of the Moors defence to latch onto a through ball from Wayne Simpson but was pulled back for moving too early to get on the end of the pass

The Pitmen were dealt a blow a minute later as the combative Lake - having a great game in the centre of midfield - was forced off with a leg injury and was replaced by the returning Brownrigg

The game appeared to lose some of its zip and purpose as it cantered towards the end of the first half with both clubs struggling to create clear-cut openings before half-time. The Pitmen did have one chance to extend their lead a couple of minutes before the break as a fine pass from Airdrie played Davis in on goal, only for the quick thinking of Rachel to dive at the feet of the striker and smother his shot to deny the former Aston Villa man a goal  

Moors were also hit by injury issues just before the break as Woodley was forced off after a clash with Lancashire saw him pick up what appeared to be a knee injury and was replaced by Danny Scheppel

The Pitmen had enjoyed the better of the first-half chances but only had a solitary goal to show for their efforts in the first period. Hibbitt fired up his troops at the break and his side responded with a dominant second-half display. Russell Dodd made a rare venture forwards on forty-seven minutes to strike an angled effort just over Rachel's crossbar from fully twenty-five yards out

A minute later, Trainer also tried his luck from long-range after Brownrigg had picked him out in a pocket of space just outside the Moor Green penalty area, but lifted his effort high over the crossbar

 Trainer did create a chance for Lancashire however to extend the away side's lead on fifty minutes, making a mazy cross-field run that dragged the Moors' defence out of position before crossing to the far post where Lancashire was on hand to head into the net from close-range

The Pitmen had their tails up, with Davis going close to adding to Moor Green's woes on fifty-four minutes as he struck a clean shot just wide of goal from Airdrie's incisive through ball

Rachel made a good save on fifty-nine minutes to deny Lake from a Lucas corner kick, before Crisp dragged a good chance wide for the hosts two minutes later after Lamey had created a chance for his strike partner

A comical error from Moors gifted the Pitmen a third goal of the game on sixty-five minutes, essentially ending the game as a contest in the process; Barrow's speculative ball forwards saw both Gillard and Richard Softley both challenge for the same ball but only succeeded in colliding with each other to allow the ball to run kindly for Airdrie, who played Lancashire clean through on goal. The former Rochdale and Burnley man showed his prowess in front of goal once more by confidently slotting past Rachel from twelve yards out

With the game essentially won at this point, the Pitmen could afford to take off the tiring Dodd and bring Damien Charie on as a winger a minute later in a move that saw Brownrigg moving to right-back

And yet it was the Pitmen that continued to have chances to add to their tally in the final twenty minutes of the game; Davis fired into the side-netting on seventy-one minutes from a narrow angle with a snap-shot from Airdrie's pass, before Trainer almost capped a fine individual performance with a goal four minutes later as his shot was cleared off the line by Gillard's late intervention

Lamey gave Moors a glimmer of hope on seventy-seven minutes as he pulled a goal back for the hosts. An assertive run from the youngster saw him leave Brownrigg in his wake down the wing before cutting inside and lashing a shot past the helpless Gayle. A fine goal from nothing and further evidence of Lamey's growing reputation as a goalscorer at this level

Moor Green's brief hopes of a comeback were extinguished two minutes later, however, as the Pitmen grabbed the fourth goal of a productive afternoon. Lancashire controlled a Charie pass on the edge of the Moors penalty area before cleverly squaring to Davis, who sidefooted into the empty net to complete the rout

Trainer lashed a shot high over the crossbar on eighty-four minutes and John Gayle headed tamely into namesake Mark's hands two minutes later from a Robinson free-kick as both sides accepted the result in front of them in the final ten minutes of the game. It had been a fine team performance from the Pitmen, who had shown a rare composure in front of goal to convert the chances created with a fine goalscoring display from Davis and Lancashire

New Year's Day will see the Pitmen hopefully making the trip to mid-table Worcester City, although the weather forecast in the next two days may leave the game in doubt as another cold front is expected to envelop the country with more snow on the horizon. Either way, Hibbitt's team can be confident of going into their next game after making it three-game unbeaten to inch themselves away from the danger zone below them in the table

Moor Green: Rachel ©, Robinson, Brighton, Gillard, Softley, Stanley (Foyle 76), Woodley (Scheppel 43), Lamey, Gayle, Crisp (Hunter 66), Petty       Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Dodd (Charie 66), Lucas ©, Simpson, Gardiner, Barrow, Lake (Brownrigg 33), Airdrie, Davis, Lancashire, Trainer    Subs Unused: Brown