30.3.2002

Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Barrow (75)

Moor Green

Stanley (15), Martin (90)

(0) 1

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

689

Matt Gardiner

L W W D L L L W W L

 

Newport County (A) 1.4.02

The Pitmen are dropped back into trouble by local rivals Moor Green this afternoon as a late, late Jai Martin goal grabbed all three points for the visitors and ends Hednesford’s run of back-to-back wins in the process

 

Having picked up vital wins over Weymouth and Newport County in the past week, manager Kenny Hibbitt perhaps unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that had started on Monday night, welcoming back utility man Wayne Simpson after injury to take his place amongst the substitutes after missing the Newport game with an ankle knock

 

Moor Green arrived at Keys Park of the first time ever off the back of a fine 2-0 win at Chelmsford City at the weekend, with long-serving manager Bob Faulkner sticking with the same side that had started at Billericay’s New Lodge ground to record their third win in the last five games

 

The Pitmen started sluggishly and allowed Moor Green to dominate the early exchanges as Matt Gardiner headed Jai Stanley’s cross-cum-shot in the third minute off his own goal line as the ballooned to be dipping into the far corner of the net

 

The experienced Dean Peer played a quick one-two with Stanley three minutes later before setting Martin Myers away down the right flank. His cross found the head of former Birmingham City striker John Gayle, who glanced his header well wide of goal from eight yards out under pressure from Gardiner

 

Lee Barrow’s untimely slip gave young striker Nathan Lamey a chance to open the scoring on eleven minutes as the former Wolves youngster took advantage of Barrow missing a pass from Peer and stole into the Hednesford penalty area. Mark Haran was on hand however to make a fine block tackle and deny Lamey a clear shot at goal

 

The Moors were rewarded for their assertive start to the game with the opening goal on fifteen minutes through Stanley; the burly playmaker won a free-kick just outside the Hednesford penalty area and perfectly executed the resultant effort as he drilled the ball past Mark Gayle and into the far corner of the net. Questions have to be asked of the Pitmen’s wall however, as Stanley was given a clear sight at goal due to the hosts only lining up with two men in their wall rather than put another body in there to narrow Stanley’s angle of approach

 

This appeared to wake the Pitmen up from their slumber as Hibbitt gestured to his side to play with more purpose going forwards. Neil Davis dragged his first opening of the afternoon just wide of Adam Rachel’s near post after nipping in to turn a Stewart Airdrie cross towards goal from ten yards out

 

The in-form Stuart Lake tried his luck from long-range on twenty-two minutes as Andy Brownrigg was fouled by Richard Robinson on the edge of the Moor Green penalty area. Lake took the resultant free-kick and fired a shot just wide of the upright with a rising effort

 

Lake was involved again for the hosts three minutes later as he held off a challenge from Ben Petty before playing Wale Kwik-Ajet into space down the left flank. The forward pulled the ball back into the path of Derek Rae, who got his laces underneath the ball and lifted the ball high over the crossbar and away from danger

 

Haran headed wide from Airdrie’s inswinging cross on thirty-four minutes before the Pitmen were denied a leveller a minute later as Ajet’s diving header at the far post from another Airdrie cross was ruled out by the assistant on the Wimblebury side of the ground as he was adjudged to have turned the ball home with his hand. The home supporters were clearly unhappy with this decision and let the assistant know their feelings

 

Brownrigg forced Rachel into a regulation save on thirty-nine minutes with a shot straight into the hands of the former Aston Villa stopper after Gardiner’s long ball forwards was headed into the midfielder’s path by Petty

 

A minute later, Davis did well to twist and turn past Chris Gillard just inside the Moor Green penalty area but drove his shot wide of Rachel’s right-hand post with the keeper covering his post

 

With a minute left in the first half, Moor Green broke quickly from a Hednesford corner through Lamey, whose pace got him past Richard Lucas down the right before crossing to Gayle. The ball was just too far in from to fo the veteran striker, who stuck a leg out but could not turn the ball home

 

It had been a frustrating half for the hosts, who had been the better side for much of the first period and were still chasing the game after a poor start to proceedings. Hibbitt resisted the temptation to make changes at the break, despite having Kevin Francis amongst his substitutes should he choose to go more direct in his approach

 

Barrow headed wide of goal for the hosts on fifty minutes after a quickly-taken corner kick from skipper Lucas had caught the Moor Green defence out. Two minutes later, Lake’s angled drive at goal was deflected away from the target by Petty for another Hednesford corner kick

 

Ajet was shown the first yellow card of the game on fifty-five minutes for kicking the ball away in frustration after a late offside flag had denied the former Queens Park striker a clear run at goal

 

Gayle was aware to a threat from Peer on sixty-one minutes as he tipped the defender’s looping effort over the crossbar with a smart save to concede a corner kick in the process

 

Lake was looking for a fourth goal in four games and went close to adding to his recent goal glut on sixty-five minutes as his cross from the right drifted towards goal and was cleared off the line by the alert Robinson

 

Rachel made a fantastic save to keep the Moors in front two minutes later as Lake’s deep free-kick was met by the head of Barrow, whose goalbound effort was brilliantly tipped away by the Moors keeper low down to his right-hand side

 

More quality delivery from Airdrie on sixty-nine minutes saw the winger pick up a pass from Lucas and cross for Gardiner, whose downward header bounced off the firm Keys Park turf before being turned over by Rachel for a corner kick. The resultant Lucas corner kick was headed back into the danger zone by Lake but was eventually cleared by the Moors defence

 

The Pitmen finally got themselves back on level terms with fifteen minutes of the game remaining; Lake was the provider from the right flank, sending over a fine cross that was cleared to Barrow on the edge of the Moors penalty area. The centre-back executed a fine volley from eighteen yards out that beat Rachel all ends up and nestled in the corner of the net. Game on

 

Despite getting themselves back into the game, the Pitmen struggled to build up a head of steam in the latter stages of the game with many in the ground expecting a late onslaught on the Moors defence. Davis turned a shot well wide of goal on seventy-nine minutes, followed by an off-target header from Gardiner from Airdrie’s outswinging corner kick three minutes later but this was as close as the home side would come to taking all there points

 

Instead, as the minutes ticked by, the Pitmen were actually nervously looking at the clock as they looked to keep hold of the point that they currently held against a useful Moors side. With four minutes remaining, Petty headed over the crossbar from a Stanley corner kick, followed by a low, bobbling effort from Martin two minutes later from the edge of the penalty area that dribbled just wide of Gayle’s left-hand post

 

With the game heading into added time, the Pitmen once again failed to see the game out as they conceded yet another late goal; Stanley won a free-kick out on the right wing and sent over a fine cross for Gayle, whose header was palmed away by namesake Mark from close-range. The ball dropped kindly to Martin however, who had the simple task of turning the ball home from close-range

 

There was no time for the Pitmen to respond and the final whistle was greeted with muffled boos and cat-calls towards the men in white after yet another tame showing from their side. Defeat leaves the Pitmen back in the mire with news of wins for fellow strugglers Merthyr Tydfil and Cambridge City today that leaves Hibbitt's side requiring a win over Newport County on Monday night to keep them away from the relegation trapdoor once more

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Lake, Lucas ©, Haran, Gardiner, Barrow, Brownrigg, Rae, Davis, Ajet , Airdrie      Sub Unused: Simpson, Francis, Thomas

 

Moor Green: Rachel ©, Robinson, Petty, Gillard, Peer (Scheppel 78), Stanley, Myers, Lamey, Gayle, Martin, Softley (Anstiss 70)     Subs Unused: Joyce

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