UniBond Northern Premier League


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Hednesford Town

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Ryan Young


Halesowen Town (H) 21.10.06

Hednesford came away from their visit to Mossley this afternoon a little relieved with a point which was earned through an early goal from Ross Dyer, some strong defending and a late penalty save from Ryan Young as the Pitmen maintained their recent unbeaten run

There were no changes to Phil Starbuck's side that had beaten Ilkeston Town on Monday night for this afternoon's first-ever trip to Seel Park, although there was a new face amongst the substitutes as former Scarborough midfielder Karl Rose came into the squad and replaced Tom Franklin on the bench

Mossley had lost 2-1 to Witton Albion on Tuesday night to leave the Lilywhites sitting in sixteenth place in the league table ahead of play. Manager Jason Beckford had lost patience with several of his players following their defeat to Witton and made several changes to his side today, handing debuts to no fewer than four players as David Eyres, Lee Shillito, James Turley and Chris Ward replaced Andy Thackeray, Danny White, Joe Shaw and Steve Burke

It was 43-year-old Eyres - a former Oldham Athletic, Burnley and Blackpool winger - who was to have the first impact on the game on his Mossley debut as he floated in a corner in the second minute that was headed towards goal by Peter Wright, only for Hednesford skipper Chris White to hack the ball off the line with some diligent defending

The away side responded instantly and in perfect fashion, taking the lead with their first shot in anger on four minutes. Mario Pedro made progress down the centre of the pitch before playing the ball forwards to Dyer, who took the ball on before lobbing advancing Mossley goalkeeper Danny Trueman

Mossley shrugged off the Pitmen's early goal and had the better of the play in the next ten minutes. Midfielder Lee Shillito got in behind the Pitmen's defence in the twelfth minute as he was played in by an incisive pass by Eyres, only for an offside flag to deny the player a shot at goal

The Hednesford defence was struggling with the movement of Mossley's front two Turley and Wright. The lively Turley was looking to mark his debut and struck a shot wide of goal from fifteen yards out on eighteen minutes as he was played through by youngster Joel Pilkington

Melford Knight forced Tom Marshall into an error three minutes later as he seized upon a short pass from the youngster down the Mossley right. The Lilywhites skipper took a touch and crossed from the corner of the penalty area but his ball in was just too high for the incoming Turley to reach at the far post

Ryan Young was called into action to punch away an inswinging corner kick from underneath his crossbar on twenty-seven minutes, denying Nicky Thompson a simple tap-in on the goal line

The Pitmen were struggling to get themselves into the Mossley half as Darren Alexander and Dyer were left to fight for scraps up against Thompson and Gary Furnival. The closest they came to doubling their lead came just before the half-hour mark as Pedro quickly took a free-kick and laid the ball off to Chad Sheppard, whose effort with the outside of his right boot was skewed wide of Trueman's left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area


Mossley finally grabbed a well-deserved equaliser on thirty-four minutes. A ball through the Pitmen's defence from Shillito caught them off guard, allowing new boy Turley to get in behind them and confidently fire past Young with a rising shot that hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing over the line

 The hosts sensed a quickfire double whilst they were on top, with Knight firing narrowly over the crossbar on thirty-eight minutes when well placed to receive a pass from the tricky Eyres

Knight was the first player to be cautioned in the game on forty minutes as he hacked White down in midfield as the veteran played the ball past him, prompting Knight to haul the Hednesford skipper down

In first-half added time, a deep free-kick from Trueman was flicked on by Shillito and into the path of Turtley, whose wild first-time effort skipped just past Young's post

The Pitmen had looked leggy and tired in the first period and continued to look second best in the early stages of the second half. A neat piece of interplay involving Knight and Eyres on fifty minutes saw them play the dangerous Turley in on goal, only for the former Stalybridge Celtic man to drag his shot well wide of Young's goal

In an attempt to change things up for his misfiring side, Starbuck made an early tactical change to his forward line on fifty-six minutes as Phil Hadland came on in place of the ineffective Pedro

Dyer went on a marauding run at goal for the men in red a minute later, leaving two players in his wake before shooting narrowly wide of the base of Trueman's left-hand post

Jellicoe and Wright clashed just outside the Hednesford penalty area on sixty-four minutes which led to the pair squaring up to each other as they accused each other of pulling the other back. Rather than show yellow cards to the pair, the referee warned the pair about their conduct

White was not so lucky three minutes later, however, as he was shown a yellow card for bringing Shillito down in the centre circle and was summoned by the referee after getting back to his feet

Rose was handed his Hednesford debut by Starbuck, his former manager at Leigh RMI a couple of seasons ago, as he replaced the tiring Alexander in a tactical tweak to the Pitmen's formation

Mossley almost took the lead for the first time in the game with ten minutes to play as Furnival won a header at the far post flicked the ball onto Eyres, who was unlucky to see his close-range effort come back off the underside of the bar before being cleared by Ross Adams

Rose was shown a quickfire yellow card just six minutes after coming on after he had upended Knight to prevent the Mossley captain from making progress into the Hednesford half

The hosts felt that the three points were there for the taking and peppered the Hednesford goal with crosses and set-pieces as the game entered the final five minutes. Young made a competent save to deny substitute Chris Ward on eighty-six minutes as Eyres' free-kick was met by the striker's firm header ten yards from goal 


  It appeared that the Pitmen's luck had run out however with a couple of minutes remaining as Jellicoe sent Wright tumbling in the Hednesford penalty area with a mistimed challenge and picked up a caution for his troubles. Wright spotted the ball and took the resultant penalty kick but Young guessed right and palmed away the striker's low shot down to his left-hand side

The Pitmen almost used the missed penalty as inspiration to go on and win the game late on with two great chances in added time.  Rose's overhead kick from Hadland's cross almost latched onto by Dyer, only for the ball to drift away from the striker's reach at the far post


A minute later and with the final chance of the game, on-loan Terry Henshaw almost snatched his first Hednesford goal as he slid in at the far post to get on the end of a low cross from Dyer, but was a few inches away from being able to make contact from close-range

Despite their late salvo, the Pitmen can be relieved at taking a point away from Seel Park having struggled to contain the hosts for long periods of the game and were ultimately thankful to Young for his late penalty save. It is another unbeaten game for the Pitmen, which extends their run to seven games without defeat in the process. They will look to make it eight in a row next weekend as they face old rivals Halesowen Town in the first qualifying round of this season's F.A. Trophy

Mossley: Trueman, Cooke, Sheil, Pilkington, Thompson, Furnival, Shillito (Shaw 75), Knight ©, Wright, Turley (Ward 80), Eyres      Subs Unused: Thackeray

Hednesford Town: Young, Screaton, Henshaw, White ©, Marshall, Jellicoe , Adams, Sheppard, Alexander (Rose 76), Dyer, Pedro (Hadland 56)      Sub Unused: Meakin-Richards