18.11.2006

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Mossley

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Phil Hadland

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Fleetwood Town (A) 25.11.06

It was to be another one of those frustrating games for the Pitmen this afternoon as they totally dominated today's clash against struggling Mossley from start to finish but could not apply the finishing touch to any of the many chances that came their way as the visitors stood firm to record a crucial point

 

There were two changes to Phil Starbuck's Hednesford side that had started last weekend's gritty 1-0 win at Ossett Town as the fit-again Iain Screaton made a return to the side in place of Ross Dyer, whilst Tom Marshall shook off his recent injury issues to replace another injured player, Steve Farmer

Mossley were in the midst of a poor run of form that had seen them slump to nineteenth place in the table, level on points with three teams around them. Manager Jason Beckford made two changes to his side from the one that had been beaten at home to Kendal Town last Saturday as full-back Steve Sheil came in for Christian Cooke and Neil Brisco replaced James Turley up front

It was to prove to be a tentative first twenty minutes from both sides, as Mossley were content to keep eleven men behind the ball as much of the time as they could justify and frustrate the hosts. Phil Hadland's fine mazy run down the right in the ninth minute saw him beat three players as he cut in from the wing, but Mossley defender Mike Flynn was on hand to clear the danger

Good play from the returning Screaton three minutes later created an opening for Darren Alexander, only for his first-time shot to drift well wide of Mossley goalkeeper Danny Trueman's post

Ryan Young's first involvement in the game came in the sixteenth minute as he was alert to a long-searching ball forwards from Flynn that was almost picked up by the incoming Brisco

Dave Whittaker and Alexander exchanged passes just outside the Mossley penalty area on twenty minutes, only for Alexander to scuff his weak shot into the ground and his shot was saved easily by Trueman

A superb block from Mossley skipper Gary Furnival denied Tom Franklin a sight at goal five minutes later after the midfielder had been shown inside by Danny Meadowcroft out on the Hednesford left

 

Just before the half-hour mark, the Pitmen created the best chance of the game so far. Hadland beat Sheil down the right and whipped in a cross onto the head of the in-form Alexander, whose powerful header came back off the crossbar and back into play with Trueman stranded

 Just a minute later, Screaton found the ball drop at his feet on the edge of the six-yard box as Hadland's corner kick was not cleared by the Mossley defence. His low effort, however, was brilliantly saved by Trueman who parried the ball away from goal and denied the midfielder an almost certain goal

 Referee Mr Amphlett was proving overly fussy, particularly from set-pieces by demanding the ball was spotted correctly and pulling up even the most minor of challenges inside the penalty area. He got Trueman out of jail on thirty-four minutes after the stopper had dropped a ball from an Adams corner at the feet of Whittaker, only for the official to blow for a foul against the Pitmen when there was no one in a white shirt within a yard of Trueman

 

The final chance of a mundane first period fell at the feet of Whittaker, who took a Hadland pass into the Mossley penalty area but skewed his right-footed effort wide of the post

It had not been a half to challenge the end of season showreel, with Mossley content to stubbornly sit back and frustrate their hosts who had looked a little out of ideas so far

The Pitmen continued to have the lion's share of the ball at the start of the second period, with Hadland lashing an angled shot high over the angle of post and crossbar after getting the better of Meadowcroft down the flank

Three minutes later, Hadland was involved again as he played Alexander into space with a quickly-taken free-kick, only for the young striker to waste another good opening by slicing his shot into the Heath Hayes terrace

On fifty-four minutes, Alexander got a flick-on to Young's long clearance and found skipper Chris White; the Hednesford number four let fly with a rising shot but could only fire across goal and wide of the target

The returning Marshall headed wide of the target on fifty-seven minutes as he met an Adams corner kick with a full-blooded header at the near post but could not guide it towards goal

 Young was called upon on the hour mark to make his first real contribution to the game as he turned a long-range effort from Meadowcroft over the crossbar for a Mossley corner

 

Whittaker - normally such an accurate striker of the ball - fired wildly over the bar after a good move involving White, Screaton and man of the match Hadland had played him through on goal on sixty-four minutes

 

New boy Gary Sucharewycz - making his home debut for the club after two away games - narrowly cleared the bar with an effort two minutes later as he picked up the scraps from a corner kick that was cleared as far as the former Alfreton Town man

 Before the game could restart, Dyer was brought on in place of the out-of-sorts Whittaker to add his pace and youthful enthusiasm to the game as Starbuck rolled the dice

 

The Pitmen's best chance of scoring appeared to be from set-pieces, Another excellent Adams corner on seventy minutes was dropped by Trueman with Alexander, Dyer and Hadland all trying to turn the loose ball home to no avail as Trueman recovered to smother the ball

Excellent defending from Mossley's man of the match Flynn denied Dyer an almost certain goal on seventy-four minutes as he slid in to cleanly take the ball off the toes of the substitute after Alexander's reverse pass had played his strike partner in on goal

Furnival was on hand to clear the ball from just inside his own six-yard box three minutes later as he cleared the danger posed by the incoming pair of Marshall and Screaton

With twelve minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon as Chad Sheppard came on in place of Franklin, who had struggled to impose himself on the Mossley midfield

 

Despite being solidly second best for the majority of the game, Mossley went close to grabbing an unlikely winner with five minutes of the game remaining; veteran winger David Eyres played striker Peter Wright into space, who did well to escape the attentions of Sucharewycz and drill a low shot across goal, which looked destined for the far corner of the net until Adams made a late interception to divert the ball behind for a corner kick

The Pitmen's attacking efforts were becoming more and more desperate with the passing minutes with Hadland almost scoring the winner with two minutes left as he collected a White free-kick but turned his shot on the turn wide of goal from ten yards out

 In the third minute of added time, Alexander brilliantly turning on a sixpence just outside the six-yard box and firing in a low shot that was no more than an inch wide of goal with Trueman flat-footed

A hugely frustrating afternoon for the Pitmen was topped off by news of a Telford win at Guiseley, leaving the Pitmen now five points behind their neighbours after starting the day just three points behind the Bucks. It's another new ground for the Pitmen and their supporters to tick off next weekend as ambitious Fleetwood Town host Starbuck's side at their Highbury Stadium

Hednesford Town: Young, Screaton, Henshaw , White ©, Marshall, Sucharewycz, Franklin (Sheppard 78), Whittaker (Dyer 66), Alexander, Hadland, Adams      Sub Unused: Butler

Mossley: Trueman, Meadowcroft, Sheil, Pilkington, Flynn, Furnival © , Shillito, Robinson (Burke 67), Wright, Brisco , Eyres       Subs Unused: Cooke, Thompson

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