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UniBond Northern Premier League

North Ferriby United

Bolder (53), Bradshaw (84)

Hednesford Town

(0) 2

(0) 0



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Ross Dyer


Ilkeston Town (H) 24.9.07

After the progress made in the F.A. Cup in midweek, the Pitmen were back to their inconsistent best in the UniBond Premier League this afternoon, losing their fifth successive game as they presented basement side North Ferriby United with their first win of the season


 Manager Phil Starbuck - still under pressure despite making progress in the F.A. Cup against Stratford Town on Wednesday night made three changes to his starting line-up for tonight's clash, two of which were enforced; Gordon Simms replacing the injured Gary Sucharewycz, whilst Reece Styche's metatarsal injury saw him give way to Dominic Heath. Finally, striker Peter Knox was dropped to the bench in favour of Ross Dyer in a like-for-like wap up front

Rock-bottom North Ferriby had parted company with manager Neil Parsley in midweek following their F.A. Cup exit to North East Counties League Liversedge and appointed experienced defender Neil Allison as the club's caretaker manager for today's game. He made three changes to the side that had started against Liversedge last Saturday with Matty Bloor replacing David Cooke, Gary Bradshaw returning in place of Joel Hartley and Danny Ryan returning to the side ahead of Michael Price. There was also a familiar face in the Villagers' ranks as former Hednesford striker Andy Hayward lined up against his former side


 In the very first minute of the game, Hayward almost burst through the hesitant Pitmen backline as Chris Bolder's pass found the veteran, only Tom Marshall to rescue his side with a timely block as he came across from the left to deny Hayward a shotting opportunity

Hayward was involved again in the seventh minute as he played a delightful reverse pass to set up Bloor, only for Ross Adams to block the goalbound effort from the midfielder as his shot headed towards Rene Gilmartin

The all-blue-clad Pitmen had their first sight at goal through Marshall three minutes later as he lined up a free-kick twenty yards from goal. However, the young defender fired high and wide with an effort that was watched into the allotments behind North Ferriby goalkeeper Antoni Pecora's goal


Hednesford skipper Dave MacPherson was his usual busy presence at the base of the midfield, breaking up Ferriby attacks and moving the Pitmen forwards. He tested Pecora's reflexes on sixteen minutes with a low, bobbling effort that Pecora held at the second attempt

Tom Ward - playing in a more advanced role than he had done previously for the Pitmen - created a great opening for the Pitmen on nineteen minutes as dived in to head a Heath cross goalwards,  only for his effort the narrowly evade the onrushing Dyer at the far post

MacPherson claimed that he should have had a penalty midway through the first period as appeared to be manhandled by Pecora in the area with the pair challenging for a cross, but the referee saw differently and waved away the appeals

Mario Pedro attempted to add to his goal on Wednesday on twenty-three minutes, jinking his way past Paul Foot from the wing and attempting with a cheeky chip over Pecora, only to clear the crossbar with his deft effort


 Pecora was in action again five minutes later as he fumbled a long-range effort from Adams shot but managed to pounce on the rebound before Dyer could get a foot to it

The Pitmen were once again having one of those games that had become painfully familiar to many regular observers this term - plenty of possession, plenty of chances but looking decidedly porous at the back. Defensive confusion involving Marshall and Simms on thirty-one minutes as Hayward pick their pocket and lay the ball off the Bradshaw, whose rising effort skipped past the post

An inswinging Bolder corner kick on thirty-seven minutes was flicked on by Foot at the near post, relying on Adams' positional sense at the near post to clear the ball as Hayward and Bloor both looked to turn it home from close-range

With only a couple of minutes remaining in a low-quality first-half, good play from Pedro saw him win a free-kick on the right and quickly play Dyer into space behind the Ferriby defence. Foot did well to jockey the striker out wide, laying the ball back to Pedro. His cross was met by Ward, whose header drifted just over the angle of post and crossbar

Ferriby emerged the more determined side at the start of the second half after holding off the Pitmen's attacking threat with relative ease in the first period. Bloor's run and cross on fifty minutes was volleyed back across goal by Bradshaw before being hacked away from danger by Paul Robinson

Three minutes later, the hosts took the lead from a set-piece as a free-kick from the left was taken by Bloor, whose hopeful ball into the box caught the Pitmen ball watching, allowing Bolder to turn the ball past Gilmartin from six yards out. yet another soft goal conceded and entirely avoidable with more defensive organisation and communication

The Pitmen looked to have gained a reprieve on fifty-five minutes when they were awarded a penalty following a coming together between Graham Botham on Heath that saw the Hednesford winger bundled to the ground. Dyer stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick, but his casual effort allowed Pecora to make a relatively easy save down by his post

The Pitmen shrugged off Dyer's miss and continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, urged on by Starbuck on the sidelines who gestured for more players to push forwards. Dyer was denied by a smart stop from Pecor on fifty-nine minutes as the stopper did well to push the youngster's low shot around the post for a corner kick


Four minutes later, MacPherson was also denied by the busy Ferriby goalkeeper as his first-time effort from the edge of the penalty area was tipped away at full stretch by the former Hull City and Aston Villa stopper


With twenty minutes remaining, Pedro's lack of match sharpness came to the fore as he was taken off in favour of the fresher legs of Chris Adam down the left-wing

Ferriby almost doubled their lead with fifteen minutes remaining as Bloor, arrived late into the box to head a Bolder cross goalwards, only to head just wide of Gilmartin's far post


Gilmartin had to be alert to deny Ferriby substitute Cooke two minutes later as the Walsall loanee was called upon to parry the forward's snapshot away from goal following neat build-up play on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area

Ward drilled a shot high and wide from ten yards out on eighty minutes for the away side, whilst Robinson's firm header towards goal from a Heath corner kick was hacked clear by Botham sixty seconds later

In an attempt to force home an equaliser in the final few minutes of the game, Starbuck brought striker Knox on in place of the defensive Simms with eight minutes left which saw Adams move to right-back as cover

The hosts gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm with six minutes remaining as they grabbed a killer second goal of the evening; a cross from Craig Hall down the left was once again not dealt with by the Pitmen's defender, allowing Bradshaw to confidently volley the cross past Gilmartin from eight yards out


There was to be no way back for the Pitmen in the remaining minutes as Ferriby held firm at the back to claim their first three points of the season and record a deserved first win under their caretaker manager


For the Pitmen, they drop down to a lowly fourteenth place in the table off the back of yet another league defeat - their fifth in a row. With calls for Starbuck's head from some sections of the supporter base, the under-fire gaffer knows that his days could be numbered without a positive result on Monday night when they play host to mid-table Ilkeston Town

North Ferriby United: Pecora, Thompson, Botham, Bolder, Foot ©, Hall, Bloor, Davidson, Hayward (Cooke 71), Bradshaw, Ryan (Price 64)       Subs Unused: Foster

Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Simms (Knox 82), Adams, Hawthorne, Marshall, Robinson, Dyer, MacPherson ©, Ward, Heath, Pedro (Adam 70)     Sub Unused: Sanders

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