3.3.2007

UniBond Northern Premier League

North Ferriby United

Bradshaw (84) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

(0) 1

(0) 0

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Justin Jenkins

W W D L L W L D L L

Grantham Town (H) 10.3.07

Hednesford's recent stumble in form shows no sign of abating this afternoon as a late penalty gifted North Ferriby United all three points in the Pitmen's today's first-ever trip to Grange Lane

Having had a ten-day spell away from action following the postponement of Saturday's home game against Guiseley due to the recent spell of wet weather, Hednesford manager Phil Starbuck used his time well by making two signings, completing the loan signing of Preston North End's young midfielder Warren Beattie and winger Danny Blair from Carlton Town. Beattie came straight into the starting XI in place of Dave Whittaker as one of two changes, with Iain Screaton came back in after an injury and replacing the suspended Ritchie Butler in the other change

Mid-table Ferriby had very little to play for in the remainder of the season having recently hit the forty point mark that should be enough for the Villagers to retain their place at step three for the 2007-2008 season. Manager Brian France made two changes to his side from the one that had beaten Radcliffe Borough last weekend as Chris Gowen and Gary Bradshaw returned to the side in place of Jamie Heard and Nick Smith respectively

On a sunny but chilly afternoon by the Humber, the all-red Pitmen made a confident start to proceedings with Justin Jenkins going close to breaking his duck for the club in the fourth minute as he headed a Jamie March corner kick narrowly over the crossbar from eight yards out

Three minutes later, Phil Hadland made a marauding run down the left flank and go past Andy Thompson before crossing for Darren Alexander whose downward header to skipper Chris White was lashed over the crossbar by the Hednesford skipper via a deflection by opposite skipper Paul Foot

Young loanee Beattie played a delightful long pass along the ground and into the path of Jenkins in the tenth minute, only for the big striker to pull his right-footed effort just wide of the far post as Ferriby goalkeeper Antoni Pecora narrowed the angle

Sixty seconds later, White nipped in ahead of Thompson to head Alexander's cross at goal, only for Pecora to make a relatively easy save low down at his near post

The first booking of the afternoon went to Ferriby midfielder Jamie Waltham as referee Mr Madley rightly showed him a yellow card following a crude and late tackle on Danny Bacon that had the Hednesford bench on their feet

Hadland took the resultant free-kick and whipped in a left-footed ball to the far post, where Iain Screaton arrived late but was unable to apply the finish as he missed the ball by a matter of inches

 In the seventeenth minute, Jenkins did well to get ahead of Michael Price and meet Ross Dyer's cross, only to tamely head over the crossbar from ten yards out

Young's goal-kick on twenty minutes was flicked on by Alexander and not the path of Hadland, who was denied a clear goalscoring opportunity by a late offside flag against him

Jenkins continued to cut a frustrated figure as his header on twenty-five minutes from Dyer cross was deflected narrowly wide of the right-hand post by Foot

The hosts had shown little to no attacking intent thus far and were limited to a cross from Thompson on twenty-eight minutes that was claimed by Young under pressure from Bradshaw at his near post

Pecora made a superb save to further frustrate Jenkins on the half-hour mark as Bacon's cross was met by a powerful header from the experienced front man, only for former Hull City man Pecora to make a brilliant one-handed save

Bacon himself was next to test Pecora's reflexes five minutes later as he turned well on Beattie's pass and fired in a low shot that was turned around the post by the Ferriby stopper for another corner kick

The home side thought they had taken the lead on thirty-nine minutes against the run of play as Leon Wainman met a cross from Thompson and headed goalwards, hitting the underside of the bar and bounced down against the base of the post before being cleared. The striker celebrated the goal with his colleagues, but Mr Madley waved away any suggestion of a goal and play continued

In the final minute of the half, a quickly taken free-kick from Gowen found Waltham on the corner of the Hednesford penalty area. The winger took a touch and attempted a curling shot at goal that Young plucked out of the air at the far post before Bradshaw could react to the ball

It had been another forty-five minutes of dominance from the Pitmen that they had nothing to show for it other than a host of missed chances. The second period was to prove a far more spicy affair as both sides stepped up the tempo after the break

Gowen tried his luck with a drifting shot from twenty yards out just a minute into the second half, with Young scampering across his goal to watch the ball wide of his post

The game started to become feisty and disjointed as yellow cards started to appear at regular intervals; Thompson was the next player to have his name taken for flattening Hadland down the Hednesford right on forty-seven minutes. As the Pitmen lined up the resultant free-kick, Marshall and Waltham clashed inside the penalty area, with Marshall ending up on the turf after an altercation between the pair. The assistant on the far side advised the referee on the incident and Waltham was consequently shown a second yellow card for the off-the-ball incident

The Pitmen finally got round to the free-kick through Hadland, whose cross was turned goalwards by Alexander before being cleared off the line by Price. The ball fell to Jenkins, who saw his rebound also hacked off the line by Thompson

Alexander was the next player to incur the wrath of Mr Madley on fifty-five minutes as he was rightly shown a yellow card for dissent following an insinuation to the match official that Gowen had dived in a challenge between the pair

A minute later, Alexander's game came to an end as he was taken off in favour of new boy Blair, meaning a tactical switch that involved Dyer moving back to his natural role at centre-forward

Despite their numerical advantage, the Pitmen's attacking influence had subsided since the first half and chances were at a premium. Dyer fired over the crossbar and into the allotments behind the goal on the hour mark as he made a run from deep before shooting from the edge of the Ferriby penalty area

Debutant Beattie was the next man to be shown a yellow card on sixty-four minutes as he was cautioned for clipping the heels of Chris Bolder as he looked to escape the attentions of the young midfielder

Jenkins headed over the crossbar from a Blair cross on sixty-seven minutes and repeated the process on seventy minutes as he looped a header high over the bar after Haldnad had stood up a cross to the far post for the striker

Blair showed good vision to pick out the onrushing Bacon on seventy-four minutes with a fine forward pass, only for the striker to get the ball caught up under his feet and allowed Price to recover and clear the danger

The Pitmen's second change of the afternoon came with fourteen minutes remaining as the out-of-luck Jenkins was taken off in favour of the unorthodox talents of Mario Pedro

More last-ditch defending from Foot denied Bacon what looked to be a certain goal on seventy-eight minutes as a fine pass from March played the former Lincoln City man in on goal, only for Foot to make a fine recovering tackle before Bacon could pull the trigger

The mercurial Pedro was denied a winner for the Pitmen on eighty-two minutes as his shot from a Hadland cross was turned over the crossbar by Pecora for a corner kick. From Hadland's resultant corner kick, Screaton was first to the ball but headed a few inches over the crossbar

Two minutes later, the game was blown open as Ferriby were awarded a penalty kick; Young made an error of judgement as he lazily chipped his clearance straight into the path of substitute Smith, who took the ball back into the penalty area. As he shaped to shoot, White attempted to rescue the situation with a last-ditch challenge but only succeeded in bringing the forward down, resulting in both a spot-kick to the Villagers and a red card for the Hednesford skipper

Bradshaw - who had been well shackled by the Hednesford defence so far - took the resultant penalty kick and fired high to Young's right to score what was to be the winner for the hosts

It was a frenetic final few minutes from the Pitmen as they looked for a late response, forcing Ferriby back and winning three successive corner kicks. Blair went closest to scoring on his Hednesford debut in the final minute but dragged his shot from fifteen yards out well wide of goal

Defeat sees the Pitmen tumble down to fourth place in the UniBond Premier League as Marine overtake Starbuck's men in the table; their once-almost guaranteed play-off place now looking decidedly uncertain with eleven minutes remaining and only three wins in their past ten games to show for their efforts. Grantham Town make the trip to Keys Park next weekend with the Pitmen looking to complete a league double over the Gingerbreads and try to get their floundering season back on track

North Ferriby United: Pecora, Thompson , Price, Allison, Foot ©, Morley (Tracey 66), Gowen, Bolder, Wainman (Smith 75), Bradshaw, Waltham ▆ ▆ (47)      Sub Unused: Heard

Hednesford Town: Young, Dyer, Hadland, White © ▆ (84), Marshall, Screaton, Bacon, Beattie , Jenkins (Pedro 76), Alexander ▆ (Blair 56), March     Sub Unused: Whittaker