UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Marshall (90)

North Ferriby United

Allison (48)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Darren Alexander


Ashton United (A) 4.9.06

Hednesford just can't seem to crack it at home, as the Pitmen yet again failed to take three points from their latest fixture in front of their own supporters, this time against Hull-based North Ferriby United this afternoon

 Following the Bank Holiday Monday defeat against Matlock Town, Hednesford manager Phil Starbuck made three changes to his side for this afternoon's game as winger Phil Hadland, centre-back Tom Marshall and striker Darren Alexander came into the side in favour of the unavailable Martin Ridley, Tom Groves and the injured Tom Franklin

Ferriby's debut season at step three had been a huge succession in 2005-2006 with the Villagers finishing in fifth place in the UniBond Premier League table and getting to the play-off final, only to lose to Farsley Celtic at the final hurdle. Manager Brian France had struggled to find a blend to his side so far this season, with his side only winning one of their first four games in August to leave them down in a lowly eighteenth place in the table. France made one change to the side that had beaten Radcliffe Borough on Bank Holiday Monday as defender Michael Price made his first start of the season in place of Chris Coupe

 On an overcast early September afternoon, the Pitmen started brightly and the hard-working Alexander almost conjuring a chance for his side in the sixth minute of the game. Alexander chasing down a Ross Dyer ball over the top of the Ferriby defence and forced visiting goalkeeper Antoni Pecora into a rushed clearance, which only dropped as far as the feet of Hadland. His clever pass to Dave Whittaker saw the tall striker fire in a goalbound shot that Pecora did well to recover and turn away for a Hednesford corner kick

From Hadland's resultant corner kick, the ball found its way to the far post where Steve Brannan popped up to turn the ball back across goal. However, his pacy ball back into the six-yard box was too much for anyone in white to react to and the ball drifted out of play

Ferriby had been cautious in the opening exchanges and struggled to create anything of real note until Adam Bolder picked up a loose ball in midfield and supplied a fine pass into the feet of the dangerous Gary Bradshaw in the tenth minute. Bradshaw turned past Marshall and shaped to shoot but was denied a scoring chance by a late offside flag from the assistant on the main stand side, who had taken an age to decide that the striker received the ball in an offside position

Marlon Walters - already due to serve a one-match ban next week for his red card at Grantham Town two weeks ago - was in hot water with the officials in the fifteenth minute as he was shown a yellow card by referee Mr Dexter for a lunging and late tackle on Bolder in front of the two benches

 Whittaker was still looking for his first home goal following his summer move from Staffordshire rivals Leek Town and was off-target with the Pitmen's next effort three minutes later as he fired wide of the target with a side-footed effort after Alexander had flicked a Dyer cross into his strike partner's path

The Pitmen were enjoying their best spell of the game so far and squandered further chances to take the lead; midway through the first period, Whittaker held off Paul Foot's challenge and played Dyer into space down the right. The youngster jinked into the penalty area and perhaps unwisely tried his luck from a tight angle that sailed over the bar when a cross to the incoming Hadland at the far post was perhaps a better option

Brannan was denied by Pecora four minutes later as Ferriby struggled to clear their lines from a Hadland free-kick and only cleared the ball as far as the midfielder on the edge of the penalty area

Trickery from Hadland on thirty-one minutes saw him skip past two challenges on the left wing and hang up a deep cross to the far post where Dyer had made a late dart into the penalty area. The youngster attempted to turn the ball back into the path of Alexander but found a combination of Foot and Pecora in the way and the danger was cleared

 A mistake by Brannan almost gifted Bradshaw the opening goal of the afternoon on thirty-five minutes as his mistimed clearance was sliced straight into the path of the prolific former Hull City and Harrogate Town striker, but his instinctive shot was narrowly off target with only Ryan Young to beat from fifteen yards out

The Pitmen's best move of the match so far came in the fortieth minute as a fine passage of one-touch play involving Brannan, Alexander and Iain Screaton played Hadland into space down the left-wing. He steadied himself before pulling the ball back into the path of Whittaker, who was lurking on the penalty spot. His firmly-hit first-time shot was goalbound until it took a deflection off the boot of defender Neil Allison, who just did enough to turn the ball wide

In the final minute of the first half, Whittaker's frustrating afternoon continued as he showed good feet to step past a challenge from Chris Gowen before shotting from twenty-five yards out with an effort that grazed the top of the Ferriby crossbar

The diminutive but lively figure of Bradshaw continued to give the Hednesford defence the runaround at the start of the second period and almost snatched a goal after capitalising on an error by youngster Marshall on forty-seven minutes, seizing on a misplaced pass and trying his luck with a first-time effort that Young was equal to

The Pitmen were undone however a minute later as three successive corner kicks finally told for the visitors; Bolder's inswinging kick was not cleared by a hesitant Hednesford defence and allowed Allison to fire past Young from the edge of the box with an unstoppable half-volley from the centre-back

 Left-back Marshall looked to get the Pitmen back on level terms straight from the restart, tricking his way past Andy Thompson on the corner of the penalty area before forcing Pecora into a good save from his low drive to push the ball away from goal

Pecora was also alert to the danger posed by a long throw from Screaton on fifty-two minutes, punching the ball away from danger at his near post as he beat Marshall to the looping ball

The tricky Mario Pedro came on for the hosts three minutes later as the Portuguese winger was introduced in place of the tiring Hadland down the left flank to offer more flair to the Pitmen's attack

Pedro linked up with Marshall down the left just a couple of minutes later, playing the youngster into space after he made an overlapping run. Marshall tricked his way past Ben Morley and fired in a powerful shot that Pecora saved well at his near post


Pecora made another good save from Steve Brannan's free-kick on the hour mark, pushing the midfielder's effort over the crossbar and away for a corner kick after Brannan's kick had cleared the Ferriby wall

Five minutes later, a short corner from the hosts almost caught Ferriby out as Brannan played a quick ball into the feet of Marshall, whose first-time cross to the far post caught Ferriby ball-watching and landed on the head of skipper Danny Jellicoe, who inexplicably headed wide of the post when it looked easier to score

Whittaker's luckless afternoon continued into the second period as he dragged a good chance wide of Pecora's right-hand post on sixty-nine minutes after good build-up play from Pedro

At the other end, Ferriby had been less committed to going forwards since grabbing their goal, with a long-range effort from Leon Wainman on seventy-two minutes their only effort of a muted second-half display so far as they looked to hang on to their slender lead 

Alexander had led the line well for the Pitmen with an impressive display and deserved a goal to add to his performance but was also finding a goal elusive. He took Screaton's pass forwards on seventy-four minutes and held off Foot's challenge but could only fire in a weak, bobbling shot on the run that was easily saved by Pecora

Brannan - another player having a good game - tested Pecora once more a minute later with another free-kick that took a nick off the Ferriby wall before ending up in the grateful arms of the former Aston Villa and Hull stopper

Walters' aggressive approach to the game continued to irk the Ferriby bench despite having already being booked and further tackles on Bolder and Wainman led to the midfielder being given a stern lecture by Mr Dexter once more. To save him from being sent off once more, Starbuck elected to take the player before this could happen with five minutes remaining and replaced him with veteran Chris White

Ferriby were very much hanging on in the final minutes of the game as the hosts launched wave after wave of attacks on the visitor's defence in search of an equaliser. With two minutes remaining, a glorious Brannan inswinging corner kick somehow bounced in the Ferriby six-yard box but no one in white had the instincts to turn the ball home for what would have been a simple tap in

Pecora had spent much of the second period taking far too long with his goal kicks, re-spotting the ball on multiple occasions and generally antagonising the Hednesford fans in the Heath Hayes end with his time-wasting. He was finally booked for a culmination of these offences as he took his time taking the subsequent goal kick, much to the ironic cheers of the home supporters

With the game entering the final minute of normal time, quick thinking from Brannan set the Pitmen up for a well-deserved equaliser; Dyer was brought down on the edge of the Ferriby penalty area by Gowen, with Brannan quickly tapping the ball into the path of Marshall before the away side could get their wall set. Marshall fired home an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Pecora from twenty yards out to score his first goal of the season and level the game up once more

Added time saw the Pitmen camped in the Ferriby half of the pitch as they looked for a late winner, only for the visitors to hold firm and take a point away from what had been a competitive encounter between two fairly evenly-matched sides. A draw ends the Pitmen's losing run at home but means that they are still waiting to record a win at home this term. Attention turns to Monday night when Hednesford make a first-ever trip up the M6 to Greater Manchester to face struggling Ashton United

Hednesford Town: Young, Dyer, Marshall, Brannan, Jellicoe ©, Adams, Screaton, Walters  (White 85), Alexander, Whittaker, Hadland (Pedro 55)      Sub Unused: Groves

North Ferriby United: Pecora , Morley, Gowen, Allison, Foot, Smith, A. Thompson, Bolder, Wainman, Bradshaw, Price (Moore 72)       Subs Unused: R. Thompson, Coupe