2.9.2000

Nationwide Conference

Hednesford Town

Cooper (54), (55), (73) (penalty), Lake (60), Goodwin (67), Sedgemore (86), Norbury (90)

Northwich Victoria

Simpson (15)

(0) 7

(1) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

800

Mark Cooper

L L D L W

 .

Leigh RMI (A) 5.9.00

A quite astonishing second-half performance from the Pitmen saw them finally record their first win of the new season in spectacular style with seven second-half goals to defeat to beat ten-man Northwich Victoria at Keys Park

With the Pitmen still looking for their first win of the season after Bank Holiday Monday's defeat at Yeovil Town, manager John Baldwin made one change to the side that had started at Huish Park with Stuart Lake coming back into the team for his first start of the season, replacing Jake Sedgemore who had to be content with a place on the bench as the Pitmen returned to the relative safety of Keys Park once more

 

Northwich made the relatively short trip down the M6 having made a mixed start to the new season, having picked up their first win of the season last weekend at home to Morecambe before taking a point at Hereford United on Bank Holiday Monday. Manager Keith Alexander stuck with the same side that had started at Edgar Street as he looked to lift the Vics further away from the drop zone

 

On a bright, sunny afternoon in South Staffordshire the Pitmen made a decent start and could quite easily have taken the lead in the first minute when Ian Robinson got down the right and sent in a hard cross to the back post for Micky Norbury, only for Wes Simpson to nip in and head to the ball behind for a Hednesford corner kick before Norbury could make a connection

Former Hednesford favourite Ged Kimmins had the Vics' first sight at goal in the fifth minute, turning past Russell Bradley and drilling a low shot beyond the reach of Mark Gayle but also pulling his effort wide of the post

Good football from Lake four minutes later saw the burly midfield man saw him play a great through ball into the path of Ian Robinson, only for the youngster to panic at the crucial moment and drag a shot well wide of Northwich keeper Lance Key's right-hand post from long range 

In the thirteenth minute, a mistake by the experienced Mark Devlin gifted the ball to Scott Goodwin just inside the Northwich half. Goodwin played a quick one-two with Paul Bagshaw before lifting his shot over the crossbar and out of the ground when a pass to Neil Davis was probably a better bet

The opening goal of the game went Northwich's way in the fifteenth minute as the Vics took advantage of yet more lax Hednesford defending to take the lead; a corner from Colin Rose was only half-cleared by a hesitant home defence to the feet of Simpson, who hit a fine right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that flew past Gayle and found the top corner of the net. A fine strike to open the scoring but yet more questions about the creaking old Hednesford defence and it's cohesion


Four minutes later Northwich nearly added to the Pitmen's misery as Mark Haran gave the ball away cheaply to Gary Fletcher with a loose pass. The striker took the ball forwards before unleashing a bouncing shot that Gayle saved well at his near post

 

Paul Bagshaw's trickery saw the young winger jink his way to the byeline on twenty-three minutes and stand up a cross to the far post where Norbury's flicked header only found the side-netting

 

Bagshaw linked up with Bradley down the right four minutes later to play the ball around Jamie Bates and send over a low cross into the feet of Davis, whose first-time effort was saved by Key at his near post

 

A neat turn by the talented Kimmins saw him leave Neil Pointon standing on thirty-one minutes and play Darren Vicary into space behind the Hednesford defence. Haran did well to jockey the striker away from goal and force him into an angled shot on the turn that failed to test Gayle effectively

 

Lake was the first player to receive a booking four minutes later as he was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Devlin in the centre circle that irked the Vics players and prompted referee Mr. Tattham to caution the player

With just six minutes remaining of the half left another corner from Rose was headed back across goal by Steve Davis to Kimmins, whose free header from six yards out cleared Gayle's crossbar

 

A free-kick from Kimmins on forty-three minutes found Fletcher darting in behind the static Hednesford defence, only for the Northwich man to lift his rising shot just over Gayle's crossbar from fifteen yards out

The half-time whistle saw Hednesford leave the field to the boos from their supporters after yet another poor half from their players that once again highlighted the lack of quality in the squad presently. However, no-one in the ground could have predicted the spectacular turnaround in proceedings in the second half as Baldwin's side came out all guns blazing at the start of the second period with the wind at their backs

Lake lashed an early warning shot just past Key's post on forty-eight minutes after winning a fifty-fifty ball with Devlin just outside the Northwich penalty area and unleashing a low shot from long range

Two minutes later, a corner kick from skipper Mark Cooper was met full-on by the head of Haran, only for his firm effort to drift just over the Northwich crossbar 

In the fifty-fourth minute, the Pitmen finally got themselves back on level terms  as a Robinson cross from the right was met by Cooper who sneaked in front of his marker and lashed a right-footed shot that flew past a stationary Key and into the net for his first ever Hednesford goal

Before Northwich could draw breath, the Pitmen struck again as they were gifted the ball back from the restart and took the ball straight back into the Northwich half through Goodwin; the midfielder's ball into Norbury saw John Robertson manage to nip the ball away from the striker but only into the path of Cooper, who unleashed a simply unstoppable shot from thirty yards out that beat Key all ends up to and nestled into the net to turn the game on its head in a matter of sixty seconds

Suddenly it was the visitors looking nervy and making mistakes at the back as Davis nipped in to win the ball off a dithering Bates and drive in a low shot that Key held inside his six-yard box

Hednesford put clear day between themselves and Northwich on the hour mark as great free kick taken by Bagshaw was curled into the six-yard box for Lake to dive in and head home unchallenged from close range

Hednesford were hungry for more goals and nearly made it 4-1 on sixty-four minutes as a header from Haran from Pointon's inswinging free-kick was hacked off the goal line by a recovering Bates at the near post

The Pitmen did grab a fourth goal three minutes later with a gem of a goal from Goodwin, taking full advantage of a mistake by Richard Norris to win the ball thirty yards out from goal; he spotted Key off his line and produced a delightful chip over the keeper who did manage to just touch the ball, but couldn't stop it dipping just underneath the crossbar and into the empty net for his second goal in two games

On seventy-three minutes, Northwich's woes were added to with the double blow of a penalty award for the Pitmen and a red card for defender Steve Davis. Norbury was played through on goal by Cooper's fine pass but was hauled down by the defender as he entered the Northwich penalty area. Mr. Tattham immediately pointed to the spot and showed Davis a red card for denying Norbury a clear goalscoring opportunity. Normal penalty taker Neil Davis - who had missed two penalties at Yeovil - allowed Cooper to take the resultant spot-kick to seal his hat-trick, which he duly did in confident fashion by firing high into the net beyond Key's reach and make it 5-1

 

A great run from Bagshaw on seventy-six minutes saw him beat two Northwich players and square the ball to Robinson, only for the former Ilkeston Town man to drag his shot wide of goal

 

A minute later, Baldwin made his first change of the afternoon as Davis was wrapped up in cotton wool for another week as he was replaced by Keith Russell up front


Russell was straight into the action with a fine slide-rule pass to Lake on eighty-one minutes, only for his rising shot from just outside the six-yard box to clear the crossbar as Key came out to narrow the angle

 

Cooper was afforded a standing ovation from the Keys Park crowd a minute later as he was taken off in favour of Jake Sedgemore in a move that saw Pointon handed the captaincy for the remainder of the game. A minute later, Stewart Airdrie also came on for Lake in midfield after a fine return to the side from the long-serving midfield man

Some of the home support were chanting 'we want six', and their side duly obliged on eighty-seven minutes as Norbury cleverly held the ball up and fed the incoming Sedgemore, who kept his cool by rounding Key and slotted home from a slight angle

The rout was completed in the second minute of stoppage time as Norbury grabbed the goal his efforts deserved after beating the Vics offside trap to get on the end of a Goodwin pass and fire past a horribly exposed Key to make it 7-1 with the last action of the game

It's amazing how forty-five minutes can change an atmosphere inside a football ground as the boos of half-time were replaced by warm applause and cheers from the Hednesford supporters at the final whistle. The Pitmen move off the foot of the table, albeit on goal difference only, and travel to fellow strugglers Leigh RMI in midweek looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Bradley, Pointon, Goodwin, Lake ▆ (Airdrie 83), Haran, Cooper © (Sedgemore 82), Robinson, Davis (Russell 77), Norbury , Bagshaw      Subs Unused: Rhodes, Carney

Northwich Victoria: Key, Davis ▆ (73), Bates, Robertson, Simpson, Devlin, Norris, Rose ▆ (Halcroft 80), Kimmins (Poland 78), Fletcher, Vicary (Laurie 54)       Sub Unused: Burke

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