16.3.2010

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Nuneaton Town

Storer (33), Oddy (43), Moore (61)

(0) 0

(2) 3

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

459

Stuart Brock

W D W W L W W W W L

Truro City (A) 23.3.10

Hednesford's fine form finally came to an end this evening, as a powerful Nuneaton side turned over a tired-looking Pitmen team to reaffirm their standing as favourites to win the play-offs

Manager Bernard McNally was forced into one change to the side that had started Saturday's thrilling 4-3 victory against Hemel Hempstead Town as Romanian midfielder Jean Prunescu had departed after only one game. The Hednesford manager moved quickly to cover off this loss by re-signing the powerful Marlon Walters to add steel to his midfield area for tonight's game

Nuneaton were on a tremendous run of form themselves, having only lost one of their last five league games to sit third in the Zamaretto League standings going into tonight's A5 derby. Manager Kevin Wilkin stuck with the same side that had drawn at fellow high-flyers Brackley Town at the weekend as Boro looked to close the gap to second-placed Bashley to just three points

With both sides renowned for their powerful style, this was certainly going to be a meaty affair as both sides saw players booked within the first ten minutes. Firstly, Elliott Durrell was booked for a late challenge, closely followed by former Pitman Simon Forsdick, who dished out some retribution on Durrell for his earlier challenge

Nuneaton's powerful team had played themselves back into the championship reckoning in recent weeks with an impressive unbeaten run, and they started to take control of the game in the first quarter with their slick passing and pacy play.  On eleven minutes, Lee Moore almost put the visitors in front, getting a header in on goal after Brock had parried a long-range shot into the path of the Nuneaton forward. Fortunately for the Pitmen, Moore headed over when it looked easier to score

Hednesford threatened momentarily, with Tyrone Barnett forcing the experienced Darren Acton into a smart save after the big striker had got his head to an Elliott Durrell free kick on sixteen minutes

Moore went even closer to scoring a minute later, forcing Brock into a fine save low down, with the Hednesford number one turning the ball onto the post

Kyle Storer's pace had caused the home side problems since the off, and skipper Sean Platt had to be on his guard to block Storer's shot as he advanced on goal

Josh Craddock, impressive in recent games in the Pitmen's midfield, tried a speculative shot from twenty-five yards on twenty-six minutes, but his shot was watched over the bar by Acton

Nuneaton's pressure finally broke the Pitmen just after the half-hour mark. Craddock gave away a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal, allowing Storer to bend a superb shot into the top corner of the net, despite Brock's best attempts to keep the ball out

The Pitmen huffed and puffed their way through the rest of the half, struggling to keep the ball against a Nuneaton side that threatened with every break. Storer and Moore were giving Decio Gomes and Liam Francis nightmares with their movement

Two minutes before the break, 'Boro' snatched their second of the game, thus ruining any half time team talk McNally may have prepared; Moore's brilliant run saw him ghost behind the Hednesford defence, before playing the ball back across goal to allow Rob Oddy to score at the far post

Half time saw McNally make a change up front with Adam McGurk coming on in place of Walters, who was off the pace and had watched the game pass him by in the first period

With McNally's pep talk ringing in their ears, the Pitmen made a bright start to the second half, with Platt driving over after getting on the end of a good move involving Durrell, Dorryll Proffitt and Barnett

Moore continued where he left off in the first half, forcing Brock into a smart save on fifty-six minutes after he had yet again got the better of the Hednesford centre backs

A minute later, Nuneaton carved open the Hednesford defence once more, with Zak Martin alert enough to hack the ball off the line as it looped towards goal

The best Hednesford could muster was a plethora of long-range attempts that failed to test Acton, including a very ambitious effort by McGurk, who tried to beat Acton from fully forty yards

On sixty-two minutes, Moore finally got the goal he deserved, taking advantage of tired-looking defending from the Pitmen to out Nuneaton three up. Craddock lost out on the edge of the area, allowing Moore to poke the ball through towards goal. Gomes and Brock both failed to communicate in dealing with the loose ball, allowing Moore to nip in and slot home

Almost immediately, McNally made another attacking change by bringing Ross Dyer on for the clearly shattered Craddock to put another man up front and make it a 4-3-3 formation

Martin was again on hand to spare the Pitmen's blushes on seventy-five minutes, clearing off the line once more via a deflection off the bar with Nuneaton's strikers breathing down his neck

McGurk had assumed responsibility for the Pitmen's free-kicks since coming on, and another swerving effort from the former Aston Villa man dipped just wide of goal with five minutes remaining

Nuneaton took the ball straight up the other end from the goal kick, and Nuneaton substitute Rob Foster fired over from twelve yards out as the Hednesford defenders stood off him

Luke Chapman made a rare appearance for the Pitmen late on, as he replaced Proffitt with a few minutes left. he set up Durrell late on for a rising shot that beat Acton and the crossbar

All in all, a frustrating evening for the Pitmen, who had been well beaten by a side that deserves to be in the mix at the end of the season and may still challenge Farnborough for the title if they win their game in hand on the league leaders. After such a superb run, McNally will now need to lift his troops ahead of Saturday's trip to relegation-threatened Merthyr Tydfil

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt ©, Martin, Bailey, Francis, Gomes, Durrell , Craddock  (Dyer 65 ), Barnett, Proffitt (Chapman 89), Walters (McGurk 45)       Subs Unused: Morton, Flynn

Nuneaton Town: Acton , Oddy ©, Forsdick , Noon, Dean, Pierpoint , Armson (Marsden 85), Storer, Dillon (Spencer 79), Moore  (Foster 82), Hadland         Subs Unused: Spacey, Nisevic

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