11.11.2006

UniBond Northern Premier League

Ossett Town

Hednesford Town

Alexander (50)

(0) 0

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

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163

Darren Alexander

D D W W D D L W W W

Mossley (H) 18.11.06

Amidst utterly horrendous conditions in West Yorkshire, the Pitmen record their third win in a row and maintain their excellent unbeaten away record in the UniBond Premier League as they edge out hosts Ossett Town at Ingfield courtesy of a Darren Alexander strike in the second half

There were two changes to the side that had carved out a win at Matlock Town last weekend as winger Phil Hadland returned to the side in place of the injured Iain Screaton and experienced defender Steve Farmer making his Hednesford debut in place of Tom Marshall. New signing Ritchie Butler, who had signed for the club in midweek from league rivals Ilkeston Town, was named amongst the substitutes

Ossett had been beaten 3-2 at Marine in their previous league game last weekend to leave Steve Kittrick's side down in fifteenth place in the UniBond Premier League table. He made two changes to his side for their return to Ingfield as Lee Pugh replaced Rob Tonks at right-back and goalkeeper Jon Worsnop came in for regular number one Neil Bennett

The game started under heavy skies, with the heavens opening for the first time early on in the first period and continuing to get gradually worse as the game went on. It was Ossett who registered the first shot on goal after three minutes when striker Carl Fothergill fired straight at Ryan Young after a smart turn saw him get away from Farmer

Alexander almost produced the game's opening goal with a fine individual effort in the ninth minute as he picked up the ball from deep and drove into the Ossett half, but lifted his subsequent shot from twenty-five yards out over the crossbar

There was a horribly gusty wind blowing across the pitch to add to the poor conditions, with both sides resorting to long balls forwards as they looked for an opening. Alexander did well to pick the pocket of Pugh in the fourteenth minute as he robbed the ball from the full-back in the corner to stop Pugh from seeing out Chris White's long ball forwards but was wasteful with his attempted cross to Ross Dyer and curled the ball out of play

 New boy Gary Sucharewycz took a quick throw-in down the left wing on eighteen minutes and found Tom Franklin in space just inside the Ossett penalty area, only for Worsnop to make a fine save to push away the midfielder's firmly-hit low shot

Worsnop was called upon to make another good save three minutes later as White's free-kick skipped off the drenched turf but was turned behind for a corner kick by the stopper

Just before the half-hour mark, the away side came closest to taking the lead so far as Dyer got the better of Richard Marchant as he got on the end of an White pass but fired his shot over the bar from a good position just outside the Ossett penalty area

 

A minute later, veteran former Hednesford striker Andy Hayward forced Young into action as he raced onto a long ball from Rob O'Brien but was narrowly beaten to the ball by the onrushing Young before he could get his shot away

Dyer wasted the game's best chance five minutes later as he tamely headed wide at the far post after Dave Whittaker had skillfully made space for himself down the right-wing and picked his strike partner out with a fine cross

Franklin and Marchant became the first players to be shown a yellow card five minutes before half-time as a coming together between the pair saw the duo engage in a bout of pushing and shoving that was deemed booking-worthy by the referee

With the final action of the first half, a long, rangy kick forwards from Young bounced inside the Ossett penalty area and landed at the feet of Hadland, who seemed surprised that the ball had dropped to him and scuffed his shot along the ground and into the arms of Worsnop

Half time saw a deterioration in conditions as driving rain started to create standing water all over the Ingfield pitch, particularly at the open end of the pitch where the ground sloped down considerably

The Pitmen emerged with purpose at the start of the second period and Franklin created an opening just three minutes after the restart as he broke clear down the left and crossed, only to miss both the incoming Alexander and Whittaker at the far post

 

The away side snatched what to prove to be the game's all-important goal five minutes after the restart; Sucharewycz's ball in behind the Ossett defence found Dyer running in behind them after holding his line well. The youngster's shot was blocked but the ball fell kindly for Alexander, who forced the ball home from close range on the rebound

Worsnop did well to deny Dyer a quickfire second goal for the Pitmen just three minutes later as another long punt forwards from Ross Adams found Dyer in behind the Ossett defence once more, only for the home goalkeeper to spot the danger early and clear the danger ahead of the striker

Ossett were struggling to get a foothold in the second half and were limited to successive corner kicks on fifty-seven minutes that were both cleared by Alexander, who was having an inspired game for the visitors and seemed to be popping up everywhere

Farmer's debut for the Pitmen came to an end just after the hour mark as he was replaced by Sheppard after he felt his hamstring go; it was a hugely frustrating moment for the defender who had only just returned from injury picked up in pre-season that had delayed his first start for the club

Hayward and strike partner Fothergill linked up to create a great chance for the hosts three minutes later as Hayward's knock-down from a Daniel Ryan cross found Fothergill, whose first-time shot was narrowly off-target as it sailed over the crossbar

From another Ossett corner kick, Marchant was handed a great chance to level matters for the hosts as Ryan's cross was completely missed by the midfielder with a comical air-shot, most likely caused by the deteriorating pitch

 

Hayward provided O'Brien with a chance on sixty-eight minutes as his fine pass found the midfield man in space, only for O'Brien to fire wide of Young's goal from the edge of the box as Sucharewycz closed him down

The heavy rain was still falling with no sign of stopping and the referee and his assistants took a moment on seventy-three minutes to halt the game and consult with the two managers as to whether they were happy to continue, which they signalled that they were happy to do so with only fifteen minutes remaining

This decision was tested somewhat a minute later as Will Ryder made a move forwards for the visitors, only for the Ossett man to leave the ball behind in a puddle down the left-wing

On seventy-eight minutes, the Pitmen suffered the same fate as White's through ball into the Ossett penalty area that was intended for Dyer was cut out by a big pool of water that allowed Marchant to clear the danger

 The home side became more direct in their route to goal as the minutes ticked by with Fothergill getting on the end of an O'Brien through ball on eighty-three minutes but was denied by a smart save by Young, who held the greasy ball at the second attempt

 Hayward was left frustrated by the away side in the final minute of normal time as Adams was on hand to hook the striker's flicked effort off the line as he got something on a cross from substitute Tonks

In added time, Franklin conceded a free-kick right on the edge of his own penalty area after fouling Fothergill, prompting Ryder to strike a low shot at goal that skipped off the turf but bounced inches wide of Young's far post

 

A gritty, ugly three points for the Pitmen, who make it three wins in a row with what was their hardest-fought win of the season so far against sturdy opponents and dreadful conditions. This sees them keep pace with league leaders AFC Telford, sitting just two points behind their local rivals in what is starting to look like a two-horse race of the league title between two sides who have developed a taste for unbeaten runs. Struggling Mossley make their first-ever trip to Keys Park next weekend looking for a win to move them away from the drop zone and end the Pitmen's long unbeaten run, which now dates back to August

Ossett Town: Worsnop, Pugh, Ryder, Lindley, Riorden, Marchant , O'Brien, Briggs, Hayward (Davison 76), Fothergill, Ryan (Tonks 76)      Sub Unused: Marchant

Hednesford Town: Young, Hadland, Henshaw, White ©, Farmer (Sheppard 61), Sucharewycz, Franklin , Whittaker, Dyer, Alexander, Adams      Subs Unused: Butler, Meakin-Richards