16.8.2008

UniBond Northern Premier League

Ossett Town

Thornton (15)

Hednesford Town

Briscoe (75)

(1) 1

(0) 1

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175

Louis Briscoe

D

Nantwich Town (H) 19.8.08

Hednesford kicked off their third season in the UniBond Premier League with a point at Ossett Town this afternoon - although it really should have been all three points, considering the number of chances that fell to the Pitmen over the ninety minutes.

New manager Dean Edwards was missing three players due to suspensions carried over into the new season but still handed debuts to Stuart Brock, Sean Platt, Decio Gomes, Danny Harvey, Louis Briscoe, Tyrone Barnett and Adam Connolly, whilst fellow new signings Chris Morris, Orlando Junior, Elliott Durrell and Scott Stamps were amongst the substitutes

Ossett - tipped to be amongst the relegation candidates this season - were looking for a dramatic improvement on last season's relegation fight that saw them remain a step three side on the last day of the 2007-2008 season. Manager Simon Collins had brought in a number of new faces over the summer months in an attempt to improve the Ingfield side's fortunes in what will no doubt be a competitive UniBond Premier League this season

On a bright sunny day in Yorkshire, the away side started well, lining up in their smart new sky blue change kit. It only took five minutes for Ross Dyer - scorer of the winning goal in last season's corresponding fixture - to get a shot in on target as he diverted Louis Briscoe's cross goalwards, but watched as Ossett's keeper Liam Richardson made the save

The home side responded two minutes later, winning a free kick in a good position after a foul by Connolly. Despite the advantageous position, Tom Claisse wasted the chance, blasting over the bar when a flighted ball seemed the better option

The officials were to have a poor afternoon overall, giving some highly questionable decisions to either side. The Pitmen were denied a golden opportunity by an offside flag from the assistant out on the right, pulling up Dyer as he raced onto a ball from Anthony Maguire, clear of the Ossett defence

Briscoe was enjoying a fine start, teasing the Ossett defence with his mixture of power and skill. He managed to manoeuvre his way to the edge of the area and force Richardson into another save on ten minutes

Despite being on top of the game, the Pitmen then found themselves a goal down, as Ossett scored with their first meaningful shot of the game. The Hednesford defence made a complete hash of clearing the ball from the right, allowing Darren Thornton to seize the ball and fire past Stuart Brock into the far top corner of the net

Tyrone Barnett was typically breezy up front, forcing Ossett to play the ball along the line, something they seemed to have problems with. His persistence almost paid off on twenty minutes, as he pounced on Rob Pacey's poor header back to Richardson, but was denied by the Ossett number one at the last second

Ossett replied with a great chance of their own, with Ben Hardy almost adding to the host's advantage. His run into the area saw him fire a shot across goal and only narrowly wide of the far post

Richardson was having a great game in the Ossett goal, and his save on twenty-seven minutes was the best of the afternoon. Tom Marshall's run and cross was met by Barnett at the near post, but his shot was brilliantly turned over by Richardson for a corner

He was quickly back into the action a minute later, denying Briscoe after the Pitmen's number eight turned his man inside out and fired in a shot from the right-hand side of the area

As half time approached, the Pitmen turned up the heat, with Barnett firing just wide of goal via a deflection. From the corner, Harvey rose to head home, but the referee decided he wanted to be centre stage and disallowed the goal for a previous push

The second half was very similar in its play; the Pitmen having all of the possession and chances, Ossett defending diligently, relying on Richardson to keep the visitors at bay. He was in action within two minutes of the restart, standing his ground to confidently save from Briscoe

Connolly was next to be denied by the impressive Richardson, watching his long-range shot all the way into his hands after the new boy had collected a ball from Mark Briggs

The frustrations grew for the Pitmen as the half wore on, with Sean Platt only inches away from equalising on fifty-five minutes, but his attempt to reach Dyer's cross was narrowly short

Brock was in danger of becoming bored, as Ossett offered very little going forward. He was required on the hour mark, however, coming out to smother a shot from Longstaff

Another offside flag denied Briscoe on sixty-eight minutes, and you started to get the feeling it may not be the Pitmen's day - something we have grown accustomed to over the years. However, eight minutes later they finally got the breakthrough their efforts deserved. Barnett's cross from the right was glanced home by Briscoe at the far post to level the game

Tails up, the away side charged forward in search of a winner. Richardson denied Barnett again with a fine save four minutes later, before Briscoe had a late chance to win it, but fluffed his chance in front of goal

Dean Edwards admitted he was disappointed after the game, stating he had never seen such a one-sided one-one draw. The stats tell as much, with the Pitmen needing to sharpen up in front of goal ahead of the visit of newly-promoted Nantwich Town to Keys Park on Tuesday night

Ossett Town: Richardson, Hay, Fawcus, D. Briggs, Thornton (McManus 67 ), Pacey, Claisse, Denton, Longstaff (Greaves 80), Hardy, O'Brien       Subs Unused: Burke, Hall, Tonks

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt, Maguire, Gomes, Harvey (Junior 65), Marshall ©, M. Briggs, Briscoe (Morris 89), Barnett, Dyer, Connolly      Subs Unused: Stamps, Durrell

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