19.4.2008

UniBond Northern Premier League

Ossett Town

Hednesford Town

Dyer (77)

(0) 0

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

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177

Paul Robinson

L W L L W W D D L W

North Ferriby United (H) 26.4.08

Hednesford ended their topsy-turvy away campaign on a high this afternoon at a wet and windy Ingfield with a win over Ossett Town, ending the Pitmen's three-game spell without a win

Manager Phil Starbuck was looking for a response from his eternally inconsistent side following their defeat against Ashton United last week and made two changes to his side for this afternoon's trip to Yorkshire as Mario Pedro and Rob Davies came back into the side at the expense of the suspended Wayne Dyer and Dan McLeod respectively

It was lowly Ossett's final of the game of the season as they had drawn the short straw of the side that would be sitting out the last day of the season due to Scarborough's early removal from the league and every team having two blank dates during the season. Manager Simon Collins made only one change to his side from the one that had lost 3-2 at Eastwood Town last weekend as goalkeeper Jonathon Hedge replaced Paul Cuss between the posts

 

For the second successive season, the Pitmen were faced with a quagmire of a pitch at Ingfield following last season's comical game amidst a torrential downpour. In front of a desperately poor crowd, the all-blue Pitmen started well as Chad Sheppard's inswinging free-kick in the fourth minute tested Hedge, who collected safely at his near post with Paul Robinson lurking at the back post

Ross Dyer was once again at the heart of everything positive for the Pitmen going forwards, taking on Ossett's Chris Fawcus in the seventh minute and beating him for pace before entering the penalty area. However, the slippery underfoot conditions denied the young striker a shot at goal as he lost his footing at the crucial moment and allowed Hedge to claim the ball

Pedro got the better of Rob Tonks down the opposite flank five minutes later, leaving the right-back in his wake before sending over a deep cross to the far post where Alan Nagington was lurking, only for the luckless striker to fire high and wide of the goal with a first-time effort

Ossett's Sam Denton received a dressing down from referee Mr Ledger in the sixteenth minute of the game after scything down David Brown in mid-flight and incurring the wrath of the Hednesford players 

Paul Evans was called upon to make his first contribution to the game two minute later as he made a smart save from a David Briggs shot to hold the midfielder's well-struck drive on his goal line

Hednesford skipper Tom Marshall should have done better when presented with a great chance midway through the first half, but his shot from close range cleared the crossbar after Sheppard's corner kick was cleared back to the midfielder before he sent a cross over to Marshall

Blake Norton dispossessed Sheppard in midfield on twenty-six minutes and fed Simon Baldry with a slide-rule pass that he in turn played into the path of Ashley Longstaff. The striker took a touch before letting fly from twenty yards out and only just missed the target with a curling shot wide of the base of the post

The hosts came within a matter of inches of taking the lead on the half-hour mark as with Niall O'Brien's looping header from a Baldry free-kick came back off the top of the crossbar and into play again, with Evans struggling to get anywhere near the ball

Five minutes later, Ossett midfielder Craig Hall was denied by a smothering save by Evans after breaking late into the Hednesford penalty area to get on  the end of a flowing move through the centre of the park

 

Rob O'Brien tried his luck for the hosts with a long-range shot that was only narrowly wide of goal on thirty-eight minutes as Ossett finishing the half strongly

Two minutes before the break, a cross from Baldry was flicked on at the near post by Longstaff and into the path of the incoming Rob O'Brien, but he was leaning back as he met the ball from ten yards out and lifted his half-volley high over the crossbar

Half-time saw another dumping of rain on the pitch and the chilly wind whipping up once more in very unseasonal conditions for the end of the football season. Ossett continued to have the better of the game in the early stages of the second half with Norton going close for the Reds five minutes after the restart, firing a shot just wide of goal with Evans beaten after Briggs had held off a challenge from Robinson and crossed for the forward

The Pitmen had been relatively subdued going forwards in the first period but had their first sight at goal on fifty-six minutes as David Brown and Dyer played a neat triangle of passes around Daley before Brown dragged his low shot wide of Hedge's left-hand post from eighteen yards out

Niall O' Brien snatched at another good chance for the hosts on fifty-seven minutes as his snapshot only just missed the far post after Baldry had recycled a cross from his initial corner

 

Longstaff followed this up on the hour with a delicate touch on a deep Tonk cross from the right that cleared the crossbar by inches as the Hednesford defence was caught ball-watching

Pedro's run on sixty-three minutes summed up the Pitmen's game as a whole as he skipped past Tonks and into room in behind the Ossett defence, only to lose his footing at the crucial moment and allow the ball to run harmlessly into the hands of Hedge

Rob O'Brien went close again for Ossett four minutes later as they started to show more urgency in their search for a winner, picking up a long ball from Daley before darting into the penalty area. Evans came out to meet him and narrowed the angle, forcing O'Brien across goal and firing wide of the far post

 

The luckless Nagington - still with only the solitary league strike this term - almost found a way through with twenty minutes left, but Hedge smothered his bobbling shot as he found a way through the centre of the Ossett defence to latch onto a Sheppard pass

Hedge was on hand to claim a cross from Maguire four minutes later ahead of Marshall, plucking the ball out of the air under his crossbar to deny the Hednesford skipper a free header into the empty net

The Pitmen grabbed what was to be the all-important goal with thirteen minutes remaining; In keeping with the rest of the season, it was Ross Dyer who scored it, producing another wonderful individual effort to add to his end of season showreel. He picked the ball up from Maguire out on the Hednesford left-wing before driving past two challenges as cut inside and into the Ossett penalty area, leaving red-shirted players in his wake. He drew Hedge out at his near post, before firing home from a tight angle to give the away side the lead

The Pitmen looked to kill off their hosts with a second goal on eighty-three minutes as Sheppard's free-kick dipped a matter of centimetres over the crossbar with Hedge beaten

A late flurry from the visitors saw them resort to some desperate tactics in a bid to salvage at least a point in their quest to stay up; substitute Aiden Savory headed over from a Tonks free-kick on eighty-six minutes, followed a minute later by a scramble in the Hednesford six-yard box that saw both Savory and Norton both miss their kicks before Marshall cleared his lines

In the second minute of added time, Baldry's cross was deflected into the path of Briggs by Davies, only for a forest of Hednesford legs to deflect the ball wide of Evans's goal with what was to prove to be Ossett's final chance of the game

The home side are now left with a nervous afternoon in front of the television next Saturday to see where they will finish in this season's UniBond Premier League as their fate is now in the hands of others. The Pitmen will also have a say in the final relegation reckoning next weekend as they bring the curtain down on a hugely disappointing campaign when they face relegation candidates North Ferriby United at Keys Park


Ossett Town: Hedge, Tonks, Fawcus, N. O'Brien, Daley, Hall (Denton 56), R. O'Brien, Briggs, Longstaff (Savory 80), Norton, Baldry       Sub Unused: Oxer

Hednesford Town: Evans, Davies, B. Brown, Sheppard, Marshall ©, Robinson, D. Brown, Pedro, Dyer, Nagington, Maguire      Subs Unused: Hurley, Harbutt, Walker

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