UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Pedro (10), Adam (32), Robinson (49)

Ossett Town

Tuck (80)

(2) 3

(0) 1



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Paul Robinson


Matlock Town (A) 9.10.07

Hednesford continued their recent good form with a well-earned win over high-flying Ossett Town at Keys Park this afternoon although the win came at a price as Phil Starbuck's team suffered several first-half injuries


Starbuck had been busy wheeling and dealing in the transfer market once more this week and had brought former skipper Steve Palmer back to Keys Park, with the former AFC Telford man amongst the substitutes. Starbuck made me change to the side that had shocked Blue Square North side Alfreton Town in the F.A. Cup in midweek as Linden Dovey returned after being cup-tied in place of Dave MacPherson, who is likely to leave the club after Palmer's re-signing and a falling out with the manager

Ossett had been one of the surprise packages in the league so far this term, sitting in seventh place in the table at the start of the game after cultivating a fine away record of four wins from five games this term. Ossett manager Steve Kitterick stuck with the same XI that had beaten Worksop Town last weekend looking to move into the top five of the table with another win on their travels

The Pitmen were buoyed by their F.A. Cup upset in midweek and started brightly; Dovey did well to win a fifty-fifty ball from Lee Pugh in the third minute and playing it into the feet of Mario Pedro, whose shot was saved by Ossett goalkeeper Piotr Skiba

Skiba looked uneasy in the opening exchanges and made a couple of handling errors that the posts looked to exploit from set-pieces. Midfielder Tom Ward was presented with a chance on eight minutes as Skiba dropped a corner kick at his feet, only for Ward to lift his effort over the crossbar

The home side exerted their early authority by taking the lead two minutes later; the ball was fed to Pedro out on the right, who skipped past Ossett's Lee Stratford before firing past Skiba at his near post. In truth, Skiba should have done better at guarding his near post from such a tight angle

Ward went close to doubling the home side's lead five minutes later as he made a powerful run from midfield to get on the end of a Dovey pass, only to flashed his long-range shot wide 


Defender Paul Robinson went even closer to making it 2-0 to the Pitmen on eighteen minutes as his goalbound header was hacked off the line by Stratford


Midway through the first period, the dominant Pitmen should have added to their total as Ward's effort from twenty yards out was cleared by a combination of Skiba and Sam Jackson

The Pitmen's injury woes for the afternoon started four minutes later as Dovey sent over a cross into the path of Nagington at the far post, with his striker partner bringing the ball down well before shaping to shoot. He was caught by Stratford, who produced a firm but fair challenge that left the striker limping and struggling to run properly

Just after the half-hour mark, Nagington had to admit defeat in his bid to run off the leg injury sustained and was replaced by Palmer, who was afforded warm applause from the home crowd as he returned to the field in a Hednesford shirt

Within sixty seconds, the Pitmen doubled their lead through the in-form Chris Adam as Skiba was once again at fault. A Pedro cross from the right was inexplicably dropped by the Polish stopper as he was challenged by Gordon Simms, allowing the ball to drop to Adam whose control and volley was first class, firing confidently home from ten yards out

However, the good vibes of a 2-0 lead did not last as the Hednesford team was shorn of their second player to injury on thirty-five minutes; Adam made a run down the left and looked to get on the end of a pass from Tom Marshall, only to over-stretch as he looked to connect and appeared to pull his hamstring in the process. After receiving treatment from physio Nick Taylor, he too was forced off the pitch and replaced by young Burton Albion loanee Sam Hall

The Pitmen continued to press despite losing two players in quick succession and Marshall's powerfully struck free-kick on thirty-eight minutes took a nick off the Ossett wall before dipping wide of the post

More injury issues followed four minutes before the break as Ward made a run forward before pulling up in a similar manner to Adam, holding his leg with what looked like another hamstring pull. Youngster Tim Sanders came on in his place as the Pitmen were forced into a third substitution before half-time

Defender Ross Adams almost wriggled his way through three challenges in added time, but his progress was halted as he shaped to shoot on the edge of the penalty area

Half-time and the injury issues failed to stem the Pitmen's dominance in the game so far, with them going further into the lead just four minutes after the restart. Pedro and Palmer combined at a free-kick, with Pedro's cross finding Robinson charging into the six-yard box, his close-range volley into the net earned him his first goal for the Pitmen

Dovey was impressing with his work-rate once more and created an opening for himself on fifty-three minutes as Palmer's pass done the right was chased down by the striker, who did well to keep the ball in and drift past Stratford. As he bore down on goal, Stratford did well to recover and toe-poke the ball away from the striker at the crucial moment

On the hour mark, Robinson stretched to meet a free-kick from Ashley Woollliscroft but headed high over the crossbar as he struggled to reach the ballot the far post

Sanders was enjoying his first real run-out for the Pitmen, playing some intelligent balls through the midfield area. He almost capped it with a superb goal on sixty-four minutes as he curling a shot goalwards but watched as Skiba partially redeemed himself for his first-half horror show by making a fine fingertip save

For Ossett? Not a lot really, although they did play plenty of good football in spells but really struggled to make any inroads on the Hednesford defence in a fairly impotent display from the Reds. James Walshaw briefly threatened on sixty-six minutes as he broke into the penalty area but was denied by the presence of mind of Adams, covering from right-back


Lee Tuck tested Rene Gilmartin twice in the space of a minute with twenty minutes of the game remaining, firstly turning on the edge of the area to fire a shot straight at the on-loan Walsall stopper, followed by a well-struck long-range effort that Gilmartin pushed around his post sixty seconds later


Hall was playing slightly out of position on the left-wing due to all of the injury-relating reshuffling, but he got involved on seventy-five minutes with a low effort that Skiba did well to hold down to his left

As it was, it was Ossett who scored the final goal of the afternoon with ten minutes remaining. Tuck's scuffed shot should have been easily fielded by Gilmartin but appeared to take a spin off the turf and somehow beat the tall goalkeeper down this right

Pedro fired straight into the arms of Skiba with six minutes remaining after cutting in from the wing, whilst Tuck was wasteful with a shot from ten yards out after a cross from substitute MattOxer had found him unmarked in the penalty area three minutes later

In added time, Hall chased down a lost cause as he tussled with Stratford, ended up falling heavily at the side of the pitch by the benches. The youngster stayed down for a good while and was treated by both medical teams before an ambulance was called. It was later confirmed as a broken wrist, further depleting an already depleted side for the remaining moments of the game

A very comprehensive win for the Pitmen against a side with a previously formidable away record and one that makes it four games unbeaten. They take their good form to Matlock on Tuesday night but Starbuck will be concerned at the number of injuries picked up in today's game and how this will impact on his team selection as there is a likelihood that Hall, Adam and Ward will be looking at extended periods on the sidelines with their relative injuries sustained


Hednesford Town: Gilmartin, Marshall ©, Adams, Robinson , Simms, Pedro, Ward (Sanders 41), Adam (Hall 37 (90)), Woolliscroft, Nagington (Palmer 32), Dovey        Subs Unused: None

Ossett Town: Skiba, Sam Jackson, Stratford , Pugh, Briggs (Thompson 85), Tonks, O'Brien (Scott Jackson 45), Culshaw, Tuck, Walshaw (Oxer 72), Savory       Subs Unused: None

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