9.10.2010

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Oxford City

Savage (53) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

Carey-Bertram (49)

(0) 1

(0) 1

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Dan Crane

L W D L L D W D W D

Whitby Town (H) 16.10.10

Hednesford extended their unbeaten run in the league to four games this afternoon, but they did so after earning a point from a drab encounter with struggling Oxford this afternoon at Court Place Farm

New man at the helm Rob Smith was dealt a blow before the game with creative influence Chris Clements missing through injury; he was replaced by youngster Cheyenne Dunkley. Loan signing from AFC Telford, Danny Carey-Bertram, came straight into the side, with Aaron Gibson dropping to the bench to make way for the striker

Oxford had found goals a real struggle so far this season, having failed to score in any of their last five games; Tuesday night had seen them draw a blank once again in a 2-0 defeat at Salisbury City, leaving Mike Ford's side in eighteenth place in the Zamaretto Premier League going into today's game. Ford made one change to his side from midweek as striker Aaron Woodley was handed a debut in place of Lee Steele after joining on loan from city rivals Oxford United

Oxford's Jack Ashton made an early surge down the wing on eight minutes, playing in Mark Janes on the edge of the area before Jimmy Turner spotted the danger and headed the cross away from danger

Janes was involved again on eleven minutes, floating a deep cross over the reach of Dan Crane, towards Michael Lyon at the far post. Fortunately for the away side, the ball was just too far in front of the City player and the chance was gone

A free-kick from Jack Ashton mid-way through the first half found Janes unmarked in the area, but the City man failed to connect with a volley as the ball flew past him and out of play

Janes was at the heart of everything Oxford were trying to create and his header on twenty-seven minutes missed by inches after he beat Ben Bailey to James Clarke's cross

Finally, the away side sparked into life on the half-hour mark, with Jay Denny playing a smart ball into the path of Sean Platt; his run and curling cross into the Oxford penalty area was headed clear by Clarke as Carey-Bertram looked to pounce from six yards out

Jamey Osborne was next to test the home side's resistance four minutes later - he beat Dave Savage to the ball before spotting Oxford keeper Richard Knight off his line and attempted an audacious lob. Knight spotted the danger and managed to tip the ball onto the crossbar. Alfie Carter managed to get to the rebound first, but his weak flick towards goal was turned away by Knight for a corner kick

Within sixty seconds, Oxford were presented with two excellent opportunities to open the scoring as they cleared the corner kick; the ball found Janes on the edge of the area, who turned Jimmy Turner before firing towards goal. Dan Crane saw the shot early and got down to his left to turn the ball away for a corner

The corner kick from Ashley Kington caused confusion in the Pitmen's six-yard box, with a number of players swinging their boots at the ball as it zipped across the face of goal; fortunately for the Pitmen, every player in blue and white missed the ball, allowing Liam Francis to clear

Despite plenty of chances at both ends, the first half had hardly been memorable due to the general lack of quality football played. Both sides looked in need of some inspiration, with Rob Smith seemingly giving the Pitmen a boost at the break

Four minutes into the restart, Wayne Blossom needlessly gave away a corner to Hednesford - Carter's ball in was inch-perfect for Carey-Bertram, who showed a real striker's instinct to prod the ball past Knight from close range to give the Pitmen the lead

Oxford looked to make amends immediately, with Turner having to be alert to deny Aaron Woodley a chance to cross for Janes, who was unmarked in the six-yard box. Turner was in action again a minute later, conceding a corner by heading the ball out of the path of Craig McIllwain

Oxford's pressure bore fruit on fifty-three minutes with Ben Bailey once again guilty of a poor challenge in the penalty area, conceding his third penalty in the last six games; Aaron Woodley picked the ball up and made a dart into the area, surprising Bailey with a change in direction. This was enough to commit Bailey to the tackle, bringing the Oxford man down. Dave Savage picked the ball up and confidently fired past Crane to level matters

The home side were boosted by this goal and pressed the shaky-looking Hednesford defence in search of a second goal. Clarke made a storming run into the area on sixty-one minutes, only to be crowded out by a number of red Hednesford shirts

Skipper Sean Platt broke up the Oxford momentum on sixty-four minutes with a great run down the right, hurdling a half-hearted challenge before slipping the ball through to Carey-Bertram, who fired straight at Knight from ten yards out

Smith had seen enough, and within three minutes had made two changes - Platt off in favour of Tom Overfield and the ineffective Kyle Patterson hauled off and replaced by Louis Keenan

Overfield was straight into the action two minutes later as he chased down Ashton's under-hit back pass to Knight, but the Oxford keeper just did enough to clear the ball off the toes of the former Walsall trainee

After such little real action in the previous eighty minutes, the final ten minutes finally delivered some sustained goalmouth action, with Oxford the more likely winners

On eighty-one minutes, Woodley made another marauding run through the Hednesford defence, firing in a low shot that looked odds-on to end up in the net. However, Crane made a tremendous one-handed save to turn the ball away for a corner

Crane followed this up with another top drawer stop two minutes later, as substitute Danny Lennon left Francis for dead out wide, crossing for Kington in the area - his shot was brilliantly turned away by Crane, who only had a split-second to react

The Pitmen had chances too late on; Carey-Bertram almost sealed a dream debut with a winner with three minutes left, picking up a Denny ball before hitting a snapshot that Knight dealt with well

In the final minute, Oxford could have sealed a crucial three points, as Lennon got away out on the left wing before crossing in the direction of Kington. He and Overfield slid in to connect with the ball, but Crane earned his man of the match award with a brave dive on the ball in amongst a forest of legs, coming out with the ball unscathed

Oxford City: Knight, Clarke, Ashton, Savage, McIllwain, Blossom, Lyon (Lennon 71), Kington, Malone, Woodley (O’Hara 81), Janes       Subs Unused: Kinch, Dobson

 

Hednesford Town: Crane, Platt © (Overfield 70), Francis, Bailey, Turner, Denny, Dunkley, Osborne, Carey-Bertram, Patterson (Keenan 73), Carter      Subs Unused: Gibson, Barnes, Fuller