21.11.2009

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Dyer (7) (penalty), Jagielka (15), Durrell (23), Goodhead (76)

Oxford City

Malone (66), Baird (85)

(3) 4

(0) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

305

Elliott Durrell

D L D W D L W D D W

Banbury United (A) 28.11.09

Simon Line's Hednesford revolution continued to gather momentum this afternoon as the Pitmen blew away mid-table Oxford City with three well-taken goals inside the first half-hour of the game to take the game away from the visitors

 

 Line was forced into one major change to his personnel for today's game with midfielder Sam Aiston serving a one-match ban for picking up five yellow cards this season; this allowed new signing Paul McMullen to come straight into the side after his switch from Market Drayton Town in midweek. Ben Bailey moving into midfield to replace Aiston, playing in an unfamiliar anchor role

Twelfth-placed Oxford made their first-ever trip to Keys Park off the back of a narrow in over local rivals Swindon Supermarine on Tuesday night. Manager Mike Ford was without the services of Mark Janes so was forced into one change to his side for today's game as Mark Bell replaced him in midfield

The game kicked off thirty minutes late as Oxford's team coach failed to turn up to pick up the players, prompting the visitors to travel to Staffordshire by car. They were further delayed by heavy traffic, giving them very little preparation time before the kick-off

With a strong wind blowing across Keys Park at the start of the game, the home side decided to take advantage of kicking with the wind at their backs and came out fighting early on, with skipper Ross Dyer causing all of the damage. After a jinking run down the wing in the first minute that saw him win a corner after beating three players, he lifted a shot narrowly over the crossbar a minute later after a Luke Horrocks reverse pass had played the striker into space behind the Oxford defence

 

Dyer did, however, back on the goal trail courtesy of a seventh-minute penalty; Steve Jagielka's ball to the far post saw a number of players clamber for the ball, with Oxford's Andy Gunn handling the ball as it looked to be heading out of play. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the Pitmen a spot-kick, with Dyer firing confidently past Cheltenham loanee keeper Will Puddy

The Pitmen were making light work of the windy conditions and light rain that had started to fall just after kick-off, with Elliott Durrell testing Puddy with a strike on ten minutes that the Oxford man managed to turn away for a corner kick- this after the playmaker had beaten the offside trap with a clever run onto Jagielka's pass

Hednesford's relentless attacking bore further positives on fifteen minutes, with Jagielka grabbing his first goal since joining the club. Clever hold-up play from Dyer saw him lay the ball back into the path on Jagielka, who, from twenty-five yards out, fired in an unstoppable shot that Puddy could get nowhere near

The away side, clearly shocked at the blistering start made by the hosts, replied with a shot from James Clarke on eighteen minutes that forced Gavin Ward into a full-length save, turning Clarke's shot on the run away for a corner kick

Back came the Pitmen, and the busy Durrell got his reward for constantly causing Oxford problems with a goal mid-way through the half. Ward's long, hopeful free-kick from inside his own half caught the Oxford defence ball-watching, with the ball allowed to find its way through to Durrell, who had got in behind the Oxford back line again, allowing the forward to turn the ball past Puddy with a neat flick of the outside of the boot

It could so easily have been four just two minutes later, as top scorer Tyrone Barnett brilliantly turned his man on the edge of the area after picking up a ball from Luke Horrocks, but Puddy was on hand to deny the in-form striker with a brilliant save

From the resultant corner, McMullen had a great chance to mark his debut with a goal but his header at the back post was well saved by Puddy, who was certainly earning his wage for the Oxford cause

The light rain that had been seen at the start of the game gradually increased in strength as the half developed, with the gale-force wind whipping it across the pitch. Patches of standing water started to appear in each goalmouth, but nothing that would risk the game being abandoned - with the home side three up, that would be the last thing they would want

The second half saw Hednesford playing into the wind and rain, but their attacking prowess remained unchanged. Dyer, who was leading the line brilliantly for the Pitmen, should have grabbed his second of the game three minutes after the restart, getting on the end of a Horrocks cross at the far post, but somehow only finding the side netting

Durrell was continuing to enjoy the freedom of the park, drifting across the pitch in search of the ball as Oxford backed off him. His venomous shot on fifty-two minutes was dealt with clumsily by Puddy, who was reliant on his defenders to clear the loose ball as Barnett and Dyer lurked, looking for a rebound off the keeper

As the rain continued to pour down and the wind persisted in blowing the rain into the eyes of the Hednesford defenders, Oxford started to get more of the ball, using the conditions to push the Pitmen back mid-way through the second period

On sixty-six minutes, City were handed a lifeline as they reduced arrears through Liam Malone. Bell's clever ball left the Hednesford defenders flat-footed, allowing Malone to waltz through unchallenged and fire past Ward from eight yards out

The Pitmen were shaken by Oxford's surprise goal, and pushed on again in search of a game-clinching fourth goal. Durrell, who was at the heart of everything, whipped in a free-kick from the edge of the area that Puddy watched over the bar on sixty-eight minutes

This was closely followed by a great chance from Barnett, who fired wide after stepping away from his marker and firing narrowly past the right-hand post with a low shot from the edge of the area

Hednesford's efforts were rewarded fourteen minutes from time when they finished Oxford off with a fourth goal. Durrell's wicked corner caused chaos amongst the Oxford defenders, thus allowing Grant Goodhead to rise above them and head firmly home from close range to score his first goal since his return to the club

Oxford, to their credit, refused to give up on the game, and the final ten minutes saw them use the conditions to push the Pitmen back once more. Former Hednesford striker Jon Douglas should have done better with a header following a corner kick, but only succeeded in heading a couple of feet over the bar when presented with a free header

Their perseverance saw them grab a second goal five minutes from time; Darren Pond's shot was well saved by Ward, athletically turning the ball away for a corner. From the kick, Andy Baird managed to force the ball home from close range, after the ball had dropped in the six-yard box

Any hopes of a late Oxford surge were halted by the Pitmen's stout defending in the final minutes, as Goodhead and McMullen headed away a succession of Oxford crosses to see the game through for the Pitmen

This moves Line's team up to seventh in the league table and a crucial win over a side with similar ambitions of the play-offs. Another result similar to this next week at Banbury United and Hednesford supporters can start to think about the top five as a serious prospect in the months ahead

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Martin, Jagielka, McMullen, Goodhead, Durrell, Bailey, Barnett , Dyer ©, Horrocks (Carvey 78)       Subs Unused: Nisbett, Chapman, Walker, Flynn

Oxford City: Puddy, Ballard, Perpetuini, Savage ©, Clarke, Gunn, Bell, Malone, Douglas, Alexis, Brooks (Pond 69)       Subs Unused: Lyon, Davis, Knight