26.3.2011

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Wellecomme (14), Clements (73)

Oxford City

Lyon (85)

(1) 2

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

548

Chris Clements

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Didcot Town (H) 29.3.11

It's a magnificent nine in a row for the unstoppable Pitmen as they sweep mid-table Oxford City aside at Keys Park this afternoon to move up to third place in the league table

Tuesday night's thrilling 4-2 win over local rivals Halesowen Town had moved Rob Smith's side within seven points of league leaders Salisbury City and two of Truro City in second place. Smith opted to freshen his side up for today's second home game in a row with two changes as Marvin Robinson was rewarded for his goalscoring cameo in midweek with a recall ahead of Kyle Patterson, whilst Ross Davidson was preferred to James Ellison in midfield 

In-form Oxford started the day sitting in fourteenth place in the Zamaretto Premier League table, having won their last three games against Stourbridge, Hemel Hempstead Town and Tiverton Town. With this in mind, manager Mike Ford elected to stick with the same side that had beaten the Glassboys 3-0 in midweek

It had been an overcast day in Staffordshire so far, with the drizzle continuing to come and go at kick-off, leaving the Keys Park pitch slick and quick-running. The game had been brought forwards to 12.30 pm to allow both sets of supporters the chance to watch the Wales v England game which was kicking off at 3 pm. There was an early flashpoint to the game in the fourth minute as Nick Wellecomme took the ball past Dave Savage in midfield before being hauled down by the highly-experienced former Eire international. The Hednesford man took exception to the tackle and squared up to the midfielder, prompting a bout of pushing and shoving on both sides and earning the pair a yellow card apiece from referee Mr Lovegrove

The first chance of the afternoon came three minutes later as the home side worked the ball out to Haynes on the right flank, with the Cheltenham Town loanee whipping the ball into the far post where Hednesford centre back Cheyenne Dunkley arrived to head just wide of the post from six yards out

In the tenth minute, Chris Clements tried his luck from an absurd angle as he looked to whip a free-kick in from near the corner flag, clearing the head of goalkeeper Joe White but looping his effort just over the crossbar

Clements was to be involved once more for the home side as he claimed an assist for Wellecomme, who opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute. Clements spotted the run of Wellecomme across the Oxford penalty area and lifted the ball into the box from the halfway line. Andy Ballard completely missed his header and allowed the ball to bounce in his penalty area, with Wellecomme on hand to nip in ahead of Wayne Blossom and White to loop a header into the unguarded net from ten yards out

More superb vision from Clements carved out a chance for Robinson three minutes later as he played a delightful searching pass from exactly the same position on the pitch as his pass for Wellecomme's goal, this time into the path of Robinson, who was in behind the Oxford defence., However, the experienced front man's touch was a little too heavy and he could only divert the ball behind for a goal-kick before he could bring the ball under control

Dan Crane had been a virtual spectator for the opening quarter of proceedings but was called upon for the first time on twenty minutes to punch away a long throw from Ballard as both Lee Steele and Savage looked to take advantage inside the six-yard box

Oxford's first real sight at goal came three minutes later as neat interplay on the edge of the penalty area involving Steele and Michael Lyon saw Lyon shoot at goal from fifteen yards out, only for his initial effort to be blocked by Dunkley. The ball ran back to the midfielder, whose rebounded shot was blocked by Decio Gomes before being turned behind by Liam Francis inside his own six-yard box to deny Steele a tap-in

Another monstrous long throw from Ballard on twenty-eight minutes was launched from the left and into the six-yard box, where Gomes did enough to snuff out the danger as the talented Felipe Barcelos looked to turn the ball home from close-range

Barcelos was involved again for the visitors on thirty-one minutes as he created a chance for Savage after making a mazy run into the penalty area before pulling the ball back to the veteran, whose low shot skipped wide of Crane's right-hand post

Four minutes later, Blossom went close to levelling matters for City as he cut in from the left-wing and got the better of Haynes before drilling in a shot from eighteen yards out that Crane watched a foot or so wide of his post

 Haynes provided Davidson with a great chance to make it 2-0 to the hosts on thirty-eight minutes as his chipped cross from the right found the former Stafford Rangers man, unmarked in the penalty area, only for his downward header to end up the wrong side of White's left-hand post

With four minutes of the first period remaining, Ballard launched another long throw into the path of Lyon, who did well to control the ball with his back to goal, turning past Dunkley but driving his shot high over Crane's goal and into the Heath hayes terrace

In first-half added time, Francis made a late run into the Oxford six-yard box to flick a Clements corner kick goalwards but saw his looping effort dip onto the roof of White's net

It had been a thoroughly competitive game that the hosts had shaded through Wellecomme's early opener, although they had lived a little dangerously in their own penalty area as they struggled to cope with Ballard's huge long throws every time one landed in their eighteen-yard box

Robinson should have done better with the first real chance of the second half on fifty minutes as Wellecomme found space out on the left and whipped in a cross that found the head of his strike partner. However, the former Derby County man - under pressure from Richard Pierson - diverted his header the wrong way and Oxford managed to clear their lines

The excellent Clements sent Wellecomme on his way once more on fifty-three minutes with another superb through ball from midfield, only for White to spot the danger early and beat the striker to the pass as he hacked the ball away from the clutches of the Hednesford goalscorer

Darren Campion's marauding run down the left three minutes later saw the young full-back skip past two challenges before attempting another long-range piledriver similar to his first goal against Halesowen in midweek, only for his effort to take a nick off the back of Ballard and sail harmlessly wide of goal

On the hour mark, Marvin Martin won a free-kick for the visitors out on the left which was taken by the winger himself, whipping a dangerous ball into the far post where Crane managed to palm the ball away from the tall figure of Ballard, who looked to head into the empty net from six yards out

Lyon wasted Oxford's best chance of the second half so far three minutes later as a corner kick from Martin was headed back across goal by Ballard and into the path of the midfielder via a touch from Pierson, only for Lyon to head narrowly over the crossbar from just six yards out

On sixty-seven minutes, Crane made a good save to deny Blossom as Barcelos produced another brilliant cross from the right to find the left-back steaming into the penalty area on the opposite side, with his first-time volley from fifteen yards out pushed away by the experienced stopper

The Pitmen broke quickly down the left through the tireless Campion on sixty-nine minutes, with the left-back standing up a cross to the far post where Clements arrived late to volley the ball back across the face of the Oxford goal and into the path of Robinson, only for Pierson to scuff his clearance up and over his own goal for a corner kick to the Pitmen

A tremendous goal-line clearance from Dunkley denied Oxford a certain equaliser on seventy-one minutes as the visitors worked the ball from right to left and into the path of Steele, whose clever touch set up Ballard on the penalty spot but his shot was hacked off the line by the alert figure of Dunkley

Dunkley was shown a yellow card sixty seconds later by Mr Lovegrove as he was booked for sending the tricky Barcelos sprawling on the right flank after mistiming his challenge 

This was to prove a key moment in the game as the Pitmen doubled their lead through man of the match Clements on seventy-three minutes; Wellecomme held off a challenge from Lyon and laid the ball off to Clements in midfield, who was given time and space to move into the Oxford half before unleashing an unstoppable low right footed effort from thirty yards out that beat White down to his right and nestled in the bottom corner of the net. A superb strike from the young midfielder and well-deserved after a wonderful display of creativity from the former Crewe man

With a two goal lead in hand, the Pitmen could afford to make a double change on seventy-six minutes as Ellison came on in place of Robinson and Patterson replaced Davidson

Ellison looked to make an immediate impact after coming on, chasing down a clearance by Pierson on eighty minutes and forcing the right-back into a hurried clearance that was seized upon by Haynes. The young right-back made twenty yards of ground before slotting the ball into the path of Ellison, who made a perfectly-timed run in behind the Oxford defence but lifted his right-footed effort over the crossbar from fifteen yards out and only White to beat

Haynes was alert to the danger at the other end two minutes later as he toe-poked a misdirected header from Francis off the line after another huge throw from Ballard saw the Hednesford skipper inexplicably turn the ball goalwards six yards out

Another Ballard long throw was to prove more effective with five minutes of the game remaining as he launched the ball in from the left-wing and found the head of Liam Malone, whose flick-on was turned home on the volley by Lyon from six yards out, swivelling on the ball and turning it past Crane from close-range

This gave Oxford hope in the closing minutes of the game, with the visitors looking for every opportunity possible to utilise Ballard's long throw as a means of disrupting the Pitmen in defence. Crane made a timely save with his legs on eighty-seven minutes as White's long punt forwards was missed by three Hednesford defenders, allowing the ball to bounce into the path of Steele inside the Hednesford penalty area before Crane came to the rescue with a smothering stop at the striker's feet

Three Oxford corners ramped the pressure up on the Pitmen's defence in added time, but Crane and his centre-backs dealt well with the Oxford attack to hold on and record yet another win to add to their recent tally. Nine wins in a row lift the Pitmen above Chesham United and into third place in the table, four points behind leaders Salisbury who did not play today. Relegation-threatened Didcot Town stand in the way of the Pitmen and a tenth win in succession when the Railwaymen travel to Keys Park on Tuesday night looking for three crucial points in their battle against the drop

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion (Melbourne 83), Dunkley , Francis ©, Denny, Haynes, Robinson (Ellison 76 ), Wellecomme , Clements, Davidson (Patterson 76)       Subs Unused: Bailey, Keenan

Oxford City: White, Pierson, Blossom, Organ (Knight 83), Ballard, Savage ©, Lyon, Malone , Barcelos (Anderson 55), Steele, Martin      Subs Unused: Davis, Ford

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