20.12.2008

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Barnett (35), (52), Durrell (72), (84)

Prescot Cables

Byers (83)

(1) 4

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

490

Elliott Durrell

W W L D D W L D W W

Worksop Town (A) 26.12.08

The Pitmen served up the perfect pre-Christmas present for their supporters this afternoon, defeating struggling Prescot Cables in some style in the second half to remain atop of the UniBond Premier League in the process

 

Manager Dean Edwards kept faith in the side that had come through the hard-fought F.A. Trophy tie with Nantwich Town on Tuesday night but had been dropped a bombshell prior to the game with news that star defender Decio Gomes was feeling homesick and wished to return to Portugal

Prescot was in the midst of a depressingly long run of winless games that dated back to October, a full seven games ago. Manager Andy Gray made three changes to the side that had earned a point at home to Matlock Town last weekend as Karl Bell, Mick O'Connell and Karl Connolly replaced Paul Bowes, Phil Cooney and Thomas Moore respectively

Prescot started the game well on a cold and blustery afternoon in South Staffordshire with Steve Williams testing Stuart Brock early on with a dipping drive after he had cut in from the wing

The Pitmen took some time to settle into a rhythm, with skipper Ross Draper looking to fire his side up. His clever through ball on ten minutes found top scorer Tyrone Barnett, whose shot was well blocked by Prescot goalkeeper Zac Jones

Draper was involved again three minutes later as he played a ball up to Ross Dyer, whose run and teasing cross came to nothing

Prescot responded with a great chance midway through the half. A clever through ball by Karl Connolly found Tommy Taylor free, but he dithered before shooting, allowing Gomes to usher him wide of goal and the chance was gone

Draper was doing all he could to muster up a goal for the Pitmen, and he almost grabbed one of his own on the half-hour mark. Tom Marshall's deep cross, which has become something of a trademark for the big defender this term, found Barnett hawking the back post. His ball back across goal only just missed the foot of Draper, who had made a late run to the back post

The home side took advantage ten minutes before half-time, with the dynamic duo of Dyer and Barnett combining once again, as they have done on countless occasions this term. A long ball out of defence found Dyer loitering just inside the Prescot half. His pace took him away from the defenders before he met the onrushing Jones. Without panicking, Dyer simply squared the ball to Barnett, who had the simple task of side-footing into the empty net

It was almost two five minutes later, but Barnett's header cleared the crossbar from a cross by Sean Platt, who was having an excellent game at right wing-back. Durrell was pulled up by an assistant's flag as he turned a Tom Marshall shot past Jones right on half time

If the first half had been fairly even-steven, the second half was as far removed from that as is possible, as the Pitmen totally dominated proceedings. There was an early shout for a penalty, as Draper appeared to be brought down in the box as he battled to get to a Durrell through ball. The referee was unimpressed and gave nothing

The home fans did not have long to wait for another goal to celebrate, however, as Barnett added to his season's tally with yet another well-taken goal. Dyer, perhaps inevitably, was involved, heading the ball into Barnett's path, allowing the in-form striker to fire past Jones from fifteen yards out

A cheeky effort from Durrell could have added to the scoreline four minutes later, but his lofted effort dropped just wide of the far post

There was still a little life left in the Prescot side, and Brock had to be alert to deny Darren Byers at the striker's feet after Taylor had played him in

Byers was again involved eight minutes later, hitting Prescot's best effort against the crossbar after he was presented with the chance following a run and lay-off from Thomas Moore

Just as Prescot were threatening to get back into the game, the Pitmen stepped up a gear and looked to have killed the game off eighteen minutes from the end. Barnett this time was the creative spark for a goal, spotting the late run into the area by the excellent Durrell, playing a perfect ball into his path to allow the little playmaker time to fire past Jones from close range

Durrell seemed to be inspired by his goal and tormented the Prescot defence late on with further chances to score, one of which was a tremendous turn of skill and shot that flew just wide of the far post

On came Chad Sheppard and Mark Briggs for Draper and Sam Hall, with the out-of-sorts Gomes also replaced late on by teenager Ben Harbutt, given his first minutes of the season by Edwards

Prescot had plugged away all afternoon for little reward, but they did grab a consolation goal with seven minutes remaining. A cross from Colin Flood was headed firmly past Brock by Byers from inside the six-yard box

However, Durrell was in the mood to punish the visitors further, and a minute later scored again to make it another four-goal haul at home for the Pitmen. Platt's ball to Barnett saw him take the ball down the wing, before cutting in and crossing for Durrell to tap home from a couple of yards out

There could have been more in the closing minutes, with Dyer heading over and Briggs dragging a shot wide, but it mattered not - all other scores went Hednesford's way, meaning they will top the UniBond Premier League table come to Boxing Day when they travel to another struggling team in the form of Worksop Town

Hednesford Town: Brock, Hall, Maguire, Gomes (Harbutt 82), Harvey, Marshall, Hall (Sheppard 56), Durrell, Barnett, Dyer, Draper © (Briggs 67)      Sub Unused: Burley

Prescot Cables: Jones, Smith, Flood McCulloch, Bell ©, McIntosh, M. O'Donnell (E. Taylor 67), Connolly (Forsyth 67), Byers, T. Taylor (Moore 81), S. Williams       Subs Unused: None