Nationwide Conference North

Redditch United

Charlton (20)

Hednesford Town

Hunter (33), McMahon (55)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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Tommy Whittle



Northwich Victoria (H) 10.9.05

The Pitmen pick up their first away win in Conference North this afternoon as substitute Paul McMahon's fourth goal of the season is enough to edge them past big-spending Redditch United at the Valley Stadium

Having picked up a useful, but frustrating, point at home to Stalybridge Celtic on Bank Holiday Monday, manager Chris Brindley elected to stick with the same XI that had started the Stalybridge game for today's trip to South Birmingham. McMahon can perhaps feel a little hard done by after coming off the bench to grab the equalising goal against Celtic but remained amongst the substitutes for today's game

Redditch had made a stuttering start to the new campaign, with only one win and four defeats from their first five games. Manager Rod Brown made two changes to the side that had started the 5-1 mauling at title favourites Northwich Victoria as Walsall loanee Joe Broad made his Reds debut as he replaced youngster Michael McGrath and Lee Jenkins came in for the injured Matt Clarke

Backed by a healthy travelling contingent, many of whom were making their first-ever trip to the home of Redditch, the Pitmen were on the back foot early on in proceedings as the hosts made a bright start to the game. In the fifth minute, good build-up play from Doyle and Palmer played fellow midfielder Danny Scheppel into space, with the former Birmingham City youngster rifling a left-footed shot from long-range wide of Tommy Whittle's post

Three minutes later, former Hednesford stopper Ryan Young's long kick forwards was flicked on by veteran forward John Williams into the path of Scott Rickards. The former Tamworth man did well to drop his shoulder and turn past Lee Barrow but lifted his shot narrowly over the crossbar from eighteen yards out

In the fifteenth minute, left-sided Asa Charlton made a run in behind Ross Adams as Scheppel's pass found him in space. He turned inside and attempted a chip over the head of Whittle, who was standing eight yards out of his goal. Mercifully for the Hednesford stopper, the ball took a nick off the boot of the recovering Adams and need up sailing just wide of goal for a Redditch corner 

Debutant Broad was looking to make an impact for the hosts and played a fine pass through the centre of the Hednesford defence on seventeen minutes to find Rickards, who seemed to have checked his run initially for fear of being offside and allowed the ball to drift past him

Three minutes later, the home side took a deserved lead as a raking ball forwards from Mark Creighton found John Williams in space, free on the right to run at Mark Branch. The 37-year-old former Coventry man looked up and spotted the run of Charlton, picking the midfielder out with a fine cross that Charlton slid home from close-range

This acted as an impetus for the Pitmen, who had barely had a kick in the game so far; two minutes after falling behind, Jamie Barrett's played Andy Bell into space behind the Redditch defence; he raced clear and cut inside but his well-hit shot was saved by former team-mate Young

The home side should have doubled their advantage on twenty-six minutes as Rickards kicked the ball up on the right and attempted a cheeky chip over Whittle that did enough to beat the goalkeeper but come back off the top of the crossbar and into play, where Barrow was on hand to complete the clearance

Three minutes later, winger Colin Hunter drifted inside from the left and played a delightful pass through the Redditch defence to Paul Szewczyk, only for an offside decision to go against the striker before he could shoot

However, another marginal offside decision was to go the visitors' way on thirty-three minutes as Hunter was played through by a Branch through ball, taking it into the Redditch penalty area unchallenged as the home side appealed in vain for a flag, before sliding it past Young from an angle for his first goal of the season

The Pittman were now on top of the game and went close to turning it on its head on thirty-eight minutes as Branch's long throw was not dealt with by the Redditch defence effectively, with the ball dropping to Bell as he looked to challenge Young for the bouncing ball. The two former team-mates clashed inside the Redditch six-yard box, with Bell coming off worst after turning the ball wide of goal and manfully looking to continue despite holding his ankle

Two minutes later, after receiving treatment from physio Don Drakeley, Bell had to admit defeat with his ankle problems and was substituted with five minutes of the half remaining as McMahon came on in his place up front

Two minutes before the interval, Hunter picked the ball up again on the left from a Lee Williams free-kick and swung in a deep cross to the far post, where Richard Teesdale met the ball with a full-blooded header but could only head over the crossbar

In the first minute of added time, Lee Williams cleverly played Szewczyk into space down the right channel, with the striker laying the ball back into the path of Adams - his cross was met by Hunter from eight yards out by Young was once again equal to the effort with a fine save, which brought out more cat-calls from the Hednesford fans in the temporary stand behind the goal

It had very much been a half of two halves, as Redditch had dominated the first twenty minutes but the visitors had come back strongly to level matters and should really have gone in at the break ahead in the game

Buoyed by their form in the final minutes of the first period, the Pitmen started the second half strongly as well, with Rob Heath stinging the palms of Young on fifty-nine minutes as Williams had delivered another fine ball into the Redditch penalty area that was cleared by Scheppel, but only as far as Heath, whose first-time shot was fielded by the Redditch stopper

The all-green Pitmen got their noses in front for the first time in the game on fifty-five minutes as Gary Knight's clearance out of defence only went as far as Jamie Barrett, who headed to ball down into the path of Hunter, who in turn flicked the ball into the path of McMahon, who had already made a move in behind the Redditch defence to latch onto the pass before shotting past Young from fifteen yards out

McMahon thought that he had put the game to bed for the Pitmen four minutes later as he raced onto another fine Lee Williams pass and turning the ball past Young once more, only for this goal to be ruled out for offside against the livewire striker

On the hour mark, John Williams showed that he still had some of the pace that had seen him dubbed the quickest footballer in England whilst at Coventry as he raced clear of Barrow to get on the end of a Rickards pass down the left, cutting inside but pulling his shot across the face of Whittle's goal and wide of the far post

Scheppel's free-kick on sixty-four minutes was flicked on by Charlton and into the path of Rickards, who was lurking six yards from goal, but he could not react quickest to the ball and only managed to turn it high over Whittle's goal from close-range

Three minutes later, Barrow did well to get across and made a strong covering tackle on John Williams to halt the striker's run into the penalty area. The home side showed some interest in a potential penalty kick as Williams tumbled to the ground, but referee Mr Hubbard waved away the muted appeals of the home side and their supporters

McMahon's introduction was proving to be a masterstroke for the Pitmen as he provided Heath with a chance to seal the points for the away side on sixty-nine minutes; making another direct run in behind the Redditch defence, McMahon picked up Barrett's pass and turned Creighton before laying it off to Heath on the edge of the penalty area, only for the midfielder's goalbound effort to cannon off the shin of Knight and ran out for a corner kick to the Pitmen

Redditch ramped up the pressure on the Hednesford goal as the game entered its final twenty minutes, with Whittle coming into his own to keep his side in front with a succession of good saves. His first came on seventy-two minutes as he pushed away a well-struck effort from Charlton after Scheppel had squared a free-kick to the midfield man twenty yards from goal

Broad's quickly-taken free-kick in the centre circle sent Charlton on his way down the left three minutes later, teasing his way past Adams and standing up a cross to the far post where Whittle just managed to tip the ball over his own crossbar to deny John Williams a simple header home from close-range

With minutes remaining, Scheppel's excellent pass through the inside right position found Rickards in behind the Hednesford defence, although the forward could not apply the finish as he dragged his shot wide of whittles near post from ten yards out

Three minutes later, former Kidderminster Harriers man Creighton went close with his head as Scheppel's corner kick was glanced goalwards by the burly defender at the near post. Whittle was once more equal to the effort as he watched the ball into his gloves as Rickards put pressure on him

Former Stafford man Craig Wilding - on as a substitute for the tiring John Williams - was denied an equaliser by Teesdale's presence on eighty-six minutes as he attempted to bundle home a free-kick from Lee Jenkins from close-range but was denied by a timely goal-line clearance from the centre-back

Whittle earned his man of the match nomination with another fine save on eighty-nine minutes as he got his fingertips to a curling shot from Charlton and pushed the ball away for a corner kick

The resultant corner from Scheppel was played short to Broad, whose angled cross was punched up in the air by Whittle before he managed to claim the ball in unorthodox circumstances under pressure from Creighton

The Pitmen held on under pressure from the hosts in three minutes of added time to record their first away win of the new season and move into the relative safety of mid-table after six league games. Their recent unbeaten run of three games will be put under severe scrutiny next Saturday when they play host to Steve Burr's Northwich Victoria, who are expected to be one of the sides challenging for the Conference North title at the end of the season

Redditch United: Young, Jenkins, Pearce, Creighton (Flynn 71), Knight, Broad, Doyle (Taylor 65), Scheppel, J. Williams (Wilding 77), Rickards, Charlton       Subs Unused: Moore, McGrath

Hednesford Town: Whittle, Adams, Branch, Barrow ©, Teesdale, L. Williams, Barrett, Heath, Bell (McMahon 40), Szewczyk (C. Marshall 90), Hunter    Subs Unused: Brannan, T. Marshall, Beckett