Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Durrell (15), Barnett (39), (54), (70) (penalty), Dyer (60), (90)

Rugby Town

(2) 6

(0) 0



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Tyrone Barnett


Swindon Supermarine (A) 7.4.10

Bernard McNally's in-form Pitmen forced their way right into the play-off picture this Bank Holiday Monday afternoon after putting six past a poor Rugby side at Keys Park this afternoon, giving the Hednesford supporters some Easter cheer. In the process, the home side confirmed Rugby's relegation from the Zamaretto Premier League

After Saturday's trip to Farnborough was washed out, McNally made one change to the side that had narrowly beaten Bedford Town last Tuesday night; Ross Dyer was again relegated to the substitutes bench, with Dorryll Proffitt recovering from a virus sufficiently to take his place in an attack-minded Hednesford side

Lee Colkin's Rugby side have been staring relegation in the face pretty much since the opening weeks of the season, and the popular former Hednesford left-back has had a real baptism of fire since taking the reins in November last year. The visitors had gone nine games without a win up to today's game and had beaten 3-0 by Cambridge City at the weekend to leave the Valley teetering on the brink of relegation back to step four after five seasons at this level

Tyrone Barnett was first to fire a warning shot for the hosts, collecting Proffitt's slide-rule pass three minutes in before driving the ball across the face of goal and wide of the far post

The Pitmen started to crank up the pressure on a disorganised Rugby defence, using the channels well and springing their leaky offside trap at will. Elliott Durrell went close for the Pitmen on ten minutes, turning and hitting a shot from just inside the area that was deflected away from goal by a retreating Rugby defender. The ball rebounded to Barnett, who fired wide from close range when it looked easier to score

Barnett was proving a tricky customer for the away side, with the big striker testing Rugby keeper Andy Stevens on twelve minutes with a snapshot,  after he had drifted past James Farrow and hit a low shot at goal from the edge of the penalty area

Three minutes later, the Pitmen got their noses in front, with the busy Durrell getting on the scoresheet. Collecting the ball from Matty Wood sixteen yards out, Durrell took two touches before firing confidently to Stevens' left

On eighteen minutes, Liam Francis thought he had added to the Pitmen's total, making a perfectly timed run to meet Durrell's right-wing free-kick but Stevens was equal to the big defender's header and turned the ball away from goal

Francis went even closer midway through the half, making another dart to the back post to meet Durrell's corner but heading against the underside of the crossbar before the ball was claimed by a grateful Stevens

Skipper Sean Platt decided to join in on the action, making an overlapping run to get on the end of a Durrell ball before firing straight at Stevens, who was working overtime to keep his side in the game

The closest Rugby could muster to a chance was a high, wide and not very handsome shot from Matt Gearing on the half-hour that failed to warm Stuart Brock's hands

Barnett again went close with a header from Durrell's corner on thirty-three minutes, before he grabbed his first goal of the afternoon six minutes before the break. Stevens was at fault for the goal, blotting his copybook by failing to deal with a Durrell cross, allowing Barnett to sidefoot the ball home unmarked from a couple of yards out

Ben Bailey, whose performance to that point had been inconsistent, was on hand to deny Rugby four minutes before the break, kicking David Kolodynski's shot off the line after the Rugby striker had got in behind the Pitmen's defence and rounded Brock

Within a few moments of the second half kicking off, Josh Craddock was replaced by Dyer, with the young midfielder appearing to be carrying an injury to his leg as he limped off. This forced a re-jig in the home side's ranks, with Proffitt joining McGurk in a more withdrawn role, allowing Dyer to join Barnett up front

Barnett and Dyer were celebrating again on fifty-four minutes as Barnett scored his second goal of the game. Bailey's long throw from the right-hand touchline found Barnett lurking at the near post, with Hednesford's top scorer nipping in to head past Stevens

Decio Gomes became the second Hednesford player to depart three minutes later, as he limped off following a challenge five minutes previously in midfield. He was replaced by loanee Crewe man Chris Clements, with Bailey and Platt covering the void left by the Portuguese defender

The old Barnett & Dyer double act linked up again on the hour mark to grab the Pitmen's fourth goal. Barnett met Durrell's cross, heading into the path of Dyer, who simply couldn't miss with a close-range header in front of Stevens

Dyer could have added to his tally five minutes later, rising to meet Durrell's cross, but somehow his header skewed wide of the post with the goal gaping

Rugby's miserable afternoon was compounded further on seventy minutes when Durrell collected Proffitt's pass before firing at goal from the edge of the area; his shot was deflected away by Fellows, using his hand to do so. Red card for Fellows, a penalty for Hednesford. Durrell seized the ball and placed it on the spot, but the crowd made it known to the players that Barnett - on a hat-trick - should take it, and after much persuasion, Barnett stepped up to send the ball to Stevens' right and clinch the match ball

Almost immediately, Barnett was withdrawn, no doubt for a well-earned rest ahead of the punishing schedule of the next fortnight. He was replaced by Zak Martin

After spending the majority of the second half in their own half, Rugby enjoyed a brief foray into the Pitmen's half, with Richards charging through and firing in a shot that Brock turned over the bar for a corner

Martin almost made the most of his few minutes on the pitch with a ferocious drive across the face of goal after he had drifted inside from the wing on eighty minutes

Stevens excelled himself with six minutes remaining, denying Francis a certain goal after the big defender had headed towards goal from three yards out by getting down low to his right and turning the ball away for another corner

Stevens then denied Durrell a minute later as the youngster sprung the offside trap for the umpteenth time, saving with his legs to deny the Pitmen again

The final minute of normal time saw the entertainment come to a head; Durrell's attempt at a second goal saw him drive a shot in that came off the underneath of the crossbar, with Adam McGurk denied on the rebound by Stevens. Thirty seconds later, Durrell's through ball found Dyer, who marched through and confidently slotted past Stevens to clinch a six-goal mauling

A confident, comprehensive win for McNally's men, who are now in a great position to take the final play-off place should they win at Swindon Supermarine on Wednesday night. More of the same please, Hednesford

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt ©, Wood, Bailey, Francis, Gomes (Clements 56), Durrell , Craddock (Dyer 49), Barnett (Martin 73), Proffitt, McGurk      Subs Unused: Gibson, Flynn

Rugby Town: Stevens, Tullin ©, Hollist, Fellows  (70), Castelton, Love, Gearing, Youngs, Kolodynski, Brown (Glover 61), Farrow (Kwegir 61)      Subs Unused: Richards, Bell

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