26.11.2011

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Stocksbridge Park Steels

Cusworth (54), (60), Muldoon (89), Ward (90)

Hednesford Town

(0) 4

(0) 0

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Darren Campion

W L W W D L W W W L

Matlock Town (A) 30.11.11

Well, it was never going to last forever.. Hednesford's fantastic winning run in the league came to a crashing halt this afternoon as poor discipline is punished by struggling Stocksbridge Park Steels

Coming off a successful week's work at Keys Park, with two wins in four days, manager Rob Smith made only one change for the trip to South Yorkshire; Chris Shaw was brought back into the side at left-back, with Ben Jevons switching places with him and moving to the bench

A misty, miserable afternoon greeted the players at kick-off, with constant fine drizzle falling intermittently during the game. The weather reflected the opening exchanges, as neither side offered much in the way of exciting, attacking football

Darren Campion offered a glimpse of an opening on eleven minutes, picking the ball up twenty-five yards out and lashing the ball towards goal. However, the rising shot was too high to worry former Hednesford keeper Ben Scott, now custodian for Steels

Two minutes later, Elliott Durrell fancied his luck from long-range too, but his venomous shot flew a couple of yards wide of the post

The home side's best opportunities seemed to be limited to set-pieces, as they forced three corners in a row on sixteen minutes. The closest they came to opening the scoring was a Kevin Davies header from Matt Outram's corner kick that flew high over the crossbar

Scott was called into action on midway through the half, making a comfortable save low down to hold Campion's free-kick from twenty yards out

Mark Danks threatened in spectacular style on twenty-seven minutes, getting on the end of Shaw's cross and volleying towards goal. His effort beat Scott - but also the far post by a matter of inches

 The Pitmen could have been pretty satisfied with their opening half hour's work and were probably confident of going on to win the game. However, a moment of madness from keeper Dan Crane on thirty-three minutes was ultimately to cost the Pitmen all three points. Jack Muldoon's run down the left for Stocksbridge saw him get the better of Pedro Monteiro, leaving him clear to make a run in on goal. Crane had made an early move out of his area to block the shot and managed to get a part of his body to Muldoon's shot right on the edge of his box. The referee deemed that Crane had used his arm to block the shot just outside the area, and promptly sent the Hednesford number one off

With no substitute goalkeeper present for the Pitmen, skipper Campion donned the pink keeper's jersey and handed the captaincy to Jay Denny. The irony was that this was to lead to the Pitmen's best spell of the game, as they pushed forward in search of an opener

A succession of corners from the away side saw both Monteiro and Cheyenne Dunkley get headers in, but both were dealt with by a resolute Steels defence. They were also alert to deny Chris Clements as he tried his luck with a long-range free-kick

Having got to half time on level terms, the Pitmen regrouped at the break and continued to make light of the situation just after half time as they protected stand-in keeper Campion. However, a contentious offside decision handed Stocksbridge the crucial opener on fifty-four minutes. Outram's cross found Muldoon, who laid the ball in turn into the path of Brian Cusworth, who appeared to be in an offside position. He fired past Campion at his near post, despite calls from the Hednesford defence for the offside flag to be raised

From here on in, it was all about damage limitation, as the Pitmen reverted to a more defensive formation. The more physical combination of Marvin Robinson and Nick Wellecomme were introduced in favour of the ineffective Danks and Gary Hay, as the Pitmen looked for a more competitive out-ball

It failed to work, however, as Stocksbridge moved further in front on the hour mark. Muldoon's cross-shot was well saved by Campion, but his save fell kindly into the path of Cusworth, who bundled the ball into the net from close range

The Pitmen were up against it from this point on, not helped by a whistle-happy referee who pulled both sides up for niggly things. Clements looked to get the Pitmen back into the game on seventy-two minutes with a rasping drive from a good twenty-five yards out that whistled just over the crossbar

Lewis Suckling, called up to the first team ranks this week after an impressive showing for the youth team was given his first-team debut with ten minutes remaining, as he replaced the tiring Durrell

Robinson, who had offered little since his introduction, added o the Pitmen's woes - and their disciplinary issues - with a verbal blast at the referee with three minutes remaining, prompting another red card for the already beaten Pitmen

The final minutes saw Stocksbridge take full advantage of the lack of numbers in the Pitmen's side and grab a further two late goals to seal all three points. With a minute to go, Muldoon got the goal his efforts deserved, as he turned and fired past Campion from inside the area after a cross from Richard Stirrup

A minute later, the rout was completed as Campion did well to save Andy Ring's shot but again the ball fell kindly to a Stocksbridge player, as Mark Ward tapped home the rebound

A hugely disappointing afternoon for the Pitmen, and with suspensions mounting up in the next three weeks, it will be interesting to see how Messrs Smith and Chambers deal with the emerging issues. Bringing in a goalkeeper will obviously be a priority, as well as looking to put out a competitive forward line with two strikers now suspended for the forthcoming trip to bogey side Matlock Town on Wednesday night

Stocksbridge Park Steels: Scott, Glarvey, Davies, Haigh (Ring 74), Lovell ©, Tansley, Stirrup, Telling, Muldoon (Noubissie 90), Cusworth (Ward 74), Outram      Subs Unused: Ratcliffe, Ellis

Hednesford Town: Crane  (33), Haynes, Shaw, Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Durrell (Suckling 80), Clements, Danks (Robinson 60 ▆ (87)), Hay (Wellecomme 60 ), Campion ©       Subs Unused: Bailey, Grice

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