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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Quinn (60)

Stocksbridge Park Steels

Muldoon (89)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Phil Clarke


Rushall Olympic (A) 6.9.11

After last Monday's high, Hednesford supporters will feel a little flat this afternoon as the Pitmen drew their first game of the season after another defensive lapse allows Stocksbridge to claim a point at Keys Park

There was one enforced change to the side that had famously beaten Stafford Rangers five days previously, as right wing-back Kyle Haynes was ruled out before kick-off due to injury. Phil Clarke moved up from the substitutes bench to take his place, in what was to be an inspired decision by manager Rob Smith

Consecutive home games offered a great opportunity to grab a quickfire six points, and the Pitmen's early play suggested they wanted to put this game to bed early on. Former Hednesford keeper Ben Scott was alert in the second minute to claim a Chris Shaw looping header on the goal line, under pressure from Cheyenne Dunkley

Hednesford's hat-trick hero from Monday Marvin Robinson got in on the act as he threatened with his power and presence. On four minutes, a neat piece of interplay involving Darren Campion and Jay Denny saw the ball threaded through to Robinson, who had the ball nicked off his toes by the onrushing Scott. Jack Muldoon replied for the visitors with a low shot that beat Dan Crane but also missed the far post

Robinson's aerial threat almost produced a goal on ten minutes, as a deep, searching ball forward by Clarke found Robinson eight yards out, only for the big man's header to miss by a couple of feet

Five minutes later, Scott was forced into a good save by Robinson, who brought down Clarke's ball brilliantly before sidestepping his marker and firing at the legs of Scott

It was all Hednesford in the opening twenty minutes, and Osborne's trickery down the right saw him cross for Campion, who headed just wide of goal when he really should have tested Scott

Robinson really should have claimed Hednesford's opener with the number of chances he had had during the first half and was again presented with a great chance midway through the half. However, he was caught on his heels and allowed Scott to get in ahead of him as both players chased the ball down

Danny Quinn had been quiet up to this point in the game, as strike partner Robinson had enjoyed the lion's share of the chances. On thirty-five minutes, Hednesford's joint top scorer broke clear of the Stocksbridge defence, only to be denied by Scott, who made a smart save

Dunkley's flick header from a deep Clements cross drifted wide of the Stocksbridge far post on thirty-seven minutes

Quinn's presence and power saw him carve out a chance for himself on forty-three minutes, but a number of bodies in yellow shirts managed to crowd the striker out before he could get his shot away

In the final minute of the half, Campion wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock, as good play down the Hednesford right involving Osbourne and Clarke saw the ball find its way to the skipper, who seemed to dither as he shaped to shoot, allowing Scott to get something on the shot and divert it wide of goal

The Pitmen were similarly attack-minded in the early stages of the second half, as Robinson made inroads into the Stocksbridge defence a minute after the restart, squaring the ball to the unmarked Quinn. Once again, last-ditch defending from Stocksbridge denied Quinn a fourth goal of the season, as the ball is deflected away from goal

Osbourne's industry was almost rewarded with the opener on fifty-seven minutes, as the midfielder got on the end of a move started by Clarke's raking ball forward hat Quinn managed to chase down. Quinn's pull-back missed Robinson, who had overrun the ball but fell to the oncoming Osborne, whose shot was deflected narrowly over the crossbar

The frustration on the faces of the Hednesford supporters finally gave way to delight on the hour mark, as Quinn finally got the goal his efforts deserved. Racing on to Jay Denny's through ball, Osborne bravely slid in to nick the ball off Scott, allowing Quinn to fire home from close range as he raced onto the loose ball

Immediately, Rob Smith made a defensive change by bringing on Ben Bailey in place of Osborne, who had come off worst in the clash with Scott to set up the goal

The Pitmen thought they had earned a penalty barely a minute later, as Clarke's run into the penalty area was checked by a Stocksbridge defender. To the amazement of the crowd, the referee waved away the strong protests and continued the game

Three consecutive corners from the hosts failed to provide another goal for the dominant Pitmen, before Stocksbridge finally offered a goal threat through Brett Lovell, who managed to dance past a challenge and fire across goal, only to be denied by Dunkley's clearance off the goal line

Stockbridge's right back almost claimed the own goal of the season award on seventy-three minutes, as his attempted lob back to Scott was a little too strong and dropped only inches past the post

A minute later, the hardworking Quinn made way for a fresher pair of legs in the form of youngster Bohan Dixon up front

Clements had looked a threat all afternoon with his cultured right boot, and on seventy-nine minutes beat two challenges before firing towards goal from fully thirty yards. Scott was equal to it scooping the ball away with a strong hand to his right

The expected Stocksbridge fightback gathered momentum in the final few minutes, as the away side finally found some form. A string of corner kicks forced the Pitmen back into their final third before the visitors snatched an unlikely equaliser in the final minute. With the play stretched, a long ball through the Hednesford defence looked to have been cut out by Bailey. However, the ball bobbled over his foot, allowing Muldoon to break clear and fire across Crane to earn Stocksbridge a point

It was a deflating way for the Pitmen to end the game, as they failed to push on in added time in an attempt to conjure up yet another late goal. Both Bradford (Park Avenue) and Chorley move above the Pitmen on goal difference after today's round of games, with Smith's side looking to get back to winning ways on Tuesday night when they make the short hop across to Walsall to face neighbours Rushall Olympic at Dales Lane in a first-ever step three league meeting between the two local rivals

Hednesford Town: Crane, Monteiro, Campion ©, Shaw, Dunkley, Denny , Clarke, Clements, Robinson, Quinn (Dixon 74), Osborne (Bailey 60)      Subs Unused: Gomes, Grice, Benjamin-McFarlane


Stocksbridge Park Steels: Scott, Lloyd, Davies (Ward 83), Haigh, Lovell ©, D. Riordan, Glarvey, Telling, Muldoon, Williams, Adam (Ring 62)       Subs Unused: Marrison, J. Riordan, Thomas

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