23.2.2011

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Stourbridge

Rowe (49)

Hednesford Town

Robinson (81), Patterson (84)

(0) 1

(0) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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389

Kyle Patterson

L W L W W W W L W W

Bashley (A) 26.2.11

A late double strike from the Pitmen sees them make it six wins from seven games tonight, turning the tables on local rivals Stourbridge and maintaining their push for the play-offs in the process

Saturday had seen Hednesford edge out fellow high-flyers Chesham United 3-2 at Keys Park in a bad-tempered encounter. Pitmen boss Rob Smith chose to stick with the same XI that had started the game at the weekend, with striker Marvin Robinson remaining amongst the substitutions despite his red card late on in the Chesham game

Stourbridge - still harbouring ambitions of their own of a late run at the play-offs as they sat seven points behind fifth-placed Leamington at the start of play - had beaten Cirencester Town 2-1 ten days ago to maintain eighth place in the table, although Gary Hackett's men had been in patchy form since the turn of the year with four wins, two draws and two defeats from their eight league games. Hackett made one change to the side that had triumphed over Cirencester as Sam Smith back came in for Jamie Oliver

On a cold evening, the Pitmen made all of the early running as they dominated the first quarter of the game without making their pressure count. The in-form Nick Wellecomme looked to follow up his goal on Saturday with another in the fourth minute of the game as he shrugged off the attentions of Smith to chase down a through ball from Alex Melbourne, but his low bobbling shot was pushed behind by former Hednesford loanee Lewis Solly

Two minutes later, Decio Gomes sent Jay Denny away into space after chipping the ball into the midfielder's path in the centre circle. Denny took the ball fifteen yards forward and lined up a shot, only for Sam Rock to deflect his rising shot behind for a corner kick

Darren Campion took the resultant corner kick and whipped in a cross that Solly flapped at, relying on the backtracking Paul Lloyd to hack the ball out of his own six-yard box before Liam Francis could touch the ball home from close-range

A superb pass from Denny in the tenth minute sent Wellecomme away behind the retreating Stourbridge defence, with the striker taking two touches to steady himself before pulling his shot from fifteen yards out wide of Solly's post. A good chance wasted as Wellecomme had the whole goal to aim at

Patterson's run into the Stourbridge penalty area, getting on the end of Campion's through ball, was halted by referee Mr Morris on thirteen minutes as the striker was pulled back for a tight and contentious offside flag against him

Stour's first sight at goal came in the seventeenth minute as Drew Canavan's free-kick from the right was flicked on by the lanky Paul McCone and into the path of Ben Billingham, who was caught on his heels and allowed Dan Crane to come out of his goal and smother the ball at the feet of the talented midfielder

Midway through the first half, on-loan winger Liam Blakeman very nearly conjured up a goal of the season contender for the visitors as Melbourne's searching ball forwards from the right found Blakeman in space twelve yards from goal; the winger produced a beautiful deft touch to chip the ball over the heads of both McCone and Lloyd before turning and sidefooting the ball towards goal, forcing Solly into a superb save down to his left. It was the sort of execution Denis Bergkamp in his prime would have been proud of, and only a superb stop from the home goalkeeper denied Blakeman a wonder goal to open the scoring

The hosts were in danger of being overrun in midfield, with Denny and the superb Patterson linking up time and again in the space between Stour's defence and midfield to give them problems. Solly watched a shot from the former LA Galaxy man over the crossbar on twenty-five minutes after Patterson had beaten McCone for pace and struck a rising shot at goal from twenty-five yards out that ended up in amongst the Hednesford supporters stood in the stand behind the goal

The home side were forced into an injury-related change on twenty-eight minutes as skipper Billingham came off worst in a clash with Ross Davidson in the centre of the park and was taken off by the Glassboys in clear pain before being replaced by former Hednesford man James Dyson. Davidson was spoken to by Mr Morris but escaped a yellow card for the challenge

Billingham's departure forced the hosts into a change of formation, with them now playing a 3-5-2 set-up. Ironically, this seemed to suit them better and they finished the half strongly. On twenty-nine minutes, ex-Hednesford man Josh Craddock win the ball from Gomes and played striker Ryan Rowe into space. The diminutive striker took a touch to get goal side of Ben Bailey but fired just wide of the post with a powerfully struck low shot

Rowe should have done better with the next chance that fell his way three minutes later as Rock's ball down the right found Dyson in space, with the substitute picking Rowe out in the box from the touchline. Rowe got in front of Cheyenne Dunkley but headed a matter of inches wide of goal from six yards out. Another chance that really should have made the net bulge

On thirty-five minutes, Rowe capitalised on some rare confusion in the Hednesford defence as he seized upon a bouncing ball that Dunkley and Gomes left to each other, nipping in between the pair and attempting a lob over the head of Crane from twenty yards out, only to find the Pitmen's number one equal to the shot

The hosts were enjoying much the better of the possession at this point, with Dyson and Rock combining once more on thirty-eight minutes to tee up Craddock on the edge of the penalty area, only for the youngster to drag his low shot wide of Crane's left-hand post

Craddock felt that he had a legitimate case for a penalty kick on forty-one minutes as he was bundled to the floor by Dunkley, only for Mr Morris to continue with the game. The Pitmen struggled to clear the ball, which was played back into the path of Rowe by Craddock, only for Crane to push the shot away at his near post

Canavan took the resultant corner kick and found Rowe on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area before the visitors could react; Rowe's miscued effort was headed goalwards by Smith, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance from Dunkley

It had very much been a half of two halves, with the Pitmen on top for the opening twenty minutes before Stourbridge's enforced tactical shift saw them dominate the game for the final twenty minutes of the half

The hosts came out swinging at the start of the second half and Crane had to be alert to parry former team-mate Craddock's shot away from goal just sixty seconds after the restart

Stourbridge finally got their noses in front five minutes into the second period with a moment of individual magic from Rowe; picking the ball up to the right-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area from Canavan, Rowe drifted past Denny, Gomes and Dunkley before rifling the ball past Crane and into the roof of the net from six yards out

Looking for an immediate response, the Pitmen looked to capitalise on a slip from the experienced Leon Broadhurst on fifty-four minutes as he relinquished possession to Davidson just outside his own penalty area. Davidson took the ball back into the box but attempted a sidefooted finish past Solly that was easily saved by the goalkeeper

A defensive slip-up at the other end from Gomes almost gifted Rock a sight at goal two minutes later as the Portuguese defender's slack pass went straight to the full-back, who took the ball back into the danger zone before Gomes did enough to recover and stab the ball away from Rock before he could shoot

On fifty-seven minutes, the Pitmen elected to make their first change of the evening as young midfielder Chris Clements came in place of Blakeman, who had started the game well but had faded as it had gone on

Rock was the next Stourbridge man to limp out of the game just a minute later as he picked up a knock in a clash with Denny and had to be replaced with another of the ex-Hednesford brigade at the Amblecote, Linden Dovey

Smith went close to doubling Stourbridge's lead on sixty-one minutes as the lanky centre-back leapt highest to meet a looping Dyson corner, heading the ball over the head of Crane but seeing his effort eventually scrambled away by the Hednesford defence

Two later, there was another penalty shoot for the home team as Rowe's attempted cross towards Dovey appeared to strike the hand of Gomes as the defender looked to get across and cut the ball out. Fortunately for the Portuguese, Mr Morris was unimpressed with the calls and the game continued

Midfield man Broadhurst was next to try his luck from long-range midway through and a half as he picked up a pass from Lloyd and drove in a low shot from twenty-five yards out that skipped along the turf and wide of Crane's near post

Melbourne picked up the first yellow card of the evening on sixty-nine minutes after the young utility player had fouled Nathan Bennett just inside the Hednesford half to stop the midfielder from running in behind him

Smith continued to be a threat from set pieces, using his height to good effect whenever the Glassboys send men forwards. On seventy-two minutes, he rose to meet Canavan's outswinging corner but headed over the crossbar and into the Stourbridge fans behind Crane's goal

A brief foray into the Stourbridge half from the Pitmen with sixteen minutes to go saw Patterson make a mazy run from midfield and into the penalty area, only to drag his low shot well wide of goal when it may have been a better option to pass to Wellecomme

McCone followed Melbourne into the book on seventy-six minutes as the young defender was rightly shown a yellow card by Mr Morris for bringing down Wellecomme in full flow

From the resultant free-kick, Campion and Clements cleverly disguised the kick to play Patterson in down the left-hand side of the penalty area, but his angled shot failed to test Solly at his near post

With ten minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their second substitution of the evening as they made an attacking change with the introduction of Robinson in place of Melbourne

This was to prove a masterstroke from Smith as Robinson was to have a major say in the remaining minutes of the game as the Pitmen turned the game on its head; on eighty-one minutes, Clements sent over a corner kick from the left that Solly once again made a hash of inside his six-yard box, allowing Dunkley to head the ball over him and into the path of Robinson, who turned the ball home from close-range with his first touch to equalise

The Pitmen had their tails up and took the lead for the first time in the game on eighty-four minutes; Patterson had won a free-kick just outside the Stourbridge penalty area after being brought down by Smith, allowing Campion to line up a shot at goal from twenty-five yards out. The left-back's shot went through the Stourbridge wall and forced Solly into a flying save down to his right, pushing the ball away from goal but only into the path of Patterson, who was in the right place at the right time to turn the rebound home from close range

Stour were shaken by the quick turnaround in the game and struggled to conjure up a response in the latter stages, with Dovey striking a shot from just outside the penalty area on eighty-seven minutes that skipped just wide of Crane's right-hand post

In an attempt to see the game out, Hednesford brought defender Ben Bailey on in place of Wellecomme with just a minute of normal time remaining to add another body at the back

In the first minute of added time, Smith headed a Canavan free-kick back across goal at the far post and towards Rowe, but Gomes was on hand to make the clearance before Rowe could pick up the bouncing ball

It would be harsh on the Pitmen to describe this as a 'smash and grab' three points as they had dominated the opening quarter of the game, but Smith's men had left it late to take the points against a wasteful Stourbridge side who should have wrapped the points up in the second half after taking the lead through Rowe. The Pitmen remain in sixth place in the table, still three points behind Leamington, ahead of their longest trip of the season to the New Forest on Saturday as they travel to mid-table Bashley

Stourbridge: Solly, Rock (Dovey 58), Canavan, McCone , Smith, Bennett, Lloyd (Drake 88), Broadhurst, Rowe, Billingham © (Dyson 28), Craddock     Subs Unused: Connor, Oliver

Hednesford Town: Crane, Gomes, Campion, Dunkley, Francis ©, Denny, Melbourne  (Robinson 80), Patterson, Wellecomme (Bailey 89), Blakeman (Clements 57), Davidson       Subs Unused: Gibson, Keenan