Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Craddock (44)


Drake (8)

(1) 1

(1) 1



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Ben Bailey


Banbury United (H) 17.4.10

Two points lost? Or a point gained? Hednesford supporters left Keys Park this evening weighing up this question after a late moment of controversy robbed the Pitmen of maximum points against local rivals Stourbridge

With this being the Pitmen's third game since the weekend, and with another home game to come in less than forty-eight hours time, Bernard McNally made changes to his side after their win over Merthyr Tydfil on Tuesday. Matty Wood was moved to left-back in place of Aaron Gibson, with Cheyenne Dunkley returning to the side in a re-jigged defence. Josh Craddock started in midfield after an impressive showing as a substitute two nights ago, with Dorryll Proffitt dropped to the bench

Mid-table Stourbridge made their first-ever league visit to Keys Park having not played since the weekend when they were trounced 4-1 at Truro City to leave any lingering hopes of a late run at the play-offs looking unlikely. Manager Gary Hackett made one change to his side for tonight's game as the injured Ross Collins was replaced by ex-Pitman James Dyson

The game was played at a real pace from the off, with both sides keen to chalk up three crucial points as they searched for a play-off place. Tyrone Barnett almost added to his season's tally with an early strike that was hacked off the line by Sam Rock as it looped towards goal

Barnett's effort was closely followed by strike partner Ross Dyer firing a shot in from the edge of the area that was well held by Lewis Solly, a one-game wonder for the Pitmen back in 2005

However, Stourbridge have been a resilient force this term, winning some important games in the process. Once again they threatened to throw the script in the bin on eight minutes, as they took the lead. A quick throw from Drew Canavan saw Aaron Drake's pace force Liam Francis into a mistake out on the right-hand side, firing in an angled drive that beat Stuart Brock and nestled in the bottom far corner of the net

Stourbridge were lifted by their goal, with Jamie Oliver seeing his header cleared off the line by skipper Sean Platt on twenty minutes as the away side pressed

The closest the Pitmen came to equalising in the first quarter when Dunkley's powerful header was cleared off the line after he had met Elliott Durrell's corner

Stourbridge's Ryan Rowe picked up a yellow card for bringing down Durrell, leaving Glassboys manager Gary Hackett seething. After a heated exchange with referee Mr Yates, he was sent to the stands, much to the amusement of the main stand

Stour's Ben Billingham should have scored with a header on twenty-four minutes but missed a real sitter by heading wide from a couple of yards out after getting on the end of Leon Broadhurst's cross

The shell-shocked Pitmen responded with a great link-up between striker partners Barnett and Ross Dyer, but Dyer got his feet all wrong as he shaped to shoot and fell over on the edge of the area

Adam McGurk was unlucky not to equalise for the Pitmen on the half-hour mark, as he linked up with Durrell and Barnett to fire in an acrobatic shot that missed Solly's left-hand post by inches

Barnett was guilty of a horrible miss to rival Oliver's earlier chance a minute later, heading Platt's cross wide from close range with only Solly to beat

Just as it looked as though the Pitmen would have to do it all again in the second half, they came up with a lifeline a minute before the break. Barnett was involved, controlling the ball brilliantly eighteen yards out before laying the ball into the path of Craddock, whose well-placed shot beat Solly and found the top corner of the net

Even then, the Pitmen almost threw it away as Stourbridge had a great chance with the final action of the first half. Oliver's ball to Rowe saw the striker cut in from the right and fire in a shot that Brock saved well as he raced out to block Rowe's effort

Hednesford started the second half with gusto, with Barnett making a marauding run at the Stourbridge defence on fifty minutes, but his powerfully-hit shot was held by Solly

Stourbridge responded with Rowe playing in Canavan on the left-hand edge of the box, but his shot was well saved by Brock, who had a spell at Stourbridge before rejoining the Pitmen earlier in the season

With twenty-one minutes remaining, McNally took the disappointing Wood off and replaced him with the pacy Gibson at left-back in a straight swap between the pair

The game became a scrappy affair during this period of the game, with both sides guilty of giving the ball away in midfield. Francis missed a real chance to put the Pitmen ahead on seventy minutes, missing his kick in front of goal after the ball had dropped to him after a Durrell corner kick

Dyer also had a chance to win it for the hosts on seventy-two minutes, breaking quickly from midfield before firing into the arms of Solly from the edge of the area

Then came one key moment of controversy in the game; McGurk thought he had scored the Pitmen's potential winner fourteen minutes from time, picking up the ball and hitting a tremendous shot from fully twenty-five yards that beat Solly and crashed against the crossbar. The ball dropped down and appeared to bounce a good yard over the goal-line before being hacked away. With the team and supporters celebrating, the referee consulted his assistant and failed to award the goal

Howls of derision from the supporters followed, whilst the Hednesford players surrounded the referee in an attempt to overturn his decision, to no avail

Hednesford turned the screw in the final ten minutes as they looked to grab the second goal they felt they had been robbed of. Dyer made another one of his runs toward the area ten minutes from the end, with Solly smothering his shot down at his near post

Try as they might, the Pitmen could not come up with a winner, with late half-chances for Durrell, Barnett and late substitute Proffitt all ending up wide of goal or saved by Stour's man of the match Solly


McNally will be disappointed not to have taken all three points after the late drama and will look towards the second of this home double-header on Saturday against Banbury United to earn those crucial three points to keep his side in touch with the rest of the play-off chasers

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt © , Wood ▆ (Gibson 68), Bailey, Francis, Dunkley, Durrell , Craddock, Barnett, Dyer, McGurk (Proffitt 80)      Subs Unused: Clements, Martin, Flynn

Stourbridge: Solly, Rock  (Plinston 89 ), Oliver, Dyson, Drake, Bennett ©, Canavan, Broadhurst, Rowe (Dovey 68), Billingham (Lloyd 78), Mahon       Subs Unused: Smith, Slater