5.9.2009

Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Swindon Supermarine

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Tyrone Barnett

W D W L L L D

Pegasus Juniors (H) 12.9.09

Hednesford succeeded in halting their three-game losing streak today, but manager Dean Edwards will be a frustrated figure tonight as his side squandered a succession of chances to notch that morale-boosting victory they so desperately need presently

Once again, Edwards' lack of options within his small squad saw him make an enforced change, with Sam Aiston coming in for the injured Tony Dinning in midfield. There was also a positional change in defence with big Cedric Abraham returning to the club, taking Scott Lycett's place alongside Ben Bailey and Nick Amos

Swindon made their first-ever trip up to Keys Park off the back of a narrow derby defeat to Banbury United on Bank Holiday Monday, with manager Mark Collier sticking with the same XI that had started five days ago looking to pick up only their second win of a tough season to date

Swindon's set-up immediately suggested they were coming to play a typical away game - only one man up front in the form of Alan Griffin, looking to hunt down and take advantage of any individual errors in the Hednesford defence. The Swindon defence had to be on it's guard as the Pitmen made a bright start, looking to grab an early goal to appease the poor crowd that had turned up

Elliott Durrell was first to get a shot in for the home side on four minutes, whipping in a dangerous free-kick after a foul on Sam Aiston just outside the penalty area. However, his shot lacked direction and flew over the crossbar

Carl Palmer, who had been impressive in the Pitmen's previous match against Nuneaton, almost grabbed his first goal since returning to Keys park a minute later, but Swindon keeper Matt Bulman made a great save low down to deny the Hednesford skipper as he looked to bundle the ball into the net from eight yards out

Tyrone Barnett, whose goal against Nuneaton was his first of the season, looked a changed man from the figure in previous games, linking up well with the midfield and causing Swindon problems with his movement and pace. His clever ball to Sean Platt saw the right-back whip in a superb cross towards the back post, but the onrushing Aaron Gibson failed to turn the ball goalwards and put the ball out of play

Ross Dyer's willingness to chase the ball down saw the game hit a controversial moment on fifteen minutes as he challenged for the ball with two Swindon players; Marine's number two Kyle Lapham threw himself to the floor in agony, apparently after brushing Dyer's side. After collapsing in a heap next to the corner flag, he was told to get up by referee Mr Rushton, although there was no yellow card for his 'simulation'. Lapham spent the rest of the half getting the bird from angry Hednesford supporters on the Wimblebury side of the ground

Indeed, the game was a scrappy one in the first half-hour, with Swindon's aggressive approach seeing two of their players in the book early on, alongside Barnett, who was booked for his part in a session of handbags out on the right-hand side on twenty minutes

Back came the Pitmen, and Durrell's venomous drive on seventeen minutes was well saved by Bulman after the little playmaker had fashioned a chance for himself in midfield

Abraham's return to the defence seemed to be having the desired effect, as it immediately looked stronger and more cohesive than at any time since Richard Walker started his three-match suspension. With only Griffin to worry about, the defensive unit seemed happy to play a high line and play the ball across the back line, something they had been caught out on in recent games

The Pitmen continued to tot up the chances, with Barnett going close on twenty minutes, but Lapham denied the striker a goal with a well-timed block as Barnett attempted to get his shot in

From the resultant corner kick, Durrell's ball in was only half-cleared by Swindon, with the ball dropping behind Dyer, who improvised tremendously to flick the ball back over his head but just cleared the crossbar with his clever effort

Barnett continued to threaten the Swindon defence, with he and Dyer winning everything in the air against the two centre backs. Another Durrell corner found Barnett at the far post on twenty-five minutes, but his header lacked power and was easily fielded by Bulman

Barnett went even closer three minutes later, meeting Platt's cross with a superb header that was tipped onto the bar and over by Bulman for a corner

Gibson was the provider for the Pitmen's next chance on thirty-three minutes,  making a mazy run down the left-wing and crossing for Barnett, who failed to get his header on target and headed well over the bar

As half time approached, The hosts turned the screw further as they looked to grab the all-important opener. Dyer headed agonisingly wide of goal at the far post after Gibson's cross, closely followed by Durrell's powerful daisy-cutter that had Bulman scampering across goal, but just missed the post by inches

The Pitmen started the second half with the same purpose as the first, as Swindon were immediately put on the back foot again. Platt, a man who rarely gets into goalscoring positions, had a great chance to score just five minutes after the restart, but his rising shot swerved away from goal at the last moment and just missed the angle of crossbar and post

As the chances continued to mount up, you started to get the feeling that it was going to be 'one of those days'. This was further backed up when Barnett again hit the woodwork on fifty-five minutes, rising at the far post to head firmly against the upright from six yards out

With Dyer tiring, perennial substitute Justin Nisbett was brought on in his place to add pace to the attack, as the game started to get stretched

The Pitmen's back line almost handed Swindon the initiative in a lax ten minute period as the game entered the final quarter. Abraham was lucky that Mr Rushton failed to award Swindon a penalty after the big man seemingly fouled Chris Taylor just inside the box on sixty-seven minutes. This was followed by a loose punch from Gavin Ward that was seized upon by Griffin, but he failed to find the target with a scuffed effort

As the game entered the final few minutes, Nisbett was presented with a great chance not only to open his account for the Pitmen but to grab the winner. Barnett's brilliant run took him to the bye-line before his cut-back towards the six-yard box found Amos, who rolled the ball to Nisbett. However, the substitute was hasty in hitting the ball, snatching at it and firing over when it looked easier to score

The home side became desperate in their search for a winner as the minutes ticked away, with Durrell shooting on sight every time he picked the ball up in and around the penalty area. Bulman did well with five minutes remaining to turn Aiston's shot around the post for a corner after the winger had shimmied his way past three players

A succession of late corners for the Pitmen saw Griffin move back into defence to help out his centre backs, and much to Hednesford's frustration, every ball into the box seemed to be met by Griffin's bald head

A frustrating afternoon's football at Keys Park and a result that sees the Pitmen remain in the bottom half of the table with Supermarine rooted in the bottom four of the table. It's another one of those awkward-looking F.A. Cup ties to come next weekend as Edwards' men face Pegasus Juniors at Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Ward, Platt, Gibson, Abraham, Bailey, Amos, Durrell, Palmer ©, Barnett , Dyer (Nisbett 63), Aiston       Subs Unused: Bandurak, Lycett

Swindon Supermarine: Bulman, Lapham, Allen, Wood, Beeden, Morris, Harris, Barnes (Edenborough 57), Griffin, Taylor, Stanley (Philpott 80)       Subs Unused: Smith, Hopper, Horgan

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