Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

McSweeney (5), Bell (26), (32)

Team Bath

Jaukovic (15)

(3) 3

(1) 1



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Andy Bell



Stamford (A) 30.8.04

Hednesford produced a superb first-half attacking display to sweep away league newcomers Team Bath at Keys Park this afternoon to make it three games unbeaten in the Southern Premier League

Tuesday night had seen Chris Brindley' side earn themselves their first point on the road this term with a draw at Cirencester Town; Brindley elected to make one change to the side for today's return to Keys Park as recent signing Matt Turner returned to the XI in place of left-back Grant Beckett 

Newly-promoted Team Bath had found the going particularly tough in their opening four games, losing to King's Lynn, Gloucester and Chippenham Town so far to leave Ged Roddy's side just outside the bottom three going into today's game. Roddy stuck with the same side that had lost at home to Chippenham on Monday night as he looked for a response from his XI

On another sunny August afternoon at Keys Park, the Pitmen swept forwards with purpose and drove in an early warning shot through Leon McSweeney in the third minute as he drilled a low shot just wide of goal as Anthony Maguire played him through on goal


McSweeney was not to be denied however two minutes later as he continued his fine start to life at Hednesford with the opening goal of the afternoon. Strike partner Andy Bell was brought down just outside the Team Bath penalty area by Chris Holland, allowing McSweeney to curl a wonderful free-kick past goalkeeper Ryan Northmore and into the top corner of the net. A fine goal and a fine start for the hosts

Chris Gray's marauding run down the left-hand side three minutes later saw him drift past Kes Metitiri and get to the byeline, pulling the ball back into the path of the incoming Bell, whose first-time shot was parried by Northmore at his near post

In the thirteenth minute, Peter Tisdale's scuffed clearance fell at the meet of Turner, who returned the ball into the Team Bath penalty area where McSweeney nodded the ball into the path of Maguire, whose left-footed volley sailed over the crossbar from the left-hand corner of the penalty area

Despite their bright start to proceedings, the hosts were pegged back as Team Bath equalised with their first real venture into Hednesford territory. Danny Maye got himself to the byline down the left after holding off Alex Gibson's challenge and lofted a cross to the far post, where striker Tomas Jaukovic was on hand to head home from close-range

Back came the shell-shocked hosts and McSweeney forced Northmore into a scrambling save around his post in the nineteenth minute after Maguire's quickly-taken corner kick had found the Irishman on the edge of the Team Bath penalty area and caught the visitors ball-watching

Maguire was involved again down the left for the hosts midway through the half as he exchanged passes with Craig Dean and got past Metitiri, sending over a low cross into the near post where Bell prodded the ball just wide of goal from eight yards out after beating Jon Nichols to the ball


No matter, as Bell grabbed his third goal in three games since his switch to the club on twenty-six minutes; McSweeney returned the compliment from the Pitmen's first goal as he held off a challenge from Matt Townley to cross from the right and find his new strike partner, who confidently headed past Northmore from close-range to hand the hosts the lead once more

Skipper Lee Barrow went close to putting clear daylight between the two sides two minutes later as he got on the end of an outswinging corner kick from Maguire and headed firmly at goal but saw his effort skim the top of the crossbar as it flew over the top of the goal

Bell and McSweeney continued to cause havoc in the Team Bath ranks with their movement and interplay and linked up once more to make it 3-1 to the hosts on thirty-two minutes. A neat move in midfield saw Lee Williams and Turner supply McSweeney, whose clever threaded pass played Bell in on goal. Despite muted calls for offside from the Team Bath defenders, Bell steadied himself before drilling his low shot underneath the body of Northmore and into the net from twelve yards out

The hosts continued to control the tempo of the game with their visitors struggling to keep in touch with the Pitmen as the wily veteran Williams sprayed balls around the pitch with ease and confidence from the centre circle. One such pass set McSweeney on his was on thirty-six minutes, only for an offside flag from the assistant on the main stand side to deny the striker a fourth goal of the season

Ryan Young's long free-kick forwards on forty minutes was flicked on by McSweeney and into the path of Bell, who took a couple of touches to create room for himself before firing just wide of the right-hand post from twenty yards out

Gray and Williams linked up well from Dean's quick throw-in three minutes later to set up Maguire, only for the youngster to dither on his shot inside the Team Bath penalty area and allow Nichols to clear the danger

It had been a fine first period from the hosts, who had looked a real threat going forwards and limited their opponents to long-range efforts and playing long-aimless balls forwards

Gray probably should have put the game out of Team Bath's reach four minutes after the restart as he was denied a certain goal by a stunning save from Northmore. The winger cut inside from the left flank and drifted into space just outside the box and let fly with a right-footed effort that looked goalbound until Northmore produced a spectacular one-handed save to tip the ball around the post

A rare foray into the Hednesford half from Team Bath saw them win successive corner kicks on fifty-two minutes and create an opening for Peter Tisdale, who beat Richard Teesdale to Danny Maye's cross but headed just wide of Young's near post

Bell really should have capped off a fine individual display on fifty-nine minutes as was played in one goal by another incisive Williams pass, only to see his firmly-hit shot sail over the crossbar

Tisdale lost possession cheaply to Williams on sixty-three minutes and subsequently brought the former Peterborough United man down thirty yards from goal. Williams took the free-kick quickly and played Maguire into space down the left, in behind the Team Bath defence. The former Torquay man failed to spot Bell arriving late at the far post and instead elected to shoot from a tight angle and drive the ball into the side-netting

Barrow was given a ticking off by the referee on sixty-five minutes as he pulled Jaukovic back after the Serbian striker had skipped past the Hednesford captain en route to goal

Northmore's quick goal kick out found Maye in space down the left, taking on Gibson with his pace and cutting back inside to lay the ball off to the incoming Carl Heiniger. The long-serving midfielder got a little too much behind his shot however and lifted his shot over the crossbar from just over twenty yards out

Team Bath substitute Caleb Kamara-Taylor showed good feet to turn past two challenges on seventy-one minutes and play the ball into the feet of Jaukoic, whose low shot was diverted behind for a corner kick by the heel of the covering Teesdale

Turner picked up a throw-in from Dean three minutes later and stood up a fine cross to the far post that was headed back across goal by McSweeney, only for Bell to narrowly miss the target as he could only get a toe to the ball as it skipped back across the face of goal

Northmore made a sprawling save at the feet of Bell with fifteen minutes of the game remaining, smothering the ball just a couple of yards inside his penalty area to deny the striker a hat-trick after Williams's through ball had played the youngster in

Three minutes later, Maguire's corner kick was headed just wide of the near post by Teesdale, who made a late dart into the six-yard box to meet the ball full-on from six yards out

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon with eight minutes of the game remaining as Beckett came on to play the remainder of the game down the left-wing in place of the tiring Turner

Marc Canham struck a first-time shot straight down the throat of Young two minutes later as fellow midfield man Heniniger fed the ball to him twenty-five yards from goal

At the other end, Bell's bobbling shot on the turn from eighteen yards out was claimed at the second attempt by Northmore, spilling the initial shot and having to recover the ball to stop Maguire from turning the rebound home

Bell was afforded generous applause by the appreciative home crowd as he was taken off with two minutes of the game remaining to give youngster Damien Charie a late run-out

It had been a fairly mundane second half that had suited the Pitmen, who had seen off the Team Bath challenge with relative ease to record successive home wins to add to last weekend's win over Bedford Town. This lifts them up to a mid-table place in the Southern Premier League and they will go into Bank Holiday Monday's trip to Stamford in confident mood as they look for back-to-back wins for the first time this season

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson, Dean, Barrow ©, Teesdale, Gray, Turner (Beckett 82), Williams, Bell (Charie 88), McSweeney, Maguire      Subs Unused: Berks, Antrobus, Evans

Team Bath: Northmore, Metitri, Townley, Nichols, Holland, Tisdale, Heiniger, Canham, Jaukovic, Reeves (Kamara-Taylor 62), Maye (Warner 70)      Subs Unused: Hudson, Long, Dembricki