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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League 

Tiverton Town

Cliff-Brown (9), Edwards (82)

Hednesford Town

Danks (61), (73), (penalty), McGhee (67)

(1) 2

(0) 3




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Mark Danks


Canvey Island (N) 23.5.04

The Pitmen's rollercoaster league season comes to a winning end this afternoon as they return from Devon with three points following a fine second half performance from Barry Powell's side at a sunny Tiverton Town

Tuesday night had seen Hednesford at their inconsistent best, playing well against Welling United but ultimately losing to a late goal which rubber stamped their relegation to the new Southern Premier League next season. Powell had warned the players in the press this week that their places in the squad for the F.A. Trophy Final were still up for grabs and that no-one was guaranteed a place in his team for the Villa Park spectacle against Canvey Island in three weeks time. There were three changes to the side that had been beaten in their final home game of the campaign in midweek, with Ryan Young once again ruled out due to injury and was replaced by Paul Evans. Hereford United loanee Jordan King also returned to the side as Steve Palmer's three match suspension started, meaning he will miss the Trophy final as part of his suspension. Lee Barrow was the third change as he replaced Darren Simkin at centre-back. Chris Brindley missed out after failing a fitness test and will be given as long as possible to recover ahead of the game against Canvey

Tiverton's season came down to the final day of the season with the Yellows still having a chance to sneak into the top thirteen dependent on their result against the Pitmen and other results going their way. Long-serving manager Martyn Rogers kept faith in the same side that had started their previous game, an incredible 6-4 defeat away at Cambridge City last weekend as there Yellows went in search of that crucial three points to seal their place in the top thirteen

An assertive start from the home side saw them push the Pitmen back in the early stages of the game and went close to opening the scoring in the third minute as Paul Chenoweth's cross was turned over the crossbar by David Steele, who was given too much time to hit his first time effort over from ten yards out

Hednesford seemed content to soak up the early Tiverton pressure and catch them on the break, using the pace of Danny McGhee and Chris Gray out wide to support Mark Danks and Steve Anthrobus

And yet, it was the home side who did open the scoring in the ninth minute of the game as their early pressure told; Steve Winter floated in a free-kick from the right that found Carl Cliff-Brown lurking on the corner of the six-yard box, with the striker volleying into the roof of Evans's net from close range to give Tiverton an important lead

The game was halted for an extended spell on fourteen minutes as both Mark Danks and Rob Cousins received treatment for a nasty-looking clash of heads between the pair in midfield

Danks created an opening for himself four minutes later as he turned Cousins well on the edge of the Tiverton penalty area and tried his luck with a cross-shot that Stuart Fraser in the Tiverton goal palmed away from danger. Nathan Rudge completed the clearance as he hacked the loose ball clear under pressure from Anthrobus

Paul Evans did well to claim a dipping, swerving free-kick from Chenoweth on twenty-one minutes, keeping his eye on the ball to pluck it out of the air with ease. News was filtering through to the home supporters that results at Chelmsford and Newport were going in their favour and was transmitted to the players and management for inspiration

Gray was the first player in the book on twenty-three minutes for a crude foul on Winter as the pair chased after a ball down the Tiverton right flank, earning the winger a yellow card and irking the large, expectant home crowd in the process

On the half hour mark, a corner kick from Chenoweth found Cliff-Brown lurking once more only for the striker to turn his effort straight into the grateful arms of rookie keeper Evans from close range

Two minutes later, Steve Ovens went agonisingly close to doubling the home side's lead as he latched on to Steele's long throw and turned his shot inches wide of the near post from ten yards out under very little pressure from the Hednesford defence

McGhee sent a bobbling shot wide of goal for the Pitmen on thirty-six minutes after he had robbed Jason Rees of the ball on the edge of the Tiverton penalty area with what was to be the Pitmen's best chance of a hesitant first-half display

A great challenge from Stuart Ryder denied Ovens a clear shot at goal on fifty minutes, nicking the ball off the striker's feet as he looked to turn a cross from Jamie Mudge

The hosts should really have been going in at half-time two goals to the good as Mudge fluffed his lines with a glorious chance on fifty-four minutes; played clean through on goal by Kevin Nancekivell, Mudge took the ball into the Hednesford penalty area and elected to shoot from an angle rather than return the ball to Nancekivell, who was free and unmarked in front of goal, and drove his shot wide of the far post

In the six minutes of adding time, Danks did well to cut inside from the left and beat Winter before unleashing a shot from an angle that Fraser pushed away before Steele completed the clearance

It had been an uninspiring first half display from Powell's men, who had looked more interested in trying to keeping the game as tight as possible rather than offer any form of attacking threat. Powell got in amongst his players at the break and sent them out with a more positive mindset at the start of the second half

Danks linked up well with McGhee well on fifty-one minutes to send Les Hines into space down the left wing, creating room for the former Halesowen man to send over a fine cross that was headed away by Rees under pressure from Anthrobus inside the Tiverton six yard box

Three minutes later, Carl Palmer did well to win the ball off Cousins in midfield and feed King, whose through ball played Danks into the Tiverton penalty area. Danks turned well and scoped the ball back into the path of Gray, whose shot flashed wide of goal

Tiverton were limited to sporadic breaks on the counter attack through the likes of Chenoweth and Cliff-Brown, but found the Hednesford defence of Ryder and Barrow in good form at the back for the Pitmen

The Pitmen were rewarded for their positive approach to the second half with an equaliser on sixty-one minutes. Hines sent over a free-kick that was returned to him by the head of Nathan Rudge, with Hines crossing to the far post which was nodded into the net by Danks from close range for his milestone twentieth goal of the season. It was a double whammy of a blow to Tiverton's ambitions as news came through of an Eastbourne Borough equaliser at Newport to push them out of the top thirteen at this point

Suddenly buoyed by the goal, Hednesford went in search of a second goal as they threw caution to the wind and went for it in the final half hour of the season. Anthrobus headed a Hines corner kick back across goal on sixty-four minutes, only for Ryder to miss the ball at the far post by a matter of inches as he tried to turn the ball home

Three minutes later, McGhee was involved again as he made a mazy run down the left before cutting inside and drilling a shot into the far corner of the net past the despairing dive of Fraser to put the away side ahead for the first time in a topsy-turvy encounter

The Pitmen were well on top of proceedings and struck again on seventy-three minutes as they were awarded a penalty kick by referee Mr. Spence as Rudge brought down a rampant Danks as he made a run into the Tiverton penalty area. Danks dusted himself down to take the resultant kick and fired confidently past Fraser from twelve yards out for his twenty-fuirst goal of the season

Powell looked to protect his team's two goal advantage with twelve minutes remaining as Ryder - struggling for match fitness - was taken off in favour of Simkin at centre-back

Tiverton gave themselves a glimmer of hope as they reduced the deficit on eighty-two minutes through substitute Darren Edwards, who turned a Nancekivell cross home from close range after the Pitmen had switch off momentarily once more at the back

Suddenly the momentum was back with the hosts in a frantic final five minutes of the game, as Edwards was sent clear by a Winter through ball on eighty-six minutes, only for Barrow to make a late covering tackle to deny Edwards a shot at goal

On eighty-seven minutes, Steve Evans came on in place of the impressive McGhee as the youngster started to show signs of a lack of match fitness after a spell out of the side recently

Two minutes later, a corner kick from Chenoweth found the head of the substitute once more, only for Edwards to head inches wide of the far post as he met the ball unchallenged at the far post

In added time, Tiverton threw everything at their opponents but found Simkin and Barrow in commanding form as a sequence of set-pieces from the Yellows failed to find them a late equaliser. News filtered through of results going against Tiverton in the other games, consigning them to the lottery of the play-offs as they continued to search for a route into Conference Two next term

It was a spirited end to a dreadful league campaign for the Pitmen, who, after being relegated from step one in 2001 are booted down to step three after just three years back a step two. The players have given Powell food for thought when it comes to his selection for the F.A. Trophy Final, with a clutch of players impressing today and playing themselves into contention for the forthcoming game

Tiverton Town: Fraser, Winter, Steele (Goff 76), Rees, (Edwards 74), Rudge, Cousins, Nancekivell, Ovens, Cliff-Brown, Chenoweth , Mudge (Holloway 60)      Subs Unused: Conning, Nott

Hednesford Town: P. Evans, Adams, Hines, King, Ryder (Simkin 78), BarrowC. Palmer, McGhee (S. Evans 87), Anthrobus ©, Danks, Gray       Subs Unused: Maguire, Piearce, Young

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