Zamaretto Southern Premier League

Tiverton Town

Hednesford Town

Durrell (35), Dyer (78)

(0) 0

(1) 2



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Aaron Gibson


Didcot Town (H) 27.2.10

The Pitmen's recent run of good form continued today as they completed a league double over Tiverton Town with consummate ease at a crisp but bright Ladysmead. The win takes Hednesford back into the top half of the table and keeps their slim play-off hopes alive

Manager Bernard McNally, clearly looking to stabilise the club after its tumultuous past few months, selected the same XI that had beaten Clevedon Town so handsomely the previous week, with Cheyenne Dunkley given a more attacking role than usual in midfield and Ben Bailey resuming defensive duties after a spell further forwards

Hosts Tiverton had failed to win any of their past four games in all competitions, leaving the Yellows only three points above the relegation zone in seventeenth place in the league table. Legendary manager Martyn Rogers made.. changes to the side that had drawn with fellow strugglers Didcot Town last weekend as Alex Faux, Sam Malsom and Richard Groves replaced Jake Wannell, Nathan Rudge and Mark Saunders respectively

The Pitmen started in a bright manner, and former captain Ross Dyer could have given the visitors an early breakthrough inside the first five minutes. In typical Dyer style, he turned neatly past two defenders on the edge of the area before firing in a shot that was well saved by the vastly experienced Steve Book in the Tiverton goal

The Pitmen continued to press with Elliott Durrell in the kind of mood to create havoc, making runs all over the pitch in an attempt to get more of the ball. His eighth-minute shot failed to test Book, despite being well placed just inside the area to pick up Josh Craddock's ball

Tiverton had failed to get out of the blocks in the first quarter of an hour, with Stuart Brock enjoying a quiet afternoon thus far. The solid-looking defence in front of him, with Gomes yet again composed and confident, must be a huge boost to the experienced stopper after a number of shaky performances from centre-halves this term

Both Dunkley and Durrell incurred the wrath of referee Mr Bull, with the duo going into the book for petty fouls within two minutes of each other as both sides gave as good as they got

Top scorer Tyrone Barnett, looking to continue his white-hot form in front of goal in recent weeks, tested Book's reflexes on nineteen minutes, getting on the end of Aaron Gibson's teasing cross but heading straight into the arms of Book, who was well placed

The Pitmen's relentless pressure finally told mid-way through the half, when Durrell won a penalty for the Pitmen; his scampering run into the area was halted by Tiverton defender Tom Gardner, who tripped the Hednesford man as he shaped to shoot. With the large Hednesford contingent behind the goal baying for both a spot-kick and a red card for Gardner, the referee simply awarded a spot-kick; after consulting the assistant on the far side, he declined to hand out a card of any description. this decision infuriated the Hednesford players and fans, in what was yet another example of inconsistency amongst officials at step three level

Surprisingly, skipper Sean Platt picked up the ball ahead of established takers Dyer and Durrell - and probably wished he hadn't, as his weak kick to Book's right was easily turned around the post by the former Cheltenham man

The missed penalty failed to dent the Pitmen's spirit or flow, and they soon got the goal that their efforts deserved ten minutes before half time. Craddock, playing well in the centre of midfield, played a wonderful through ball to Durrell, who got away from his marker to the left of the penalty area. he composed himself, before firing confidently past the advancing Book from ten yards out

Tiverton will have been disappointed at the lack of creativity in what was a static first half for them, with the hosts failing to chalk up a single shot on goal, never mind one to test Brock

The second half started in much the same way as the first half had ended, with the Pitmen continuing to exert their authority on the game through their powerful youngsters. Indeed, the starting XI's average age was a mere 21.8 years old, surely one of the youngest sides the club has ever sent out into action

Four minutes after the restart, Barnett was again involved, spinning away from his marker but again finding Book equal to his effort with a smart save low down

Dyer should have ended his mini-drought with what seemed a straightforward header on fifty-one minutes, getting on the end of a flick-on from Barnett at the far post, but headed over the bar and into the Hednesford supporters

Despite Tiverton's lack of penetration, there was always a feeling that one-nil may not be enough amongst the Hednesford supporters. And with the chances they continued to waste, there was an ever-present threat that the Pitmen could throw away another potential win, much as they did at Banbury before Christmas

Dyer could have wrapped things up with a swashbuckling run on the hour mark, getting away from his man but getting his shot all wrong, merely firing wide of goal

On came Zak Martin for the impressive Gibson in a like-for-like swap at left-back, closely followed by another change that saw Gomes brought off and Sam Adkins brought on in midfield

However, before that change took place, the Pitmen sealed the win with a killer second goal twelve minutes from time. Durrell was once again the architect, making a probing run down the Hednesford right, before cutting in past Tivvy's Alex Faux and laying the ball off to Dyer in the centre, who had the simple task of sidefooting past Book from six yards out

Hednesford seemed at ease in the final ten minutes, taking their foot off the pedal and allowing Tiverton more of the ball. But still the home side failed to make Brock work, with the Hednesford number one only ever involved in fielding a back pass or taking a goal kick

The game's final action could potentially have had serious consequences for the Pitmen, as Durrell was stretchered off in the final minute after a clash in the middle of the park. After three or four minutes on the deck, Durrell was carried off, but on later inspection, the ankle injury proved to be thankfully not as serious as first though

And so McNally's men march to a third win in four games, which now puts them nine points away from a play-off place. To make a late dash for one of those four positions, it will require a number of good performances such as this for the club to stand a chance. With two home games to come this week against Stourbridge and Didcot Town, it's a good base to build upon

Tiverton Town: Book, Groves (Mortimer 70), Alex Faux , Booth, Adam Faux, Gardner, Collier, Marshall, Bushin, Malsom (Pears 70), Frear (Saunders 45)       Subs Unused: Rudge, Wannell

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt ©, Gibson (Martin 78), Bailey, Francis, Gomes (Adkins 81), Durrell ▆ (Proffitt 82), Craddock, Barnett, Dyer, Dunkley ▆        Subs Unused: Chapman, Flynn

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