Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Tiverton Town

Lynch (26), Nancekivell (81) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

Piearce (57)

(1) 2


(0) 1



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Les Robinson


Hucknall Town (H) 28.9.02

Despite a spirited performance, the Pitmen were cruelly denied a point at a sunny Tiverton thanks to a controversial refereeing decision nine minutes from time, denying Ian Painter's men the chance to move closer to league leaders Worcester City and ending their four-game unbeaten league run in the process


 It was 'as you were' for the Pitmen apart from full-back Darren Simkin, who was replaced by youngster Ashley Williams after pulling up with an injury in Tuesday night's draw at local rivals Stafford Rangers. Derek Rae returned to the substitute's bench after successfully recovering from a thigh strain


Tiverton's impressive start to the season had seen the Devon club move into fifth place in the Dr. Martens League table ahead of play, although their last two games had seen poor performances against Halesowen Town and Grantham Town, only yielding a point against the Yeltz on Tuesday night. The influential Jason Rees missed the game due to an injury picked up at Halesowen, whilst manager Martyn Rogers was also without defender Luke Vinnicombe after he had broken his tibia and fibula in the defeat at home to Grantham


It was a hazy afternoon at Ladysmead, with the Pitmen backed by another healthy away following behind the goal as Hednesford looked to continue their fine form in the league that had seen them go five games without defeat. An early free-kick from Carl Adams drifted out of play at the far post in the fourth minute, with no-one in white showing enough conviction to attack the superbly-delivered ball from the midfielder


 The first real chance of the match came on twelve minutes when Paul Ware latched onto a superb Mark Jones pass but fired just wide of the post with one of his trademark long-range piledrivers from twenty-five yards out

Tiverton came back into the game, playing some neat, tidy football in midfield but found the experienced Hednesford defence a tough nut to crack, with new skipper Les Robinson having a fine game alongside Chris Brindley


 Williams demonstrated his outstanding ability on twenty minutes, chasing back to dispossess Tiverton danger man Kevin Nancekivell after a pass from Anthony Lynch had played the forward in behind the Hednesford defence for the first time


The hosts stole into the lead against the run of play on twenty-six minutes, with Paul Chenoweth's long, raking ball sailing over the head of Richard Lucas and finding the boot of Lynch, who had escaped the full-back's attention momentarily. Lynch took the ball into the penalty area, and despite having options in the middle, thundered a shot beyond Gayle from an angle for his second goal of the season

Painter was clearly frustrated at the Pitmen not taking their chances in a game they had previously been on top of and immediately changed things around; Brindley was ordered to play up front with Steve Piearce and Mark Jones as the pair were being outmuscled by the Tiverton defence 


It was Tiverton who went close to adding to their tally on thirty-one minutes, as forward Scott Rogers volleyed wide of goal following a fine ball from Nancekivell


The visitors threatened from successive corner kicks on thirty-five minutes, with Robinson failing to turn a bobbling ball home after Adams' second flag kick as Tiverton managed to clear their lines in time


 Another Adams corner on forty-one minutes found the head of Brindley, who knocked the ball down into the path of Jones. The out-of-form striker failed to hit the target as he snatched at the chance and drilled the ball wide of goal


Tiverton's Steve Winter tried his luck with a long-range effort on forty-three minutes, as the full-back made a roaming move forwards before lashing a low shot wide of Gayle's left-hand post


This was to be the end of Jones's game, as the disappointing striker was taken off at half-time in favour of former Walsall centre-back Stuart Ryder in a move that saw Brindley remain up front alongside Piearce and allow Ryder to take his place alongside Robinson in defence for the second half


The Pitmen came out for the second half with purpose, with Wray having a glorious opportunity to level the scores on forty-eight minute; silky skills from the winger saw him slip past his marker after Adams had laid the ball off to him on the edge of the penalty area, but his finish lacked finesse as he drove wide of goal from a good position fifteen yards out


The Pitmen got the goal that their efforts deserved on fifty-seven minutes, as Piearce continued his recent fine form in front of goal with an opportunist's goal to level matters. Piearce and Steve Peters chased onto a long ball forwards, with Peters poking the ball back towards keeper Paul Edwards. However, his backpass lacked enough power, with Piearce pouncing on the short ball and poking past the advancing Edwards to equalise for the Pitmen


Jamie Mudge went close to handing Tiverton the lead once more on sixty-two minutes, glancing a free-kick from Winter just wide of goal after he had stolen a march on Ryder inside the six-yard box


A swift counter-attack from the hosts four minutes later saw Rogers dummy a Chenoweth pass into the path of Nancekivell, who forced Gayle into a save with his legs after he had broken through the Hednesford back line


Brindley was winning everything in the air against Nathan Rudge and Rob Cousins, and nudged the ball down into the path of Paul Ware on seventy-one minutes, only for Ware's powerfully-struck effort to be deflected out for a corner kick by Rudge


The Pitmen made a bold double change with fourteen minutes remaining, bringing on Rae and Stewart Airdrie in place of Adams and Wray respectively as Painter made like-for-like substitutions

 With nine minutes remaining, the game was turned on its head with a controversial refereeing decision that was to cost the Pitmen at least a point; a deep ball into the box from the Tiverton's Steve Ovens appeared to strike the hand of Lake, who on first viewing looked as though he had been pushed into the path of the ball by Phil Everett. The referee consulted with his assistant on the far side, who had not flagged initially and eventually pointed to the spot, despite Lake's protests. Nancekivell stepped up to send Mark Gayle the wrong way and put the hosts back into the lead


The Pitmen threw everything at Tiverton in the closing few minutes, with Brindley's header clearing the crossbar and Piearce's low driven effort saved by Edwards at his near post. In added time, Lake fired narrowly wide from a narrow angle following a Ware free-kick


It had been a frustrating afternoon for the Pitmen and their supporters, who will feel a little aggrieved at a defeat they did not deserve for their efforts. The Pitmen remain in the top five of the league table despite their second defeat of the campaign and take a break from league duty next weekend when they entertain Hucknall Town in the F.A. Cup


Tiverton Town: Edwards, Winter,  Haines, Peters, Rudge ©, Cousins, Chenoweth (Steele 55), Nancekivell, Everett (Mudge 72), Rogers, Lynch (Ovens 72)     Subs Unused: Pears, Rees

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Williams, Lucas, Robinson ©, Brindley, Lake, Wray (Airdrie 76), Ware, Piearce, Jones (Ryder 45), Adams (Rae 76)      Subs Unused: Simpson, Jenkins