Dr. Martens Southern Premier League


Hednesford Town

Rae (35), Lake (60), Lucas (68) (penalty), Airdrie (70)

(0) 0

(1) 4



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Stuart Lake



Newport County (H) 25.3.02

Just a week after producing arguably their worst performance of the season, the Pitmen finally show some ruthless finishing in front of goal to hammer ten-men Weymouth this afternoon at the Wessex Stadium and give them some valuable breathing space in their fight against relegation


Three successive defeats in the league had left Kenny Hibbitt's side once again staring at the very real possibility of back-to-back relegations with only eight games remaining this term and time running out for the Pitmen to escape the bottom three. Hibbitt had given his side a rocket after Saturday's dreadful performance at fellow struggler Merthyr Tydfil, placing several players on the transfer list after losing patience with a number of his under-performing players. For this afternoon's game, Hibbitt made two changes to the side that had started at Pennydarrern Park with Matt Gardiner and Wale Kwik-Ajet coming in at the expense of Ashley Williams and Leon Brown. Hibbitt brought Wayne Thomas back into the squad after the former Walsall man had missed a number of recent games injured


Weymouth had spent most of the season mired in mid-table, despite player/manager Andy Mason assembling a good step two squad for the rigours of the Dr. Martens Premier League over the course of the season. Mason made one change to his Terras side that had narrowly lost at Havant & Waterlooville a week last Tuesday as Danny Bews came in for Alex Browne in defence as they looked to get themselves back to winning ways and consolidate their place in the top ten of the league


With the sun out at the Wessex Stadium and a good crowd in attendance, the Pitmen - who had a strong wind behind their backs in the first period - looked to make a strong start to the game as Richard Lucas's third-minute corner kick was headed straight into the path of Stuart Lake by Ryan Cross, only for the in-form Hednesford midfielder to toe-poke his effort wide from eight yards out


Wayne Simpson went close for the men in white two minutes later, drilling a low shot just wide of the far post after Derek Rae had slipped the ball into the veteran's path just on the egde of the Weymouth penalty area


A frantic first few minutes for the Pitmen going forwards saw Lee Barrow's header smuggled off the line by Weymouth a minute later before Rae drove the rebound inches wide of the post with a first-time effort from the around the penalty spot


Weymouth's first effort of the afternoon came in the eighth minute as Michael Dean attempted an ambitious shot from long-range after spotting Mark Gayle off his line, only to clip his effort well wide of goal and into the Weymouth supporters behind the goal


A great run from Kevin Parker down the left flank saw him jink his way past Mark Haran a minute later before the former Emley defender brought the player down with a crude two-footed challenge. Referee Mr Humphrey took a lenient view on this and lectured the former Hednesford skipper but did not show him a card, despite calls to do so from both Weymouth's officials and supporters


In the twelfth minute, Weymouth's Ian Hutchinson should have opened the scoring after a great interchange play between Cross and Dean set up Hutchinson in the six-yard box, but his shot was inches wide of Gayle's near post


The hosts were struggling to turn their possession into meaningful chances in the opening quarter of the game as the Pitmen stood firm at the back and played on the counter-attack through the pace of Stewart Airdrie and Ajet. One such run from Airdrie on fifteen minutes saw him cut in from the right flank and cross for Neil Davis, who was a matter of inches away from tapping the ball home at the far post but just missed the ball as it flashed across the face of goal


Weymouth keeper Paul Payne made a good stop to deny Simpson on twenty-two minutes, spreading himself to push the utility man's shot away from danger for a Hednesford corner kick, which was subsequently headed well over the crossbar by Lake


Hutchinson was wasteful for the hosts on twenty-five minutes as he elected to shoot from a narrow angle, rather than cross for the incoming Parker at the far post, and drove his effort straight into the side-netting. The restless supporters behind the goal let him know their thoughts on the matter in no uncertain terms as Gayle spotted up a goal kick

The turning point in a low-quality encounter came with half an hour on the clock as a speculative lob upfield from Lake found Davis, whose run past Cross prompted the former Dorchester player to haul the Pitmen's top scorer to the ground. Mr Humphrey had no hesitation in showing Cross 
a straight red card and sending him off as he was the last man

With the man advantage, the Pitmen took the lead five minutes later as Gardiner's slide-rule pass found Rae in behind the Weymouth defence - the midfielder coolly slotted past the advancing Payne from close-range, despite calls from the Terras back line that Rae was offside when he received the ball

Weymouth's ten men almost got themselves level once more on forty minutes as Hutchinson worked his way into the box and unleashed a rising shot that Gayle managed to claw away at his near post for a Terras corner. The resultant corner was played to Dean, who spotted Gayle off his line and attempted a lob over the head of the keeper that had Gayle scrambling back to tip the ball over from underneath his crossbar


Despite being ahead at the break, the Pitmen had looked a little unconvincing against the ten men of the hosts and made a few tactical tweaks to their set-up at half-time to allow to play more assertively. Simpson was forced off at the break due to another injury niggle and was replaced by Andy Brownrigg at the base of the midfield. Weymouth made a tactical change of their own at the break as the hapless Bews was replaced by Dave Newland


Weymouth's Mark Robinson struck an early effort at goal for the hosts on fifty-one minutes as his shot from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area was beaten away by Gayle once more before Lake completed the clearance


The Pitmen doubled their lead on the hour mark after a period of pressure in and around the Weymouth penalty area as an inswinging Airdrie corner was guided into the net by Lake at the near post for his second goal in two games


Weymouth seemed to lose confidence and focus after conceding this goal as passes started to go astray and chances dried up. Davis was denied a clear shot at goal by Simon Browne on sixty-three minutes as his first-time shot was blocked by the covering Weymouth defender


Davis was left frustrated once more a minute later as a late, late offside flag on the main stand side of the pitch denied the former Aston Villa man a shot at goal as he raced clear of the Weymouth defence 


John Waldock was rightly booked for the hosts on sixty-three minutes for a dreadful foul on Ajet after the striker had skipped past him to the left of the Weymouth penalty area

 Two minutes later, Mr Humphrey somehow failed to replicate this as Gardiner's late challenge on Hutchinson saw the referee wave away Weymouth's protests for a card and only award them a free-kick


The Pitmen were handed the chance to put the game beyond their hosts on sixty-eight minutes as substitute Newland scythed Rae down in the penalty area after a neat passing move from the Pitmen played the Scotsman in on goal. Mr Humphrey awarded the visitors a spot-kick and booked Newland for the late tackle, which Lucas dispatched confidently to make it 3-0 to the Pitmen

Much of the home crowd had seen enough and venting their anger at Mason and the chairman, as the Wessex Stadium began to empty of disgruntled Weymouth supporters


The scoring was completed by the Pitmen on seventy-three minutes as Ajet's acrobatic overhead kick was headed home by Airdrie at the far post with a diving header. Once again, the Terras defence appealed for offside in vain and the goal stood


The visitors could afford to take their foot off the gas in the remaining twenty minutes of the game and brought on Thomas before the restart for Lake, who was afforded a standing ovation by the away supporters after another fine display


The Pitmen made their final change of the afternoon with twelve minutes remaining as Brown replaced the hard-running Ajet up front to play alongside Davis once more


 Thomas's through ball to Airdrie found the winger in space down the right flank with four minutes remaining, only for his cross to be palmed away from danger by Payne as Davis challenged him


Both sides seemed resigned to the result in the final minutes as the Pitmen confidently saw out the remainder of the game to claim a crucial three points in their quest for safety. With Newport (Isle of Wight) winning and Merthyr Tydfil losing, it was a key win for Hibbitt's side as they kept themselves just out of the bottom three. Monday night sees the Pitmen back at Keys Park to face Newport County as they look to build upon this morale-boosting win 


Weymouth: Payne, Rawlinson, Bews (Newland 45 ), S. Browne, Waldock , Cross ▆ (30), Robinson (Fitch 80), Hutchinson, Rowbotham, Parker (Walker 85), Dean       Subs Unused: None


Hednesford Town: Gayle, Lake (Thomas 73), Lucas, Haran ©, Gardiner, Barrow, Simpson (Brownrigg 45), Rae, Davis, Ajet (Brown 78), Airdrie      Subs Unused: None