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Dr. Martens Southern Premier League


Hednesford Town

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Mark Gayle


Hinckley United (H) 9.9.02

The Pitmen earned a useful point after a tedious goalless draw against Weymouth down on the south coast to remain in contention towards the top of the Southern Premier League table 

 Monday night's fine win over league leaders Grantham Town saw the Pitmen move up into third place in the Dr. Martens League table as their early season form continued with another well-earned win. Manager Ian Painter's starting line-up for today's game saw one enforced change with striker Steve Piearce coming in for the injured Kevin Francis and one tactical change in midfield with the experienced Paul Ware return to the starting XI in place of defender Wayne Simpson

Weymouth's season to date had been one of inconsistency, with the Terra sitting in fourteenth place in the table at the start of play following successice league defeats to Grantham and Chippenham Town. Manager Geoff Butler had been left frustrated with his side's inability to turn good positions into points, despite having one of the league's finest strikers in Lee Phillips up front. Butler had moved this week to bring in utility man Chris Giles on loan from Yeovil Town after losing the experienced David Laws to Eastleigh recently

 On a dull afternoon in Dorset saw a quiet opening spell to the game, with neither side really create a tremendous amount of chances in the opening fifteen minutes. Piearce heading way, way wide of goal from a Carl Adams free kick on nine minutes, beating the Weymouth defence to an inswining ball but glancing horribly wide of goal

Three minutes later, Ware drove a long-range shot at goal that rose high and wide of Jason Matthews' upright after the former Stoke man had won the ball back thirty yards from goal

Weymouth's response came through Phillips on sixteen minutes, dragging his shot well wide of goal after a pass from from Ryan Ashford had played the Weymouth danger man in behind the Hednesford defence

A minute later, Mark Gayle made a fine save to deny Ashford from a free-kick, turning the midfielder's goalbound shot away from goal with a confident save to his right to concede a corner in the process

A long, aimless ball from Darren Simkin almost created a chance for the visitors on twenty-three minutes, with skipper Alex Browne doing well to hold off Piearce and see it back to Matthews as the ball held up in the wind and invited the striker to attck the ball

Simkin was indebted to Gayle on twenty-eight minutes, as the keeper did brilliantly to save a Giles shot after the on-loan man had seized upn a weak backwards bheader from the full-back to nip in on goal and strike a shot that Gayle was equal to 

 The Pitmen continued to grew in confidence and squandered two glorious opportunities to take the lead within a few minutes of each other on the half hour, both from the boot of birthday boy Mark Jones. Firstly, he managed to blast a shot over the bar after being set up by Shaun Wray on thirty two minutes, somehow failing to test Matthews from close range with a wild effort. Jones then fired in a tame shot straight at Matthews from a route one ball from Gayle five minutes later after getting goal side of Alex Browne for the first time in the afternoon

Neat link-up play from the hosts on thirty-eight minutes saw Phillips and Ashford link up again down the right flank, before Ashford's cross was turned wide at the far post by the onrushing Martin Barlow, who had got the better of Simkin by getting goal side of the former Wolves man

 Midfield man Derek Rae felt he should have had a penalty just before the break when he appeared to be fouled in the area by Alex Browne as he broke into the penalty area, but the referee waved away any protests from the Hednesford players and the game continued despite Rae's insistence that he had been fouled by the Weymouth skipper 

 Gayle was involved againin the early stages of the second half as he made a fine save to deny Steve Tully on fifty minutes by turning his shot around the post from close-range

Weymouth were far more of a threat follwing their half-time team talk from Butler, with Phillips heading over the crossbar on fifty-five minutes from an Ashford free-kick out wide on the right wing

Alex Browne fired in a long-range shot that Gayle was right behind on the hour mark, with the defender's firm low drive well fielded by the experienced stopper who showed excellent positional sense to get behind the ball

A rare foray into the Weymouth half for the Pitmen in the second period saw Jones hitting the side netting with a weak effort at goal from a tight angle after Wray's wing play had played the striker in behind the well-marshalled Weymouth defence on sixty-five minutes

The Pitmen made their first substitution of the afternoon on sixty-eight minutes, with Rae replaced by Simpson in defensive midfield as the away side appeared to look to hold onto the point at this point

Giles, Phillips and Ashford did well to play the ball around the Hednesford defence on seventy-three minutes, but a rare lack of composure in front of goal from Phillips saw him fire well wide of Gayle's goal

A swerving free-kick from Adams evaded all players in white on seventy-nine minutes as it flashed across the face of the Weymouth goal, with Matthews beaten by the pace of Adams' delivery from the left

With ten minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon, with Stewart Airdrie coming on for Wray in a like-for-like switch down the wing

The Terras looked more likely to win it as the game entered it's final stages, with Giles beating the Hednesford defence to an Ashford corner with his head, but Gayle was once again there to deny the Weymouth man

With five minutes remaining, youngster Damien Charie replaced the hard-working Jones up front in what was Painter's final change of the afternoon

With the game drifting to a dull conclusion, the hosts had a great chance to win the game in added time as a lofted cross from Ashford found the head of Tully, whose header back across the face of the Hednesford goal bounced across the six-yard box and somehow failed to be turned home by a player in claret and blue before being hacked clear by Chris Brindley 

A useful point won for the visitors which keeps the Pitmen in fourth place this evening in the Dr. Martens Premier League after this afternoon's round of games. Many sides will visit Weymouth this term and come away with nothing having had the lion's share of the chances over ninety minutes. The Pitmen return to Keys Park with a game against struggling Hinckley United on Monday night, looking to return to winning ways

Weymouth: Matthews, Tully (Bradford 70), S. Browne, A. Browne ©, Kenway, Rawlinson (Dean 76), Sajic (Robinson 80), Ashford, Barlow, Giles, Phillips       Subs Unused: Hutchinson, Gadsby


Hednesford Town: Gayle, Simkin, Lucas ©, Robinson, Brindley, Adams, Wray (Airdrie 80), Ware, Piearce, Jones (Charie 85), Rae (Simpson 68)   Subs Unused: Ryder, Jenkins

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