Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Airdrie (35), Lancashire (53)


Rowbotham (65), Phillips (75), (80), S. Browne (83) (penalty)

(0) 2

(0) 4



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Tom Griffiths



Stafford Town (H) 29.9.01

The Pitmen slumped to the foot of the Dr. Martens League table this afternoon after a highly depressing afternoon went from a potential three points to a heavy defeat in the matter of twenty minutes against Weymouth at Keys Park

Tuesday night had been another grim and depressing experience for the travelling Hednesford supporters who had witnessed local rivals Tamworth take their team apart in the second half to canter to a win at the Lamb and leave Paul Raynor's men only a point off the bottom of the table. Raynor made a number of changes to the side that had started in midweek as he brought Adam Shakespeare, Tom Griffiths and Stuart Lake into the side at the expense of Lenny Curtis, Michael Anderson and Paul Bagshaw; up front, there was a first start of the season for striker Neil Davis, who had finally shaken off a long-standing injury to come back into the side in place of the out-of-form Kevin Francis

Weymouth arrived at Keys Park for the first time ever off the back of their own defeat in midweek having gone down to 2-1 Bath City at Twerton Park on Tuesday night. Manager Andy Mason made one change to the side that had lost to Bath, bringing Alex Browne back into the side at the expense of Michael Dean as they looked to return to winning ways


Play started at a furious pace with the Pitmen closing Weymouth down and generally running the Terras ragged in the early stages of the game. Simon Browne headed a Neil Davis header off the line in the fourth minute of the game after Weymouth keeper Danny Potter had been caught in no-mans-land from a deep Stewart Airdrie cross to allow the striker to head the ball goalwards

Weymouth's first attack came three minutes later as Lee Philips feed full-back Mark Rawlinson down the right flank - he crossed to club great David Laws who got a run on Wayne Simpson but headed Rawlinson's cross narrowly wide

Davis looked fit and raring to go, chasing down lost causes at will and generally forcing Weymouth into quick action. In the fourteenth minute, he received a pass from Raynor just inside the Weymouth penalty area before unleashing a low shot that was easily gathered by Potter. Potter quickly threw the ball out to John Waldock who in turn played Matthew Hale down the left-wing unchallenged. His cross found Ian Hutchinson, whose flick-on was somehow blasted over from five yards by Rawlinson. A terrible miss from the forward when it looked easier to score


 Five minutes later, Mark Robinson turned the ball into the net from a Rawlinson ball but the assistant on the main stand side ruled raised his flag and the goal was disallowed

The Terras continued to have the better of the chances in the opening quarter of the game with Rawlinson robbing the ball off a dawdling Shakespeare on twenty-four minutes and crossing for Rowbotham, who headed over from eight yards out


A clever pass from Griffiths set Davis on his way on the half-hour mark as the striker burst through the Weymouth defence, only to be denied by a brilliant tackle from Alex Browne as the defender got across to block the striker's first-time effort

Graham Lancashire was the first man in the book for the Pitmen on thirty-two minutes for a foul on Hutchinson, only for the Terras to waste the ensuing free-kick and allow the Pitmen to break quickly through Griffiths. His pass played Lake in on goal, only for Potter to make a great one-handed save to deny the returning midfielder


The Pitmen edged themselves in front on thirty-five minutes in slightly controversial circumstances; Wood hacked an overhit back-pass from Lake off his own goal line and out for a Weymouth throw-in, despite protests from the away side that the ball had crossed the line. Whilst the Weymouth players were still remonstrating with referee Mr. Marriner, the Pitmen won the ball back and played Airdrie into space down the right. The winger jinked inside of Hale's challenge and unleashed a powerful angled drive from fifteen yards that gave Potter no chance


Back came the Terras, with Rowbotham clipping the outside of Wood's right-hand post four minutes later with an inswinging free-kick that had the Hednesford keeper beaten

The Pitmen had just about edged a fairly low-quality affair in the first period and were just about deserving of their lead at the break. Laws was forced off at the break with a rib injury and was replaced by Dean at the start of the second half

Potter was on his toes just a minute after the restart, punching clear a deep cross from Griffiths under his crossbar as Lancashire challenged him on his goal line

The Pitmen doubled their lead on fifty-three minutes through Lancashire, who nipped in behind the Weymouth defence to meet a Raynor free-kick and head home from close-range. The Weymouth defenders claimed offside against the former Rochdale man, but the goal was given after a brief consolation between Mr. Marriner and his assistant

With it all to do, Weymouth went close to getting themselves a foothold in the game on fifty-nine minutes through another Rowbotham free-kick, only for Wood to deny him with a fine save down to his right-hand side

The prolific former Torquay striker Phillips should have done better three minutes later as Hutchinson did well to turn Simpson and play the ball across the Hednesford penalty area to Phillips, only for the normally reliable striker to turn his shot wide from three yards out. Another poor miss from the visitors

They found a way back into the game on sixty-five minutes as Potter's long goal kick caught the Hednesford defence ball-watching, dropping to Rowbotham who did well to chipped the advancing Wood from the edge of the penalty area to reduce arrears

Suddenly, the Pitmen looked uneasy and started to make poor decisions on the ball as their defence started to crumble under growing pressure from a Weymouth side that sensed a comeback with twenty minutes left. On seventy-one minutes, Alex Browne rose well from a corner but his header hit the crossbar and came back into play. The ball was eventually recycled by Rawlinson, whose cross was turned straight into the arms of Wood by the head of Rowbotham

Two minutes later, Dean played Hale in down the left flank with a fine pass; Hales' cross the far post found the advancing Phillips, whose header was on target but was pushed over by Wood for a corner kick

Weymouth's pressure finally told with fifteen minutes remaining as the flaky Hednesford defence finally folded; Robinson crossed the ball to the awaiting Phillips who poked the ball under the body of the diving Wood from close-range to level matters once more

Before the game restarted, Francis was brought on in place of Raynor, who took himself off after receiving a yellow card for arguing with the referee about the build-up to Weymouth's equaliser

Francis's introduction certainly had an impact, albeit in a comical and negative way for the struggling hosts as he flattened team-mate Davis on seventy-eight minutes as the pair both went to meet a Griffiths cross


There looked like there was only going to be one winner at this stage, with Weymouth stealing into the lead and crushing the Pitmen's flaky resolve on eighty minutes; Hutchinson and Hale combined down the left flank with Hutchinson's cross from tight to the byline met by Phillips, who coolly slotted home from close range past a horribly exposed Wood


Weymouth completed the scoring and condemned the Pitmen to defeat with seven minutes remaining as Dean clipped a short ball through to Rawlinson in the penalty area that struck Lake's hand as the pair challenged for the ball. The referee pointed to the spot without hesitation, with Simon Browne sending Wood the wrong way from the resultant kick to make it 4-2

The referee ended the game early despite two minutes of added time being shown to further prevent any more embarrassment to the hosts, who were roundly booed off by their supporters at the end of the game after witnessing a terrible, depressing second-half performance from the hosts. Raynor is now under severe pressure from the fans to come up with a response quickly as they drop to the foot of the table and muster a performance from his under-performing squad. A potential banana skin for Raynor looms large for the Pitmen next weekend as Stafford Town make the very short journey to Keys Park in the second qualifying round of this year's F.A. Cup

Hednesford Town: Wood, Craven, Lucas ©, Simpson, Shakespeare, Lake, Airdrie, Raynor ▆ (Francis 75), Lancashire , Davis (Pickess 79), Griffiths      Subs Unused: Bagshaw

Weymouth: Potter, Rawlinson, Hale, A. Browne, Waldock, S. Browne, Robinson, Hutchinson, Rowbotham, Laws (Dean 45), Phillips        Subs Unused: Bastafield, Bews