1.3.2008

UniBond Northern Premier League

Whitby Town

Raw (43)

Hednesford Town

(1) 1

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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252

Sam Hall

L D D D L W L W W L

Gateshead (H) 15.3.08

Phil Starbuck admitted afterwards that that was probably it now for the Pitmen in their quest for the play-offs this season after defeat at struggling Whitby Town ended their recent run of form and any chance of catching any of the top five in the UniBond Premier League

 

There was one enforced change to the Hednesford side in midfield, where Chad Sheppard replaced the suspended Rob Davies. On the bench, there was a long-awaited return for Anthony Maguire after a long-term injury whilst there was a place amongst the substitutes winger Aaron Brown, recently released by Shrewsbury Town

The hosts were languishing in the bottom three of the table after a rotten run of recent form had seen the Seasiders lose their last six games to leave them staring at a brutal fight against the drop in the final two months of the season. Joint managers Phil Brumwell and Graeme Clarke made three changes to the side that had lost at league leaders Witton Albion last weekend as Ashley Lyth, Tom Raw and Anthony Ormerod came in for Dan Newby, loanee Alex Rhodes and Andy Thompson 

Ir was a bright but very breezy day on the North Yorkshire coast, with the wind whipping off the North Sea and swirling around the Turnbull Ground. Whitby won the toss and elected to play with the wind at their backs in the first period. They started with authority and felt that they should have been awarded a second-minute penalty as Karl Charlton felt that he was brought down by Ben Brown as the pair challenged for a pass from Danny Brunskill. Referee Mr Madley was unimpressed with the appeals and the game continued

The Pitmen replied through on-loan youngster Sam Hall, who lifted the ball onto the roof of the net with a looping cross-cum-shot as he made his way forwards done the right flank in the fifth minute

Rory May could have given the Pitmen the lead in the ninth minute, shooting weakly into the arms of Whitby goalkeeper David Campbell after Liam McDonald's deflected free-kick rebounded kindly into his path

Ross Dyer and veteran stopper Campbell clashed just inside the Whitby penalty area in the fifteenth minute as they both tried to claim a Sheppard pass, with the Whitby stopper coming off worst in the coming-together and needing a spell of attention from the Whitby physio. Dyer was spoken to by Mr Madley but was not shown a yellow card, despite many Whitby fans calling for the youngster to be punished for the challenge

Whitby's Andy Burton could have given the hosts the lead on twenty minutes but his firm shot sailed past Ben Scott's far post without troubling the Hednesford goalkeeper

May did well to head a good cross from the excellent Hall towards goal on twenty-three minutes but saw his effort sail over the bar and not overly trouble Campbell

McDonald should have scored his first goal for Hednesford three minutes later but somehow failed to find the net at the back post after May and Dyer had set him up, missing the ball with the goal at his mercy from close-range

A wayward shot from Sheppard failed to test Campbell on twenty-nine minutes after a run and pass from Mario Pedro had set up the former Birmingham City man

 

Pedro was also off-target sixty seconds later as he jinked his way into the Whitby penalty area and drifted past Lyth, only to lift his shot high over the crossbar and into the large netting behind the goal

Charlton's fine cross from a free-kick on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area found Tom Claisse lurking at the far post, only for the youngster's cross back across the face of the Hednesford goal to skip harmlessly wide with no one in blue able to get a touch

Hall and May linked up once again in a carbon copy of the chance from earlier, as Hall's fine inswinging cross from the right-hand side on thirty-five minutes was headed over the crossbar by the giant May

Campbell saved well from Pedro two minutes later before Whitby broke quickly down the left through Charlton; his fine through ball was latched onto by Brunskill, only for a late, late offside flag to deny Whitby's top scorer a free strike at goal

 

The hosts were to grab what was to prove to be the winning goal of the afternoon just two minutes before half-time; after failing to clear the ball fully from a set-piece, the Hednesford defence allowed the Brunskill to pick out Raw, who fired past Scott to give Whitby the lead on his first league start this season following a long injury lay-off due to a broken leg

Campbell denied McDonald an immediate equaliser in added time at the end of the first-half, clinging on to the ball at the second attempt after spilling the initial long-range shot from the Pitmen's winger

Rory May limped off at the half-time whistle and was required to be replaced at the start of the second period as Alan Nagington came on in his place up front

 

Despite the enforced change in personnel up front, the Pitmen continued to push on in search of an immediate equaliser. Ben Brown's header from a Pedro cross was narrowly wide of the far post just two minutes after the restart

Three minutes later, Wayne Dyer out-muscled Burton in midfield and sent namesake Ross down the right flank into space. The youngster took a touch and clipped the ball into the penalty area, where Nagington was beaten to the ball by Campbell to deny the former Leek man a tap-in at the near post

Despite the Pitmen's bright start to the second half, there was always an ever-present threat from the hosts on the break. On fifty-five minutes, Charlton should have put the hosts two goals to the good as he was played through by Raw, only to lift his shot over the crossbar from twelve yards out

Wayne Dyer was the first player to have his name taken by Mr Madley on the hour mark, incurring the wrath of the Yorkshire official after a poor challenge on Lyth down the Whitby right

Three minutes later, Claisse probably should have done better from a good position in the Hednesford penalty area as Charlton's cross was flicked into his path by Raw, only for the midfielder's shot to end up in the side-netting

The game's other key event came in the sixty-ninth minute as Scott left the Pitmen with it all to do as he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Raw; the Whitby man chased down a long ball from midfield down the right-wing, with Scott raced out of his goal to challenge and pole-axing Raw with a high tackle. Mr Madley had no other option but to show Scott a straight red card with Raw left in a heap on the floor by the corner flag, although Scott's unwillingness to leave the pitch irked the Whitby players and a bout of unpleasantness followed as Scott attempted to have it out with some of the home players. Once he had finally departed the pitch, the recently-returned Marshall donned the goalkeeper's jersey as an emergency goalkeeper with no substitute goalkeeper on the bench

Marshall was called upon to make a save just a couple of minutes later as he denied Claisse in unorthodox style with his legs after the Hednesford defence had let him run through on goal

With fifteen minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon as Aaron Brown was hanced his debut by Starbuck in place of the tiring McDonald

A minute later, Hall nearly got the ten men of Hednesford back on level terms once more as he let fly with a superb effort from twenty-five yards out that Campbell saw late and pushed away for a corner kick

With five minutes of the game remaining and the wind whipping up once more, Hall whipped in a free-kick that Campbell did well to hold as both Ross Dyer and Sheppard came flying in

In the first minute of added time, Whitby substitute Alex Rhodes was denied by Marshall as he tried his luck with a low shot that the stand-in stopper deflected away from his goal

A crucial three points for the hosts that sees them remain in the bottom three but very much still in touch with the clubs directly above them in the table. For the Pitmen, their mini-revival and any lingering hopes of a late play-off push are now over with this latest defeat, with Starbuck now having to now make a decision on his goalkeeping situation with Scott facing a three-match ban ahead of a home game against play-off chasing Gateshead in two weeks time

Whitby Town: Campbell, Lyth, Tobin, Claisse, Forster, Ormerod (Rhodes 90), Burton, Brumwell, Raw (Gildea 86), Brunskill, Charlton      Sub Unused: Garvie

Hednesford Town: Scott  (69), Hall, Adams, Sheppard, Marshall ©, B. Brown, Pedro, W. Dyer , May (Nagington 45), R. Dyer, McDonald (A. Brown 75)     Subs Unused: None

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