UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Whitby Town

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Ross Dyer


Guiseley (A) 5.4.08

 The Pitmen's run of successive wins was brought to a frustrating halt this evening, as a defensive Whitby Town side made the long journey from the North-East to claim a point at Keys Park


Manager Phil Starbuck opted to stick with the same XI that had recorded back-to-back wins on Saturday at Stamford, despite the late cameo appearances from David Brown and Mario Pedro tipping the game in the Pitmen's favour and giving the gaffer a potential selection headache

Relegation-threatened Whitby arrived at Keys Park off the back of successive 4-1 wins to lift them up to eighteenth place in the league table and a point above the drop zone. The Seasiders management team of Phil Brumwell and Graeme Clarke made three changes to the side that had beaten Worksop Town at the weekend as Kevin Burgess, Tom Claisse and Tom Raw replaced Andy Burton, Chris Scott and Sam Garvie respectively

In the very first minute of the game, the Pitmen went straight onto the offensive and created an opening for top scorer Ross Dyer as he got on the end of a Chad Sheppard cross into the danger zone, only for his goalbound header to be cleared by Burgess away for a Hednesford corner kick

The Pitmen's second good opportunity also fell to Dyer in the sixth minute as he ran onto a Ross Adams through ball and took the ball around Whitby keeper Mark Bell. His effort, however, was put into the side netting as he was forced wide by a covering challenge from Alex Newby

Whitby had been very defensively-minded from the off and looked from the early stages as if they were playing for a point tonight. Top scorer Danny Brunskill made a darting run in behind the Hednesford back line in the eleventh minute but was pulled back by an offside flag against him on the Wimblebury side of the ground

Everything positive for the home side was going through Dyer, and he could have opened the scoring on fifteen minutes after Alan Nagington had set him up with a clever reverse pass into the Whitby penalty area; however, Dyer dithered on the ball and only succeeded in firing into the shins of the covering Matty Appleby

Rob Davies had scored with a superb long-range strike on Saturday and almost got in on the goalscoring act again three minutes later as he picking up a ball from Nagington but fired narrowly over the bar from twenty yards out

The away side rallied and Karl Charlton went incredibly close to opening the scoring midway through the half. The winger's long-range shot beat Paul Evans and came back off the base of the post before bouncing along the goal-line, with Evans managing to scramble back and grab the ball before any Whitby player could force the ball home

Chad Sheppard sent over a fine cross from the left-hand touchline on twenty-six minutes and saw his ball in flicked on by Tom Marshall, only for the ball to drift across goal and wide as both Nagington and Ben Brown arrived at the far post


Whitby responded with a quick break through the centre of the pitch and nice feet from former manager Lee Nogan, whose slide-rule pass sent Tom Raw away down the right-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area. He cut the ball back into the path of on-loan Tony Hackworth, whose shot lacked power and was easily saved by Evans 

A glorious opportunity fell to Ross Dyer ten minutes before half-time as he firing straight into the hands of Bell from only ten yards out when a shot to either side of the Whitby stopper would have led to a goal


Dyer was involved again just two minutes later as he managed to out-muscle Appleby and sell Stephen Tobin a dummy, only to scuff his effort and sent the ball high and wide of goal

Nagington's goal drought continued with another frustrating evening in front of goal for the former Leek Town man; his best effort of the first half came on thirty-eight minutes after Anthony Maguire had crossed for him, only for Nagington to lash his shot wide of goal from twelve yards out

The home side continued to attack in waves as they sensed a goal before the end of the first half. Maguire's spectacular attempt on forty-three minutes was well saved by Bell, although he could only palm the ball into the path of Davies, who saw his follow-up shot cleared away by the boot of Nogan

Paul Robinson returned to the side at half-time after his recent injury woes, replacing the inexperienced Daniel McLeod in defence and forcing a defensive reshuffle that saw Tom Marshall moving to left-back and Ross Adams to right-back


The visitors looked to take advantage of any uncertainty in the Pitmen's defensive ranks at the start of the second period and almost took the lead just two minutes into the restart as Hackworth's cross caught the Pitmen ball-watching and fell to Brunskill, who fired wide of Evans' goal when he really should have worked the young goalkeeper

Charlton led Adams a merry dance down the left wing on fifty-three minutes as he turned and twisted past the experienced defender before sending over a deep cross to Brumwell, only for the striker to head tamely in the side-netting under pressure from Marshall

Robinson's big up and under almost caught Whitby out three minutes later as the away side allowed the ball to bounce on the edge of the box and be collected by Wayne Dyer, only for his attempted lob over Bell to sail harmlessly over the crossbar

David Brown was introduced out on the right flank on fifty-eight minutes to add more craft to the Hednesford attack with Chad Sheppard the man to make way


The youngster almost repeated his goalscoring cameo against Stamford two minutes after coming on as he lifted a rising shot inches over Bell's crossbar from the corner of the Whitby penalty area

On sixty-three minutes, Wayne Dyer's through ball found Nagington running clear of the Whitby defence, only for the little striker's close-range effort was well saved by Seasiders' man of the match Bell

A wonderful piece of skill from Raw saw him take two Hednesford players out of the game on sixty-seven minutes and play a one-to with Brumwell en route to goal but saw his rising shot fly over the crossbar

In a bid to replicate the late goal rush of Saturday, Starbuck brought Pedro on with eighteen minutes remaining down the left-wing in place of the tiring Maguire, setting the Pitmen up with the 4-2-4 formation that had earned them three points at the weekend

 With eleven minutes remaining, Dyer was once again denied by the excellent Bell as his low driven shot from a Davies pass was pushed away by the keeper for a Hednesford corner kick

 At the other end, Brunskill was played in on goal by a fine pass from Hackworth on eighty-one minutes, only for his scuffed shot to be well saved by Evans

With time running out, the Pitmen threw everything at the away side in the final ten minutes of the game as they tried to force home a winner. Marshall was committed further forwards to try and win the ball in the air and was involved in a great chance for Nagington on eighty-five minutes; his nod-down from a Davies free-kick fell kindly for the striker, whose first-time half-volley was brilliantly turned away by Bell from close-range


Bell made an equally brilliant save to deny the dangerous David Brown two minutes later as he stretched full-length to tip the wingers cross-cum-shot around the far post

Substitute Pedro had a great chance to win it for the hosts with a minute of normal time remaining as he danced around two challenges and pulled the trigger from twelve yards out but fired over the bar with only Bell to beat

Bell saved his bravest stop until last as he denied Ross Dyer in the final minute of added time following a spell of pressure in the Whitby penalty area. Wayne Dyer's ball through to his namesake saw the youngster fire the ball towards goal, only to strike a fierce shot straight into the face of Bell, whose deflection away did enough to deny Dyer a late winner

It had been a largely frustrating evening for the hosts, who had dominated proceedings throughout but had found Bell in inspired form to earn the Seasiders a point. Starbuck's side face a very different proposition on Saturday as they travel up to West Yorkshire to face play-off chasers Guiseley, still smarting at the 5-2 hammering handed to them by the Lions at Keys Park earlier this month

Hednesford Town: Evans, McLeod (Robinson 45), Adams, Sheppard (D. Brown 58), Marshall ©, B. Brown, Maguire (Pedro 72), W. Dyer, R. Dyer, Nagington, Davies     Subs Unused: None

Whitby Town: Bell, Burgess, Newby (Thompson 29), Appleby, Tobin, Nogan (Bromley 72), Claisse, Hackworth, Raw, Brunskill, Charlton       Sub Unused: Brumwell