4.4.2009

UniBond Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Marshall (38)

Whitby Town

Marshall (40), Thompson (52), (90)

(1) 1

(1) 3

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

434

Ross Draper

L L L L L W D W W L

Nantwich Town (A) 7.4.09

Hednesford once again fail to win when it matters most, allowing Whitby Town to exact revenge for Wednesday night's defeat with a well-deserved - and crucial - win at Keys Park this afternoon

 

With Decio Gomes struggling for fitness, Rapinder Gill was recalled by Dean Edwards, with Gomes put on the bench. Matthew West was brought back into the squad on the bench, whilst young goalkeeper Richard Woolley was also named amongst the substitutes after joining the club from Wolves. Otherwise, it was as you were for the Pitmen, as they looked to complete a quick-fire double over the struggling Seasiders

Whitby manager Graham Clarke - looking for a response from his lowly side as they sat just outside the relegation zone on goal difference only - made four changes to the side that had been turned over by the Pitmen in midweek as veteran goalkeeper David Campbell returned in place of Nick Liversedge, whilst their was a new defensive partnership as Richard Forster and Danny Farthing came in for Jimmy Beadle and Ashley Lyth. The final change was in midfield as Danny Brunskill replaced Leon Scott

The Pitmen started with purpose, with Ross Dyer dragging a heavy-looking central defence of Forster and Farthing around the pitch early on. Sam Hall was first to show any threat in front of goal, firing in a dipping shot after eight minutes that just cleared the crossbar

Almost as soon as they got into their stride, they suffered a blow.  Fifteen minutes into the game, right back Sean Platt fell heavily on his arm as he challenged for the ball. After a few minutes of being treated on the pitch and on the sidelines, he was replaced by Ben Bailey with Platt departing holding the top of his arm in some pain. This move saw Gill move to right-back, with Bailey slotting in alongside Tom Marshall and Danny Harvey

Bailey was soon into the action, picking up a pass from Ross Draper to cross for Tyrone Barnett, but his looping header was easily claimed by Campbell

The home side continued to press, and sixty seconds later Dyer should have opened the scoring. Elliott Durrell's trickery out wide created enough room for him to cross, finding Dyer at the far post. However, his header towards goal missed the target by a couple of feet

After suffering one injury blow early in the game, the Pitmen suffered another mid-way through the half. Danny Harvey's typical aggression in a tackle saw him come off worst, with another long bout of treatment needed for the centre back. After a couple of minutes off the pitch, Harvey gingerly returned but was not moving particularly fluently

The Pitmen created a gilt-edged chance for Barnett on thirty-seven minutes, with a long, raking ball over the top, testing Forster's pace against Barnett. The gazelle-like Hednesford man beat him to the ball but was unceremoniously bundled over a few feet from the edge of the penalty area. With Hednesford supporters screaming for a red card, with Forster being the last man, the referee only produced a yellow card

From the resulting free-kick, Durrell and Marshall repeated their trick at the Turnbull Ground on Wednesday, with Durrell teeing up Marshall to fire low to Campbell's left and into the corner of the net

The relief around Keys Park was felt all round, but relief was replaced by frustration two minutes later, as defensive hesitation allowed the visitors to grab an equaliser. A cross swung in from the right-hand side was not cleared on the three occasions it should have been, with the ball eventually falling to Karl Charlton, who fired home

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Pitmen, who were dealt a further blow at the break when Harvey's injury became too much for him, giving way to Luke Edwards at the start of the second half

The substitution of Harvey for Edwards changed the shape of the side, with the Pitmen now playing a flatter 4-4-2. rather than their preferred 5-3-1-2. The away side took full advantage of Hednesford's lack of familiarity with this system, scoring seven minutes after the restart. Once again, there was ample opportunity to clear the danger, as the ball was played into the area and allowed to bounce. Whitby's Andy Thompson was onto the ball in a flash, touching the ball past Brock from ten yards to give the visitors the lead

Back came the shell-shocked Pitmen, with Hednesford piling the pressure on Whitby in an attempt to get back on level terms. Hall should have levelled matters on the hour mark, picking up a good ball from Edwards who had cut in from the left. He controlled the ball for what seemed an age, before shifting it onto his left foot and striking the crossbar with his powerful effort

Draper felt he should have had a penalty on sixty-three minutes after he was hauled down just inside the area. The referee, unimpressed, waved away the protests

The injury curse struck a third time for the Pitmen as Barnett appeared to pull up holding his groin. He was swiftly replaced by West, as the injured list continued to grow ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantwich Town

As the game entered the final ten minutes, Whitby's attack suddenly sprung back into life, with Brock having to deny Sean Ross and Danny Brunskill in quick succession

The Pitmen's response was to once again test the pace of the Whitby central defence with cleverly angled balls over the top. One such ball found Dyer, who managed to get away from Forster, but his angled shot was well saved by Campbell

From the resulting corner, Hall's dangerous corner seemed to come back off the outside of the post, but no-one in a white shirt could react quickly enough and the ball was cleared

With stoppage time looming, Whitby settled the matter with a truly outstanding goal from Thompson. His quick turn and shot from twenty-five yards was perfect, hammering the ball past Brock and into the top corner of the net

For all their huff and puff, there was very little in the way of quality from the home side today. In terms of the play-offs, all is definitely not lost, but it now means they require a positive result from the tough-looking trip to Nantwich to stay with the pack with games starting to run out and teams around them putting together timely runs of form

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt (Bailey 15), Quistin, Gill, Harvey (Edwards 45), Marshall, Hall, Durrell, Barnett (West 75), Dyer, Draper ©        Subs Unused: Gomes, Woolley

Whitby Town: Campbell, Burgess, Bishop, Janes, Forster , Farthing, Burton (Lyth 70), Brunskill, Raw (Ross 70), Thompson, Charlton      Subs Unused: Scott, Beadle, Nogan

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