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UniBond Northern Premier League

Witton Albion

Hednesford Town

Dyer (42), Sheppard (90) (penalty)

(0) 0

(1) 2



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Tyrone Barnett


Frickley Athletic (A) 30.8.08

Hednesford's good early season form continued once again this afternoon, as they finally put to rest their Wincham Park hoodoo by beating perennial UniBond Premier League bridesmaids Witton Albion to move level on points with Guiseley at the top of the league


Dean Edwards now had a fully-fit and available squad to pick from after both Ludovic Quistin and Chad Sheppard had served three-match suspensions but elected to stick with the same XI that had recorded back-to-back wins, with Quistin and Sheppard named amongst the substitutes

It has been a real summer of upheaval for Witton with big changes at the top and a number of high-profile names leaving the club after the agony of missing out on promotion on the last day of the 2007-2008 season. Manager Nigel Deeley made one change to the side that had won 2-1 at North Ferriby United on Saturday as Gary Scott came in for Steve Smith in midfield


Witton's Mark Drew was first to get the home side firing, hitting two long-range efforts towards Stuart Brock's goal, but neither really tested the Pitmen's number one

The Pitmen were content to wait for the game to settle, and once it did they almost took the lead. Ross Dyer, whose brace on Saturday downed another big name in Bradford (Park Avenue), headed narrowly wide of goal after Tyrone Barnett had teed up Mark Briggs to send over a teasing cross for the striker

Briggs was at the heart of everything positive for the visitors, sending Barnett clear with a great through ball. The striker was denied a shot on goal thanks to a last-ditch tackle from Liam Coyne

Barnett's typically robust approach to the game saw him win a ball in the Witton half before he linked up with Dyer to set up Sean Platt who had made a move forward. His shot took a deflection en route to goal and won the Pitmen a corner

Louis Briscoe was again making defenders sweat with his outstanding control and quick feet. He beat two men with ease before forcing Witton keeper Greg Smith into a smart save

It was all Hednesford, as Witton struggled to make inroads into the opposition half. Barnett was on the end of a great move down the Hednesford right, but Smith was equal to his shot as he looked to add to his goal on Saturday

Witton still managed to trouble Brock on rare occasions, with the long-serving Brian Pritchard forcing the Hednesford number one into a save with a header from a free-kick on twenty minutes

Anthony Maguire, who seems to have found a new position for himself at left-back, came close to opening the scoring ten minutes later, hitting a pass from Platt just wide of goal

The Pitmen went even closer seven minutes from half time, with Barnett turning and firing in a rising shot that touched the crossbar as it went over

Hednesford's pressure finally told four minutes later, with Dyer grabbing the all-important goal. A long ball from Decio Gomes was controlled by Barnett, who was having a fine game. His first-time ball sent Dyer clear, allowing the forward to fire past Smith from close range

It could have been even better for the Pitmen at the break, but Barnett fired just over after being set up by Dyer in a role reversal of the goal

Witton emerged focused on getting back into the game after half time and Drew fired an early warning at Brock with a free-kick

However, it soon reverted to much the same vein as the first half, as the Pitmen once again took control. Dyer and Barnett continued to link up well, with the former clashing with Pritchard as he raced towards goal and needing medical attention after the challenge

He was involved again on sixty-seven minutes, with Barnett setting him up with a lay-off, but his shot flew over the crossbar

Briscoe was replaced by Sheppard as the Pitmen looked to shot Witton out in the final twenty minutes, just seconds before the home side were reduced to ten men. Coyne clashed with Maguire in front of the benches, with the Witton man cracking Maguire across the face with his arm. The referee had no choice but to send the defender off

With the hosts reduced to ten men, the Pitmen looked to take advantage. Dyer beat the offside trap and played in a ball to Barnett. Barnett stretched to reach the ball, just getting enough on it to touch it onto the bar

Barnett seemed determined to grab his goal, and sheer force saw him get past Ben Thornley as he raced onto Decio Gomes' through ball. Smith managed to force the striker wide, only allowing Barnett to shoot wide of goal

Just as it seemed as though the Pitmen would have to play out added time nervously holding onto a solitary goal lead, they grabbed a killer second goal as the referee looked at his watch. Dyer's pace once again saw him get the better of the Witton defence, with Gary Scott's crude tackle halting his progress in the area. Result - penalty to the Pitmen and a red card for Scott. Sheppard stepped up to calmly convert the spot-kick and seal the three points for the visitors

The Witton fans were unhappy at the referee's performance and vented their anger at him as he came off the pitch, surrounded by Witton players and officials who questioned his decisions to send off Coyne and Scott. The Pitmen can be happy with a good day's work and now travel to Frickley Athletic looking to move clear at the top of the league with a win over the struggling Yorkshire side on Saturday

Witton Albion: G. Smith, Schwarz, Pritchard ©, Coyne (70), Donnelly, B. Thornley, Scott (90), Willis (Gagham 80), Drew, Lugsden (R. Thornley 71), Settle      Subs Unused: Thaker, Awang, S. Smith

Hednesford Town: Brock, Platt, Maguire, Gomes, Harvey, Marshall, Briggs, Briscoe (Sheppard 69), Barnett, Dyer, Draper ©       Subs Unused: Junior, Quistin, Morris

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