Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Worcester City

Hednesford Town

Danks (70)

(0) 0

(0) 1 




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Carl Palmer



Newport County (H) 22.11.03

The Pitmen make it four league wins in a row this afternoon after completing an impressive league double of local rivals Worcester City at St. Georges Lane to move them into the top four of the Dr. Martens Southern Premier League table

Last weekend's sound beating of strugglers Bath City had moved Barry Powell's side into the play-off picture after a shaky start to the season, with his Hednesford side showing signs of the quality and togetherness Powell had been looking for since pre-season when he started assembling what he believed at the time was a side easily good enough to finish in the top of the table to enable them to remain at step two for the 2004-2005 season when the league splits into Conference North and South. Powell made two changes to the side that had started last week's game against Bath, with Alex Gibson replacing the injured Andy Thompson at right-back and Steve Evans making his full debut for the Pitmen after being out since pre-season with a succession of injuries, replacing youngster Danny McGhee on the flank

Worcester's form since losing 3-1 at Keys Park back in September had been patchy at best, having soundly beaten Bath themselves 7-0 but had only won one more league game since then. Manager John Barton stuck with the same side that had come away from struggling Chelmsford with a 2-2 draw last weekend, including former Hednesford favourite Paul Carty was once again in the Dragons' starting XI at left-back - he received his customary warm welcome from the large travelling contingent just before kick-off in recognition of the player's service to the club in the 90s

The hosts could have taken the lead inside the fist sixteen seconds of the game as Leon Kelly - without a goal in his last four games - inexplicably volleyed an Adam Webster cross wide of goal with the net gaping at the far post with what was to be his, and Worcester's best chance of the game, something they would regret missing at such an early stage in the game as the Pitmen grew in confidence after such a big let-off

A superb run from Carl Palmer in the sixth minute saw him shrug off the attentions of David Foy and Pat Lyons before playing Danks in on goal, only for a fine covering tackle from John Snape to deny the youngster a clear shot at goal

A good pass from Lyons three minutes later found Kelly darting into space in behind the Hednesford defence s the striker looked to escape the attention of Chris Brindles. The Hednesford player/assistant manager did well to jockey the striker away from goal and force Kelly into a wayward shot from an angle that failed to test Ryan Young

An end-to-end encounter in the opening quarter saw Hednesford hit Worcester on the counter-attack in the thirteenth minute as Steve Palmer robbed Barry Woolley of the ball and played the ball out to Evans, who showed great feet to dance past Carty and send over a low cross into the neat post that Worcester keeper Danny McDonnell did well to push clear of goal before Danks could get to the ball

The Pitmen had the legs going forwards and used their pace and stamina to punish Worcester's old guard of Snape and Carl Heeley when the pair looked leggy and racked with indecision.One such moment on nineteen minutes saw Chris Gray hunt down Snape and dispossess him just outside the Worcester penalty area. The former Sutton Coldfield man crossed for Steve Anthrobus, whose header whistled past the far post as he met the inswinging Gray cross

Darren Middleton showed Darren Simkin a clean pair of heels three minutes later with a clever turn to take a Lyons pass down on the edge of the penalty area and leave the former Wolves man in his wake. Unfortunately for the former Aston Villa man, his was caught in two minds as to what to do and produced a cross-cum-shot that failed to test Young

Great interplay from Woolley and Carty on twenty-six minutes saw the pair link up down the right wing with a quick one-two that sent Carty away into space behind Les Hines, sending over a cross into the near post the Young did well to claim at the second attempt ahead of Kelly

A terrible wayward pass from Snape presented Evans with the ball on the half-hour mark as he casually passed the ball straight into the feet of the former Tamworth winger, who skipped past the veteran as he tried to recover the ball before finding Danks eight yards out. Danks got the ball caught up in between his legs and scuffed his initial shot before steadying himself and lifting his rebound high over the crossbar, much the the frustration of the striker and his team-mates

A superb, incisive pass from Foy on thirty-five minutes was inch-perfect for Webster, who had nipped in behind the hesitant Hednesford defence to beat the offside trap. Young spotted the danger early on and made a timely block with his legs as he smothered Webster's low drive to deny the striker an opening goal

A superb challenge by Brindley on thirty-seven minutes left Kelly on the floor and the crowd baying for retribution for the veteran centre-back - partly perhaps due to his Kidderminster Harriers roots - only for the referee Mr. Williams to gesture Kelly to get back to his feet as the game continued

Danks cleverly chipped the ball over the top of Snape's head three minutes later and into the path of Gray, only for the winger to fire high and wide of goal with a rushed first-time effort as he was clued down by Heeley

Young pushed a long-range effort from Woolley away from goal with relative ease on forty-two minutes, followed just before half-time by a Hines free-kick that drifted just wide of McDonnell's right-hand post after Carl Palmer's mazy run had been brought to an end illegally by Foy

The Pitmen had more than held their own in what had been an entertaining first half, looking to use their pace and enthusiasm going forwards to test the creaking, ageing Worcester defence at every opportunity

Steve Palmer tested McDonnell in the early minutes of the second half with a well-struck shot from twenty-five yards out that the highly-rated stopper held with ease

Another great run from Carl Palmer on fifty-three minutes saw him leave Foy in his wake once more as he drive forwards from the half way line and deep into Worcester territory before unleashing a well-struck shot that cannoned off the leg of Heeley and drifted wide of McDonnell's far post

Worcester were enjoying plenty of possession but seemed unwilling and/or unable to do anything with it as the away side stood firm and snuffed out any danger early on. Foy's long-range effort failed to test Young three minutes later as the home crowd started to get restless at their side's inability to create clear-cut opportunities

A quickly taken free-kick from Gibson played Gray into space down the right on sixty-two minutes, sending over a fine cross that Anthrobus headed downwards towards goal at the far post but could only head wide


Good hold-up play by Anthrobus two minutes later saw him hold off Heeley's attentions before producing a fine slide-rule pass to Evans, only for Carty to track back and cut the ball out before Evans could cross for Danks


Another poor pass from Snape played his team into trouble once more four minutes later as his attempted pass to Woolley was cut out by Hines; the left-back pinged a delightful first-time ball over theta and into the path of Danks, whose venomous frost-time shot flew just wide of McDonnell's far post 

A fine challenge on Middleton by Simkin was to result in the Pitmen breaking quickly and grabbing the winning goal with twenty minutes remaining. The centre-back robbed Middleton of the ball with a well-timed challenge and set Carl Palmer on his way in midfield one more. Palmer's ball through the gap found Gray in behind Woolley, with Gray crossing to the far post where Danks was on hand to produce a diving header to plant the ball into the corner of the net and past the outstretched hand of McDonnell. It was Danks's fourth goal in four games and a major reason behind the Pitmen's recent upturn in form

Owen had come on in place of the hapless Kelly for the hosts as they looked for way back into the game; Webster attempted to play the substitute in on goal on seventy-two minutes but clever, experienced defensive play form Brindley shepherded the ball back to Young before Owen could get a toe on the ball

Foy was guilty of giving the ball away to Carl Palmer fifteen minutes from time, slicing his pass straight into the path of the Pitmen's man of the match in midfield. Palmer took the ball twenty yards forwards and played a one-two with Anthrobus before firing just wide of McDonnell's upright and into the Hednesford fans behind the goal


 With ten minutes remaining, goalscorer Danks was brought off in favour of Nathan Lamey up front as the Pitmen looked to hold on to their slender lead given to them by Danks


The hosts produced a frantic finale to the game as they pushed the Pitmen back into their own third for much of the final ten minutes; Owen got the better of Simkin on eighty-three minutes after brining down a Lyons pass, but drove his shot across the face of the Hednesford goal and wide of the far post

Three minutes later, a corner kick from Lyons was flicked on by Snape at the near post and headed goalwards by Woolley, only for Gibson to hack the ball off the line at the far post

In the final minute of normal time, Carty got the better of Hines down the wing and drove a rising shot in at goal which Young did well to gather at the second attempt as Middleton looked to pounce on the rebound

In added time, Heeley attempted a backwards header from another Lyons free-kick, only to glance his effort onto the roof of the Hednesford net with Young watching the ball over the crossbar

A fine win for the Pitmen and a professional performance from Powell's side to earn themselves their first league double of the season against a disappointing Worcester side that, for all their attacking talent, had looked devoid of ideas in both games against the Pitmen. The recent purple patch of form will be put to the test again next weekend when Hednesford entertain Newport County, who sit just below the Pitmen in the league table after a good recent run of form from the Spotty Park side

Worcester City: McDonnell, Davies, Carty, Woolley, Heeley ©, Snape, Lyons, Foy (Woodley 80), Webster, Kelly (Owen 68), Middleton     Subs Unused: Dean, McDonald, Parker, Hayes

Hednesford Town: Young, Gibson, Hines, S. Evans, Brindley, Simkin, C. Palmer, S. Palmer ©, Anthrobus, Danks (Lamey 80), Gray      Subs Unused: Williams, Dodd, Brown, P. Evans