Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Lamey (9), C. Palmer (40), Simkin (82)

Worcester City

Middleton (54) (penalty)

(2) 3

(0) 1




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Carl Palmer



Dorchester Town (A) 20.9.03

The Pitmen put Saturday's disappointing defeat at Merthyr Tydfil behind them by turning current form on its head with an impressive win over high-flying Worcester City tonight at Keys Park


Despite the poor defeat in the Valleys at the weekend, Hednesford manager Barry Powell stuck with the same eleven that had started against Merthyr as Steve Palmer was still not fully fit with a niggling though injury. Steve Evans - a summer signing from F.A. Trophy winners Tamworth in the summer - was inching towards a full debut for the club with an appearance for the reserves last week as he looked to return to full fitness

Worcester had made a fine start to the new season, sitting fourth in the Dr. Martens League table at the start of this evening's game. The fine start had, however, been checked at the weekend with a 2-1 home defeat to mid-table dwelling Tiverton Town, Manager John Barton reacted to this by making two changes to the starting line-up, dropping the experienced John Snape in favour of Pat Lyons and bringing Darren Middleton in up front in place of Mark Owen. Hednesford great Paul Carty - now thirty-six and still a regular pick for City - was named as one of City's attacking full-backs and received a warm welcome from the Keys Park crowd before kick-off

On a chilly evening, the Pitmen warmed the souls of their supporters with a flying start to the game; Nathan Lamey struck a warning shot at Danny McDonnell in the fifth minute of the game, picking up a pass from Carl Palmer before unleashing a bouncing shot that the highly-rated stopper saved at the second attempt

Lamey finally got himself off the mark for the club in the ninth minute of the game, as Les Hines once again laid the chance on a plate for the striker with a fine cross from the left that Lamey nipped in behind the Worcester defence to turn the ball past McDonnell from close range

Carty was involved in Worcester's first chance of the game on sixteen minutes as he made one of his familiar runs down the right-wing to pick up a Lyons pass, sending over a low cross that former Aston Villa man Middleton scuffed well wide of goal

Adam Webster went closer to equalising for Worcester two minutes later, letting fly from just outside the Hednesford penalty area that was well held by Young after the Hednesford defence had afforded the former Notts County man too much room

The visitors continued to work their way back into the game as the half progressed with Adam Wilde getting on the end of a Leon Kelly cross on twenty-four minutes, attempting a first time shot that Young did well to get a hand on before Ashley Williams completed the clearance

The hosts suffered a blow on the half-hour mark when centre-back Stuart Ryder had to leave the field with a hamstring strain and was replaced by player/assistant manager Chris Brindley

The experienced Carl Heeley was next to go close for the away side on thirty-four minutes, glancing a header wide after beating old adversary Brindley to an inswinging Lyons corner kick

Despite allowing Worcester to have the better of the last twenty minutes, the Pitmen struck at the perfect time on forty minutes to double their lead just before the half-time break; Ashley Dodd played the ball into the path of Carl Palmer, who powered his way past two challenges before drilling a low shot beyond the reach of McDonnell for his first-ever Hednesford goal

And yet Worcester could have reduced areas before the break through Middleton, whose rising shot clipped the top of Young's crossbar after the striker had taken down a cross from Carty

City received a rocket from Barton at half-time and started the second half with purpose as Webster got the better of Darren Simkin on forty-eight minutes before firing into the side-netting with a shot on the run

Kelly's pace earned his side a route back into the game on fifty-four minutes, bursting into the Hednesford penalty area as he was played in on goal by former Tamworth man David Foy before being brought down by the onrushing Young. Referee Mr Day had no hesitation in awarding Worcester a penalty kick which Middleton sent Young the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-1. Game on

Worcester had much the better of the next fifteen minutes of the game as they peppered the Hednesford goal with shots from range and from set pieces. Young made a good save from Wilde on the hour mark to fist a shot away from goal, following this up with a smothering stop on the rebound to deny Webster

Three minutes later, Webster played in Kelly, who had darted in behind Brindley and Simkin, only for a late offside flag on the main stand side to halt the striker's progress as he went one-on-one with Young

Another good save from Young on sixty-nine minutes saw him turn over an effort from Allen Davies after the full-back had tried his luck with a cross-cum-shot from out wide

Carl Palmer was having a superb game for the hosts, breaking up play at every opportunity and getting the hosts moving forwards whenever he could. Another lung-busting run from the ginger-haired dynamo on seventy-four minutes saw him out-pace three Worcester platers before playing Steve Anthrobus in on goal. The big striker - who had had a disappointing evening up against the worldly-wise Heeley - tried to turn the ball onto his right foot but got the ball caught between his legs and allowed Jon Holloway to clear the danger

Palmer himself tested McDonnell's reflexes on seventy-eight minutes with a well-struck shot from twenty yards out after Hines had clipped the ball into his path, with the City stopper making another fine save down to his left to turn the ball around the post

The Pitmen finally made the game, and the points, safe on eighty-two minutes as they responded to the Worcester pressure with their third goal of the evening; Anthony Maguire's corner from the right found itself all the way through to Simkin, who hammered the ball home at the far post with a firmly-struck first-time shot that gave McDonnell no chance

The hosts could afford to give some game time to two of the substitutes two minutes later, as Mark Danks came on for Lamey and Michael Swan replaced Anthrobus

The two striking changes linked up well on eighty-eight minutes as they played a neat triangle of passes around Heeley with Karl Brown before Danks let fly with a shot that just cleared the crossbar and ended up in the Heath Hayes terrace

It had been a well-earned three points for the Pitmen, who had ridden their luck for a couple of spells in the game and had to rely on Young to keep them in front on more than one occasion. However, with them finally showing some conviction in front of goal, Powell's side can look forwards to the forthcoming games as they look to move up the Southern League table, starting this weekend when they make the trip down to Dorset to face Dorchester Town

Hednesford Town: Young, Williams, Hines, Maguire, Simkin ©, Ryder (Brindley 30), C. Palmer, Dodd, Anthrobus (Swann 84), Lamey (Danks 84), Brown       Subs Unused: Charie, P. Evans

Worcester City: McDonnell, Davies, Carty, Holloway, Heeley ©, Lyons, Foy (Holmes 77), Middleton, Webster, Kelly, Wilde      Subs Unused: Owen, Hadley, Parker, Hayes