Nationwide Conference

Yeovil Town

Crittenden (4), Bent (40), Steele (43), Belgrave (75)

Hednesford Town

Goodwin (45), Davis (87)

(3) 4

(1) 2



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Scott Goodwin



Northwich Victoria (H) 2.9.01

It's another away day to forget for the Pitmen this Bank Holiday Monday as John Baldwin's side come away from Huish Park on the wrong end of another heavy beating, this time to another one of the title favourites in the form of Yeovil Town

Baldwin was forced into several changes to the side that had started Saturday's draw at home against Stevenage Borough as Lee Colkin, Scott Bonsall and Val Owen were all ruled out through a variety of knocks. Scott Goodwin and Jake Sedgemore were restored to the starting line-up, whilst youngster Ross Rhodes made his first appearance of the season amongst the substitutes

Despite being amongst the pre-season favourites for the Conference title at the start of the campaign, Yeovil came into today's game off the back of a 3-0 defeat at Southport on Saturday which had brought Dave Webb's side back down to earth after two wins from their first two games. Webb was also forced into an injury-led change to his side as Ben Smith was ruled out after picking up an injury at Haig Avenue and was replaced by Rory O'Brien


Backed by a large and expectant Bank Holiday crowd, Yeovil made a quick start to the game on a bright, sunny afternoon in Somerset and took the lead in the fourth minute with their first attack of the game; a low cross from Barrington Belgrave was not cleared effectively by the away side, allowing Belgrave to pick up the loose ball and cross for Nick Crittenden, who slammed the ball through a crowded penalty area and into the net

Despite this early setback, the Pitmen came back into the game and almost levelled three minutes later as Neil Davis got the better of Darren Way on the edge of the Yeovil penalty area but dragged his low shot wide of goal from sixteen yards out after Goodwin's pass

The Pitmen were handed a glorious chance to equalise in the tenth minute as they were awarded a penalty kick by referee Mr. Kettle. Skipper Mark Cooper was brought down in the area by a slightly mistimed challenge from Way as he made his way into the Yeovil penalty area, leaving the match official with little choice but to award the away side a spot-kick. Davis took the subsequent penalty kick but was to be denied by Tony Pennock in the Yeovil goal as he guessed correctly to dive to his right and turn Davis's firmly-hit shot away


Mark Gayle was on hand to deny Yeovil a second goal in the fourteenth minute of the game as Warren Patmore's deft flick-on played Belgrave in behind the static Hednesford defence, only for the winger to be denied by a fine stop from the Hednesford keeper


Six minutes later a neat passage of play through the midfield from the men in navy blue saw Goodwin play a fine through ball into the feet of Micky Norbury, only for the burly striker to strike his effort straight into the arms of Pennock from the edge of the penalty area

The Pitmen were struggling to get a foothold in the game in all areas as the pace Belgrave and the craft of Patmore gave their defenders much to ponder, whilst the likes of O'Brien and Crittenden were getting the better of the inexperienced duo of Ian Robinson and Sedgemore in midfield

A good cross from Terry Skiverton on twenty-nine minutes caught the away side napping once more, relying on a last-ditch challenge from Neil Pointon to somehow divert the drifting ball away from the boot of Patmore before he could turn the ball home at the far post

Four minutes later, the Pitmen were once again their own worst enemies in defence as more ponderous defending saw them fail to clear a free-kick and allowed both Belgrave and Crittenden to fire in shots that were deflected away from danger 

With five minutes remaining in the first half, the Glovers doubled their advantage following a corner on the right from Dave Piper that was only cleared as far as James Bent, who was lurking outside the Hednesford penalty area. The midfield man was allowed time and space to control the ball before unleashing an unstoppable shot from long-range that flew past Gayle and found the far corner of the net. A fine strike

Worse was to follow for the Pitmen three minutes later as any half-time team talk from Baldwin went in the bin with Yeovil putting clear daylight between the two teams on forty-three minutes. More pathetically poor defending from the Pitmen - already a feature of their season after just four games -  allowed Way's inswinging corner kick to drop in the six-yard box and let Paul Steele poke the ball home from close range unchallenged, Dreadful from the visitors and leaving them with a mountain to climb


However, in added time the visitors gave themselves a lifeline as they pulled a goal back with the final move of a breathless first period; Goodwin tried his luck from the left and he hit a shot from twenty-five yards out which took a wicked deflection off Steele, sending Pennock the wrong way in the process and nestling in the opposite corner of the net

Buoyed by their late goal in the first period, the Pitmen started the second half well and went close to reducing the deficit further on fifty-one minutes; Sedgemore did well to find Norbury with a slide-rule pass before the striker chipped the ball into the path of Cooper, whose acrobatic effort went wide of Pennock's left-hand post


Goodwin was booked for the Pitmen on fifty-five minutes after a series of niggly fouls finally saw him having his name taken, followed a couple of minutes later by a caution for centre-back Mark Haran for a foul on Belgrave

A free-kick from Anthony Tonkin tested the reflexes of Gayle on the hour mark, swinging in a dangerous shot that the in-form Hednesford stopper turned away from goal

Belgrave continued to give the one-paced Hednesford defence the slip at every opportunity, linking up well with Patmore on sixty-six minutes before drilling a shot narrowly over Gayles's crossbar

The Pitmen had looked impotent up front for much of the game with Norbury and Davis starved of service from an uncreative midfield. Cooper's reverse ball to Robinson on seventy minutes saw the youngster escape the attentions of Skiverton before firing well, well wide of goal and high into the home supporters stand behind the goal

Yeovil put the game out of Hednesford's reach with fifteen minutes remaining as the slippery Belgrave got down the left before cutting inside and past a half-hearted challenge from Russell Bradley before driving a shot across goal and into the far corner of the net past the dive of the despairing Gayle


The Pitmen made an attacking change before the game restarted as Baldwin lost patience with the ineffective Paul Bagshaw and replaced him with fellow winger Stewart Airdrie down the left flank

Airdrie's introduction had an immediate effect as the youngster beat Piper all ends up on eighty minutes with a fine run down the left-wing, cutting inside and lifting his shot over the advancing Pennock. As is the Pitmen's luck at present, however, the former Guiseley man's shot came back off the crossbar and dropped at the feet of Davis, whose scuffed effort was cleared by the recovering Skiverton


Gayle was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch a minute later as he appeared to handle a bouncing ball just outside his penalty area, prompting loud protests from both home players and supporters. Much to the former Crewe man's relief, he was only shown a yellow card as Yeovil were awarded a free-kick just outside the Hednesford penalty area, which Tonkin subsequently wasted

With five minutes of the game remaining, a clever pass from Davis played Airdrie through in the inside left position but his rising shot from an angle flew over the crossbar

The Pitmen were awarded a second penalty kick of the game a minute later as Yeovil substitute Tom White was penalised for holding Haran down as the pair challenged for a high ball. Davis brushed off his earlier miss to take the spot-kick but was once again denied by a fine save from Pennock. On this occasion, however, the ball ran kindly for the incoming Goodwin, who capped a man of the match display by managing to play the ball back into the path of Davis to turn the ball home from close range

In the final minute of the game, Yeovil were denied a fifth goal of the afternoon as substitute Andy Lindegaard fired home following a quick break through the middle of the pitch, only for an offside flag against the striker leading to the goal being ruled out

It had been another sobering example of the growing disconnect between the haves and the have nots in the Conference this season as the Pitmen had once again proved to be firmly second best against one of the top sides in the division. Having played the three favourites for the title in their last three games, the Pitmen have a good idea of what is required to remain competitive in a league that they are slowly sinking towards the also-rans in. Saturday sees them return to Keys Park to face Northwich Victoria as they look to finally beak their run of games without a win against the Vics

Yeovil Town: Pennock, Piper, Skiverton ©, Steele (White 74), Tonkin, Way , O'Brien, Crittenden, Belgrave, Patmore  (Lindegaard 76), Bent       Subs Unused: Foster, Peters, Weale

Hednesford Town: Gayle , Bradley, Pointon, Goodwin , Haran , Sedgemore, Cooper ©, Robinson, Davis, Norbury, Bagshaw (Airdrie 76)      Subs Unused: Rhodes, Evans, Lake, Carney