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Match Report  |  Hednesford Town vs Gresley Rovers

Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
10th January 2004

Match Photos

Hednesford Town vs Gresley Rovers

Gresley were forced in to a re-shuffle for this match due to suspension and cup-tied players and the re-call of Shaun Harrad by Notts County.

The visitors got off to a good start and had their first chance on 2 minutes when Danny Haynes' header from a Gary White cross went straight into the arms of home keeper Ryan Young.

Two minutes later Gresley went close again when Haynes put a ball through to Francis who's shot was well saved by Young.

On 5 minutes it was the turn of Gresley keeper Dale Belford to keep his side level when he blocked with his leg a superb downward header from Steve Evans.

Belford did well again on 12 minutes when he managed to block a shot from Steve Anthrobous who'd turned on the edge of the box.

Hednesford were turning the screw but some woeful finishing from Antrobous meant they could not make their pressure tell.

On 19 minutes Belford was called into action again and managed to deny the Pitmen with some fine keeping as he finger tipped Carl Palmer's cross away from danger.

Both sides then seemed to cancel each other out for the rest of the first half with one chance for Haynes right on the whistle. Jamie Barrett's cross was flicked on by Leon Doughty to Haynes who, with his back to goal, tried a spectacular bicycle kick that went wide.

Within minutes of the re-start Gresley had another half-chance. They were awarded a free kick about 20 yards out taken by White. The kick flew into the danger area but was unfortunately deflected out for a corner before it reached any Gresley waiting players.

On 54 minutes man-of-the-match Belford was needed to spare the blushes of White who's wayward back pass headed towards an open goal but Belford managed to scamper back and scoop the ball away before it crossed the line.

A minute later Hednesford was awarded a penalty for an offence that only the referee appeared to see. Apparently, Barrett impeded one of the Hednesford players on the goal line when awaiting a corner kick. If anything it should have been a Gresley free kick as Belford was being man-handled by the Hednesford's forwards.

However, justice was done as Les Hines put a ball so far over the bar that it almost landed in Cannock Chase.

On the hour Carl Francis dallied a little too long on the ball in the area and his chance was snuffed out before he could shoot.

A minute later Hednesford took the lead when some sloppy defending allowed Craig Dean to fire in a fine shot that beat Belford and into the top corner of the net.

On 64 minutes Francis scurried down the right before crossing but Barrett could only put his header straight at Young.

Five minutes later Gresley had another chance when a defensive mix-up by Hednesford allowed Gareth Holmes to nip in and take the ball forward into the area. He squared the ball for Francis but he put his first time shot well over the bar.

On 73 minutes the home side should have been reduced to 10 men when Hines lashed out at Doughty but to the amazement of the traveling Gresley faithful, and I suspect many of the home side supporters, the referee chose not to even book the player. Instead, he booked Belford who had protested to the apparent injustice.

With a minute of normal time left on the clock some good work by substitutes Steve Lenagh and Earl Alexander ended with Alexander finishing a good run down the left with a cross to Francis who turned before firing in a shot that Ryan managed to block.

In time added on and with Gresley pushing forward looking for an equaliser a very short back pass by Richard Wardle allowed Mark Danks in who coolly slotted the ball past Belford for Hednesford's second goal.

Gary's views on the game

"To be honest we just didn't get going in the first half. I felt there were several key players that I thought the occasion got to players that every week are composed, they put their foot on the ball and know what to do in certain situations but it didn't seem to happen in the first half.

"I also felt that the tactics we employed first half didn't come off. We thought long and hard about the way we were going to play and wanted to just stifle things a bit. But, we were a yard off the pace of the game. We weren't clearing our lines, we were panicking in certain situations and the ball seemed like a hot potato at times and we rode our luck.

"We went in at half time 0 0 and I said to the lads that Hednesford had been by far the better side in the first half. Maybe, we were giving them a little too much respect and I asked for a different approach in the second half.

"We changed things around a little and I was please with the way we played in the second half. Having said that, the better team won on the day but on a different occasion we might have snatched a draw or even a one-nil win.

"Dale made some good saves. He's a very, very experienced player and I say this week in week out. We didn't play for a draw today but in certain situations he slowed the game down for us because I felt they were coming at us all the time and we just could clear our lines. So, he allowed us to have a breather and try and re-organise our shape a little bit. Dale's a big occasion player and he's in the dressing room very disappointed but he is now trying to lift the players' heads. We are all very, very disappointed so it will be a big task.

"We know we can play a lot better and we really felt we didn't do ourselves justice today. Which is a shame because we had a lot of supporters travel today who perhaps don't normally come to see us week in week out and I'm sorry for those because if we'd have performed better today we might have seen a few more on our home gates.

"I didn't see the penalty so I don't know what it was awarded for. I went to their bench and they didn't know either! It was a strange decision and the only person in the ground to have seen it was the referee. But they missed it and I felt that might give us a bit of luck we needed and we would go on and get a nil-nil or even snatch a win, but it wasn't to be.

"Their scorer was Craig Dean who was with us a short while and when I heard the draw I thought how ironic it would be if he scored against us and he did! I felt we were just getting a foothold in the game and the ball came out and it was not cleared and a predominantly left footed player hit a volley like that with his right. But that's the quality of Craig and it was a great goal and I was the first to congratulate him after the game.

"Having said that, I still felt we had chances to get back into the game. We had one or two very near things. The big chance was the one for Craig Francis but he just couldn't get over the ball and it flew just over the bar. If we'd have scored then I felt we could have shut up shop and got a result taking them back to the Moat Ground.

"The second goal came after we were trying to put them under pressure throwing players forward looking for an equaliser then Richard Wardle sent a short back pass to Dale. But that goal was academic.

"The amount of support we had here was fantastic. I had a look around and I could see lots of red and white shirts and scarves and I felt that as many of our supporters had made the visit as theirs. The supporters have been fantastic all season especially the young lads who go behind the goal and follow the team home and away every week. I disappointed for them that we couldn't at least have got a draw and got Hednesford back to the Moat Ground.

"Our squad is a little thin at present. If we'd have had Shaun Harrad's movement and quality, Matt Smith in defence and been able to put our best options out I'm certain we would have gone on and done better in this game. But, having said that, the squad we had here today was good enough and I wish Hednesford good luck in the next round."

Hednesford Town (0) 2

Gresley Rovers (0) 0

Scorers: Dean 61, Danks 90

Hednesford Town: Young, Simpkin, Hines, S Evans, Ryder, Barlow, C Palmer, S Palmer, Anthrobous, Danks, Dean (Dodd 80). Subs not used: Brindley, D Clarke, Larney, P Evans (gk).

Gresley Rovers: Belford, Wardle, White, Everitt, Cheetham, Haynes (Lenagh 45), Doughty, Barrett, Slater (MacKenzie 77), Francis, Holmes. Subs not used: Sylla, B Clarke (gk).

Rovers Star Man: Dale Belford superb again.

Referee: G Aston (Kingswinford).

Attendance: 660