Match Data 2001/2002
Havant & Waterlooville 2
Shaun Gale (Price, 23)
Dean Blake (Wood, 81)
Jamie O'Rourke (Leworthy, 71)
Barron (Ajeunnobi, 0)
Thomas (Francis, 0)
It was back in October when Jamie O’Rourke’s 11th minute goal spurred the Pitmen on to beat the Hawks 2-1 that these two teams last met, Hednesford’s plight then looking only slightly worse than it does now. Relegated from the Conference last season Hednesford have faired worse in the DMP than fellow droppers Kettering, now on course again for a possible straight return to the non-league’s top flight after Tamworth’s recent wobbles.
Perhaps Tuesday night’s score line creates a symmetry between this and the previous encounter. At Keys Park the Hawks felt themselves unlucky, having bettered the home team for long periods of the second half, that they were unfortunate not to come away with a point as the side’s unbeaten record stretching back to last season came to an end. Spurning chances left, right and centre through the second half at Westleigh Park, Hednesford will now feel the same.
Before the game Neil Davis was awarded the Director’s Player of the Month award for March, and Liam Daish collected the Hawks Travel Club Away Player for the same month.
With two Neil Davises (Davies?) on the pitch again matters get somewhat confusing for the textual reporter, but it was the one in the Hawks shirt who came close to scoring toward the beginning of the game. One on one with keeper Mark Gayle he blasted the ball over the bar. Shaun Gale pulled up with a strain in the 23rd minute, to be replaced by Ben Price, who gained a nasty injury himself much later in the game that will rule him out of play now for the rest of the season.
Jamie O’Rourke scored his 17th league goal this term in the 28th minute. Dean Blake’s free kick glanced off and over the wall and positioning himself well, Jamie volleyed the ball under Gayle to put the Hawks in front. Before the end of the half Stewart Airdrie blasted a free kick wide for the Pitmen.
Starting the second half well, Super Jim volleyed a pass from Gary Connolly wide, before Connolly himself put the Hawks two up moments later. Leaping between two defenders to connect with a cross from Liam Daish, he firmly head into the net. The half continued with physical play, Mark Haran’s bad tackle on O’Rourke in the 71st minute seeing the striker injured and replaced by Dave Leworthy.
Hednesford then suffered several blows, Davis and Richard Lucas both missing open goals with balls put over the bar before substitute Kevin Francis finally pulled one back in the 91st minute, thumping a firm header past Nicholls from a free kick by Stuart Lake. With the Hawks in relaxed mood the seven minutes of injury time brought a frantic and heart stopping finale to the game as the Pitmen sensed a draw was easily on the cards. But for Paul Nicholls stopping Davis’s late close range blast with a superb reflex save this would have been the case, but the Hawks hung on long enough to collect the three points from the game.