Spot kick save robs Hexham of worthy victory
Published at 09:04, Monday, 20 August 2012
Hexham 2Gosforth Bohemians 2
A LAST minute penalty miss from Hexham striker Liam Heenan prevented the club from picking up three points in their Division One debut.
Last season’s leading scorer had the chance to finally wrap the game up for the Tynedale side after twice being pegged back by Gosforth Bohemians, but his effort was kept out by the hand of Stephen Wilkinson.
The spot kick came just minutes after Hexham goalkeeper Sean Heads had pulled off an excellent save from 12 yards too, as both sides passed up the opportunity to get their campaign off to a winning start.
Due to waterlogging in Gosforth, the game was switched to Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre and an under-strength home side got out of the blocks quickly.
They did not have long to wait before breaking the deadlock as Heenan dragged two defenders out of position, to allow Joe Stewart to play an inch perfect pass to Scott Robson.
In acres of space, the striker had the ball in the back of the net within touches and Hexham had taken a deserved lead.
Gosforth were stung into a response and drew level on 20 minutes when Darren Campbell similarly had as much time as he liked to pick his spot after a slick Gosforth move.
The visitors were enjoying a dominant spell and should have gone ahead only for Matthew Atkins to lift his shot over the bar with only Heads to beat.
They were made to pay as, against the run of play, Thomas North regained the advantage for Hexham right on the stroke of half time.
A ball into the box was cleared to Steven Coates, and he put it back into the danger zone for the winger to crash a first time effort off the underside of the crossbar and over the line to nestle into the net.
With Bohemians having the lion share of possession, a tactical change was adopted by Hexham and they stifled the away side’s attacks.
This permitted them to create chances of their own but Heenan hit the crossbar and Robson was not given the time he needed to finish off an opening created by North.
An injury to the battling Neil Tiffin disrupted the hard work of the midfield, but Mark Gibson did well as a replacement alongside Joe Stewart who had covered almost every blade of grass in an energetic display.
The game became more open and the action swung from end to end, until Gosforth restored parity for the second time in the encounter.
A free kick was floated into the box and substitute Johnny Hewitt got a glancing touch to the ball to divert it past Heads in the Hexham goal.
It was all to play for as the game entered the final quarter of an hour, and Gosforth had a glorious chance to sneak in front when Hexham’s Jamie Peel mistimed a challenge in his own area.
Atkin was given the responsibility of taking the kick but Heads stood tall and dived to his right to expertly palm the ball away to safety.
Moments later, Hexham had an appeal of their own when Stephen Brown looked to have been fouled in the box but this one was waved away.
However, while all were appealing, Heenan picked up the ball only to be fouled in the box as he bore down on goal.
The wait in between as the referee brandished a yellow card for over exuberant appeals for the first offence may have unsettled the striker as his attempt was thwarted by Gosforth stopper Wilkinson.
The keeper came to the fore as he kept out sub Kurtis Harvey’s shot on the rebound, before a covering Gosforth defender managed to block Heenan’s follow up effort in a desperate spell.
Neither side could capitalise and had to settle for a point apiece in an action packed opening day thriller.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk