Vanarama National League North

AFC Fylde

Finley (12), Lloyd (42)

Hednesford Town

(2) 2

(0) 0



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Paul Ennis


Harrogate Town (A) 15.8.15

The Pitmen crashed to their first defeat of the new season at Fylde's Kellamergh Park this evening - but manager Rob Smith will be pleased with the second-half performance of his young side despite the result against their big-spending opponents

Boosted by their opening day success over Stalybridge Celtic, the Pitmen arrived in Lancashire with injury problems already causing issues to the side, even at this early stage of the season. Adam Thomas' arm injury saw him substituted early on in Saturday's game, with the winger facing a long lay-off with a chipped collarbone. He joined defenders Paul McCone and John Disney on the treatment table, although Jon Adams was deemed fit enough to take his place amongst the substitutes. In Thomas's absence, youngster Chris Spencer stepped into the side to make his full debut for the club

Fylde - who were so close to claiming a place in the Vanarama National League last season - had once again bought big during the summer, with established step one players of the standing of Dominic Collins and Matty Hughes joining the club. In the past week alone, Fylde had spent big on bringing in TNS star midfielder Sam Finley and were edging closer to signing North Ferriby's flying winger Jason St. Juste

It was the Pitmen who made the more threatening start to the game, with the lively Modest looking to take his chance with a first start for the club. A cross from Tom James in the eighth minute saw Marvin Robinson nod the ball into Modest's path, but the former Gloucester man could not turn the ball past old Hednesford nemesis Ben Hinchcliffe in the Fylde goal

The Pitmen were to rue missing their only chance of the game so far, as Fylde took the lead on twelve minutes with their first real sight at goal.  Dion Charles played a neat ball out to Finley, who tried his luck from twenty-five yards out - his effort took a slight deflection before looping over the head of Dave Parton and into the net

Five minutes later, Spencer became the first player to have his name taken after hauling Richie Baker down in midfield

Hednesford struggled to get their game going during the opening quarter of the game, with skipper Ben Bailey heading wide of goal from a Tom Thorley free kick on thirty-three minutes

The dangerous Finley was enjoying a dream debut for the hosts, having another chance to increase Fylde's lead on thirty-seven minutes as he headed Baker's cross narrowly wide of Dave Parton's right-hand post

The Pitmen were dealt a further blow just before half time, as they looked to see out the half and regroup only one goal down - Lloyd picked the ball up just inside the Hednesford half and shimmied his way into a shooting position before firing past Parton at his near post from just outside the penalty area

From the restart, Fylde won the ball back quickly and Charles forced Parton into another save to deny them a killer third goal that would have settled the game as a contest

With their midfield overran and outthought, Hednesford made a bold double change at half time with Paul Ennis and Sean Williams coming on for teenagers Kennedy Digie and Spencer

This move improved the Pitmen's fortunes somewhat, with the more experienced duo of Ennis and Williams offering a more productive output for the Hednesford defence

Ennis was first to try his luck for the Pitmen in the early stages of the second half, swinging in a goalbound free-kick but watching as the impressive Josh Langley cleared

There was still a threat from Fylde, however, with Parton saving from Finley after a mistake from Tyrone Williams, followed soon after by a free header from Josh Wilson at the far post that drifted wide of goal after a Baker corner

Tyrone Williams was also guilty of heading wide from a corner kick on fifty-five minutes, climbing highest to head Ennis's deep corner wide at the far post

Former Halifax man Josh Wilson missed a great chance to put the game to bed on fifty-nine minutes, firing narrowly wide from a great position inside the penalty area

The Pitmen thought they had dragged themselves back into contention on sixty-five minutes, as Obeng's initial shot was blocked before Robinson turned the ball home from close range. However, a late offside flag put paid to the big man opening his season's account for the club

This was to be Robinson's final act in the game, as he was taken off on seventy-three minutes in favour of Jake Heath

Thorley found himself in a goalscoring position for the Pitmen with fifteen minutes remaining, driving in a shot from just outside the penalty area that was palmed away by Hinchcliffe

A few moments later, Ennis went even closer to setting up a grandstand finish by striking the foot of the post with a powerful drive from twenty yards out

Another Tyrone Williams header failed to find the target with six minutes left, as the Kidderminster Harriers loanee headed a James corner wide of the far post

The Pitmen will play worse in games this season and probably win this term, as they look to further develop their understanding as a new team. Another difficult away game follows on Saturday when Hednesford travel to another well-funded side in the form of Harrogate Town

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe ©, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, Barnes, Baker, Finley (Rowe 76), Wilson, Charles, Lloyd (Bent 77)      Subs Unused: Blinkhorn, Collins, Urwin


Hednesford Town: Parton, T. Williams, James, Bailey ©, Tilt, Thorley, Spencer (S. Williams 45), Modest, Robinson (Heath 73), Obeng, Digie (Ennis 45)       Subs Unused: Todd, Adams