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Vanarama Conference North

Hednesford Town

Hurst (71), Batchelor (77)

AFC Fylde

(1) 2

(0) 0



Current Form

Next Match


Tom Thorley


Boston United (H) 10.3.15

Rob Smith's battling Hednesford side shrugged off Saturday's disappointing defeat at Bradford (Park Avenue) to move back into third place in the league table after putting a big dent in AFC Fylde's title hopes at Keys Park this evening

Smith - sent off in an ill-tempered match at the Horsfall Stadium last weekend - once again tweaked his first XI and took the opportunity to rotate his loan stars; Nick Rushton and Lloyd Kerry dropped to the bench, allowing Adam Thomas and Andy Todd to return to the side. Keys Park hero Marvin Robinson also returned to the side, replacing Steve Diggin up front. The changes forced Todd into an unfamiliar central defensive role, whilst Thomas was given a free role to roam around the pitch, playing behind Robinson and allowing the big man to play as a lone striker

Fylde's recent form had been rotten, with Dave Challinor's side in grave danger of handing the title to Barrow after an indifferent run of results. Since defeating AFC Telford United in the F.A. Trophy in January, Fylde had only chalked up one win in the last seven games, leaving them four points adrift of their fellow big spenders with eleven games remaining

On an early spring evening that had a chill in the air, Hednesford made a bright start to proceedings, stroking the ball around with authority and involving key men Tom Thorley and Jamey Osborne early on. And yet, it was Fylde who went closest to opening the scoring in the fifth minute, as Josh Wilson lashed a shot inches wide of Dan Crane's left-hand post with an opportunistic effort

A minute later, Thomas latched onto a long throw from Ben Bailey and fired just over the crossbar with a snapshot from the edge of the penalty area

Crane had to be on his toes to deny Matt Blinkhorn the evening's opener on fourteen minutes, as the striker found space to race onto Joe Booth's through ball and fire in a low shot

An Adam Sumner free-kick caused Crane more issues five minutes later, as the swirling shot was fumbled by the Hednesford keeper before he claimed the ball at the second attempt

Both sides were content to play the ball through midfield, with Fylde more willing to play a more expansive game through their wingers. Unlike the two games at Kellamergh Park, however, the Pitmen were equal to Fylde's efforts, with Darren Campion and James Hurst standing up to the challenge at full-back and clearing their lines well

The dangerous Richie Allen had a great chance to add to his season's tally ten minutes before half time, as his run and shot across the face of the Hednesford goal was inches away from the boots of Blinkhorn and Wilson

The first half came to a close with both sides reasonably happy with their efforts in keeping the opposition out, although Fylde will feel aggrieved at not taking one of their chances in the first period

Robinson tested the reflexes of Ben Hinchcliffe three minutes after the restart, turning sharply and forcing the former Northwich man into a save. Sumner was on hand to complete the clearance before Robinson could react to the loose ball

Five minutes later, Robinson went even closer to opening the scoring as he met Glenn Walker's deep cross and headed narrowly over the crossbar, under pressure from Josh Langley

Both sides traded corner kicks in an end-to-end spell on the hour mark, with both defences standing firm in the face of pressure in the air

From a Walker corner kick, however, the Pitmen did eventually take the lead on seventy-one minutes. Walker's inswinging ball found Hurst unmarked, with his initial header being blocked by a Fylde defender. The ball dropped kindly to the right back on the rebound, with Hurst firing home at the second attempt for his second goal of the season

Fylde responded through Allen two minutes later, firing his volley over the crossbar from a good position on the penalty spot

A frenetic period in the game saw the ball swing back in Hednesford's favour a minute later, with Thorley lashing a wild shot over the Heath Hayes end after being set up by Osborne

The Pitmen earned themselves valuable breathing space with a second goal on seventy-seven minutes, with Batchelor grabbing his fourth goal for the Pitmen. A long throw from Bailey caught the Fylde out, with Batchelor stealing in to flick the ball past Hinchcliffe from close range

Kerry was introduced to proceedings with ten minutes remaining to add more steel to the midfield, with the tricky Thomas taken off by Rob Smith as the Pitmen looked to tie up the game

As the game entered it's final five minutes, Diggin was brought on in place of Robinson after the big man had run himself into the ground

In the final minute, Todd almost grabbed his first goal for his new club, but just failed to head home at the far post after jumping to reach Thorley's deep corner kick

The Pitmen will be pleased with their reaction to Saturday's rare defeat, putting them only four points behind tonight's opponents with only eight games left this term. Saturday's home clash with Boston United is another top five six-pointer, with back-to-back Hednesford wins likely to put United out of the play-off race and leave the Pitmen with one foot in this season's end of season lottery

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Walker, Bailey, Campion ©, Thorley, Osborne, Todd, Robinson (Diggin 85), Thomas (Kerry 80), Batchelor      Subs Unused: Rushton, Strain

AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Denson, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan (Hughes 26), Barnes, Booth (Hamilton 77), Wilson (Tomsett 77), Blinkhorn, Lloyd-McGoldrick, Allen      Subs Unused: Rowe, Dion

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