Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Byrne (17) (OG), Robinson (56), McCone (59)

AFC Telford United

Grogan (45), (49), Phenix (78)

(1) 3

(1) 3



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Darren Campion


Leamington (A) 28.12.13

A thrilling Boxing Day encounter between these two old rivals failed to split the pair, as Hednesford and Telford fought out an entertaining draw at Keys Park this afternoon

The game of the day in Skrill North saw the league leaders come up against their local rivals, currently lying in third place in the table after a good run of recent form. The Pitmen sprung a surprise on their supporters before kick-off by announcing the re-signing of striker Marvin Robinson from Oxford City. The big man was thrust straight into the spotlight, linking up with Neil Harvey in a powerful-looking attack. Paul McCone was also restored to the line-up in place of Ben Bailey at centre back. Tom Thorley's impressive showing in the second half against Vauxhall Motors saw him return to the side in place of Dave MacPherson

A bright and breezy start from the Pitmen saw them push Telford back into heir own half in the first ten minutes. Former Hednesford stopper Ryan Young did well to punch away crosses from Darren Campion and Elliott Durrell, under pressure from both Harvey and Robinson

The Pitmen were rewarded for their positive start to the game in the sixteenth minute, with former Telford man Durrell unsurprisingly involved in the opening goal for the hosts. Breaking down the Hednesford left, Durrell sent over a delightful dipping cross towards Robinson, only for Telford defender Neil Byrne to head past his own keeper from eight yards out under no pressure

Telford responded quickly with neat football down the left wing which threatened to open up the Hednesford defence, with Adam Farrell earning the Bucks a soft free-kick on the edge of the box after diving under pressure from McCone

Fortunately for the Pitmen, Dan Crane was on top form in the Hednesford goal, making a good save to deny Farrell after the tall striker had fired in a powerful shot

Durrell wasted an excellent opportunity for the Pitmen on twenty-four minutes, as a quick break down the right from Harvey saw the big striker pick out his team-mate at the far post with a deep cross. Despite having time and space to bring the ball down, Durrell opted to shoot first time and skied his effort high into the car park

Four minutes later, the dangerous Farrell flashed a shot just wide of the post after he turned on the ball and fired in a shot at goal from just inside the penalty area

 A succession of Telford set-pieces tested the Pitmen's resolve as the half entered it's final fifteen minutes, with Crane confidently punching away two corners in a row from the Telford right

Young came to Telford's rescue on thirty-seven minutes, making a fine save to turn Harvey's towering header away from goal, although a late flag from the assistant on the far side pulled the play back after a push was spotted

A Kris Taylor corner kick caused havoc in the Telford ranks with a minute left in the half, as three Hednesford players tried to force a shot home on the edge of the penalty area. Midfielder Jamey Osborne had suffered an injury in the build-up and was taken off after a spell of treatment to his leg

The referee somehow found three added minutes to a half that had simply flown by, with Telford forcing home a superb equaliser with the last action of the half; a deep ball across to Farrell on the right saw the striker volley the ball first time across goal, finding Mike Grogan lurking twelve yards out. Grogan, in turn, dispatched a superb volley of his own to fire past the stranded Crane and into the right-hand corner of the net

Half time saw the inevitable substitution of Osborne for Alex Melbourne, with the playmaker now doubtful for the remainder of the Christmas and New Year programme

The blow of conceding late in the first half seemed to still be affecting the hosts early in the second half, as Telford took the lead with their first attack of the second period. A deep Charlie Barnett corner dropped onto the head of Grogan, who had the simple task of nodding home unmarked at the far post

It could have got even worse for the Pitmen two minutes later, as Andy Owens somehow managed to head wide of goal when he met a cross unmarked inside the six-yard box

The game turned back the Pitmen's way in a frenetic three-minute spell just before the half-hour, as two set-pieces swung the pendulum back the way of the home side

On fifty-six minutes, Durrell's deep corner was met by Robinson, who once again proved himself the man for the big occasion for the Pitmen with a firm header at the far post that found the net

With the crowd back behind them, the Pitmen took the lead once more on fifty-nine minutes through yet another set-piece from Durrell. A free-kick from the left was whipped in towards goal by Hednesford's top scorer, with McCone just doing enough to flick the ball on and beyond the reach of Young to make it 3-2

With Telford coming back strongly in search of another equaliser, manager Rob Smith made the bold decision to make a major positional change to his side, electing to take off striker Harvey and put on centre back Bailey

This move seemed to alienate Robinson and Durrell, who fought valiantly against a Telford side that started to push up and play in the Hednesford half for much of the remainder of the game. Three successive corners were forced in front of the travelling Bucks support, with the third one making it count on seventy-eight minutes

A Matty McGinn kick from the right was floated into the back post, finding Telford substitute Mike Phenix unmarked. Despite a number of Hednesford players around him, Phenix managed to do enough to bundle the ball home with a close-range header

The game was an end-to-end affair in the final ten minutes, with the two defences having to work overtime to hold on to a valuable point. Grogan tried his luck with an off-target curling shot, whist Robinson tried his luck in the final minute with an overhead kick but only succeeded in kicking Telford's Chris Lever in the face

To any neutral in the ground, this will have been a real Christmas cracker to have witnessed, but the two sets of supporters will feel that their side could have snatched all three points with a little more composure in defence, particularly in the second half

Results elsewhere have once again been kind for the Pitmen, who retain their two-point lead at the top of Skrill North ahead of Saturday's short journey down the M40 to Leamington

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, McCone, Francis, Taylor, Osborne (Melbourne 45), Durrell, Harvey (B. Bailey 66), Robinson, Thorley      Subs Unused: Pearson, Woolfe, Riley

AFC Telford United: Young ©, Baynes, McGinn, Byrne , Lever, Grogan, Benjamin (Phenix 75), Barnett, Owens, Farrell, Clancy (Gray 75)      Subs Unused: M. Bailey, Booth, Pryce

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