Vanarama National League North

Alfreton Town

Robertson (8) (penalty), Jackson (62), Jones

(73), (79)

Hednesford Town

(1) 4

(0) 0



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Sean Williams


Gloucester City (H) 15.9.15

Bernard McNally's second coming as Hednesford manager ended in a savaging at relegated Alfreton Town this afternoon, as the hosts grabbed four goals without reply at the Impact Arena against an uninspiring Pitmen side

McNally's return to Keys Park had seen the Pitmen make immediate moves in the transfer market, with defender Matt Regan, midfielder James McQuilkin and goalkeeper Lloyd Ransome all making returns to the club. Chris Spencer had returned to parent club Mansfield Town after his loan ended, with Tom James and Jon Adams yet again missing from the matchday squad

Nicky Law's Alfreton side had started to adapt to life back at step two in the last couple of games, beating Gainsborough Trinity and Chorley in the last two games to move them into a respectable mid-table position. Former Sheffield United and Dundee United striker Jordan Robertson had recently joined the club, scoring on his debut for his new club in their win over Chorley last weekend

On a glorious afternoon in Derbyshire, on a simply outstanding pitch, Alfreton made the more positive start to proceedings as they kicked up the considerable Impact Arena slope in the first half. They were handed a boost in the eighth minute, as Kyle Perry's attempt at defending saw him wrestle Robertson to the floor just inside the penalty area as the pair jostled for a cross. Perry's challenge was deemed illegal and Alfreton were awarded a penalty kick, which Robertson fired confidently past Dave Parton

The Pitmen responded through the pace of Ahmed Obeng and Nathan Modest, who both won free-kicks in dangerous positions after being brought down. Sean Williams hit the Alfreton wall with his first attempt, before curling his second effort wide of Alfreton keeper Matt Duke's right-hand post

Obeng then somehow contrived to fluff a great chance to equalise for the Pitmen on seventeen minutes, as a long ball over the top from Tom Thorley saw Obeng race onto the pass and nod the ball past the onrushing Duke. Rather than turn the bouncing ball into the empty net though, Obeng somehow scuffed his shot wide of the post as he steadied himself ten yards from goal

John Johnston wasted a great chance to put Alfreton further ahead on twenty-four minutes, firing wide of goal after the Hednesford defence was opened up on the right-hand side

New boy Regan - returning to the club two years after a successful loan period - made a move forwards on twenty-seven minutes and drove a low effort wide of the right-hand post with a powerfully struck effort from twenty yards out

Despite seeing plenty of the ball throughout the half, Hednesford struggled to create any chance of note, as Sean Williams and Thorley struggled to get the front three involved in the game. Perry in particular cut a lonesome figure up front as he struggled to get the better of Tom Allan and Niall Heaton in the centre of defence

Heaton was in action at the other end of the pitch on thirty-three minutes, heading wide of goal after rising highest to meet Joe Leesley's cross from the left

The hosts were forced into a change just before half time, as Johnston was forced off with injury and was replaced by former Worksop Town striker Jamie Jackson

Half time saw McNally make a bold tactical move by removing the ineffective Perry from the firing line and bringing on the creative influence of Paul Ennis

However, this move failed to inspire the men in black and white as they turned in their worst forty-five minutes of the season so far in a lax, disinterested display

Ryan Wilson fired a warning shot across the bows a few minutes after the restart, firing narrowly over the crossbar from close range after Leesley's free-kick dropped to him inside the six-yard box

The Pitmen made another tactical change on fifty-nine minutes, with the experienced Andy Todd coming on in place of Obeng. This saw Modest and Ennis up top, with Todd slotting in on the left-wing

The constant personnel changes continued to upset Hednesford's rhythm, and they found themselves two goals down just after the hour mark. Another Leesley free-kick caused more confusion in the Hednesford defence, allowing Jackson to head firmly past Parton from close range to double Alfreton's advantage

And yet, the Pitmen could so easily have got themselves back into the game on sixty-seven minutes, as a superb run from Todd saw him come inside from the left-wing and play in Sean Williams, whose right-footed effort crashed against the inside of the post and along the goal line before being hacked clear

This was to prove a costly miss for the visitors, as Alfreton effectively finished the game as a contest on seventy-three minutes; A long throw from the right was knocked down by Jackson into the path of midfielder Sam Jones, who fired a low shot beyond the reach of Parton and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net

This was followed by a quickfire fourth goal for the home side with eleven minutes remaining, as another cross from Leesley, this time from a corner, was headed home by Jones, with Parton unable to keep the midfielder's powerful header from finding the roof of the net from six yards out

McQuilkin was given a late run-out after his return to the club this week, coming on with nine minutes left in place of Modest. This gave the Pitmen's faltering forward line a hugely lop-sided look, with none of the three forwards that started the game on the pitch at the end of the game with Ennis the only recognised forward still in attendance

There was more bad luck to befall the Pitmen with five minutes left, as Thorley fell awkwardly in the penalty area and appeared to land on his wrist. After lengthy treatment, Thorley was taken off and left the Pitmen to see out the remainder of the game with ten men

A hugely disappointing afternoon at the office for McNally and his new team then, with the new man at the helm having to lift his troops ahead of another tough game at home to Gloucester City on Tuesday night. Expect several changes to personnel in the coming days and weeks as McNally looks to mould a team in his own form

Alfreton Town: Duke, Moyo, Galinski, Allan, Heaton (Paling 87), Wilson, Leesley, Jones, Berry, Johnston (Jackson 41), Robertson (Ironside 84)       Subs Unused: Thanoj, Draper

Hednesford Town: Parton, Disney, Regan, Bailey ©, T. Williams, Thorley (85), S. Williams, Modest (McQuilkin 83), Perry (Ennis 45), Obeng (Todd 59), Digie      Subs Unused: Robinson, Ransome

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