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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town


Hancock (32), Hulme (38), (64)

(0) 0

(2) 3



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James Wren


Ashton United (A) 30.9.17

It's back-to-back defeats for the Pitmen in the league so far this week, as they lose their unbeaten home record this season to an impressive Altrincham side that must be amongst the favourites to lift the league title in May


Saturday's dreadful defeat to Mickleover - the Pitmen's second five-goal beating in four games - saw Rob Smith ring the changes once more on his threadbare squad. Alex Melbourne returned to the side at his preferred right-back slot to replace the hapless Richard Platt, whilst there were two debutants on show, as Gloucester City duo Reece King and Edji Mbunga were handed starts by Smith after joining the Pitmen earlier in the day on loan and dual registration respectively


Altrincham - relegated twice in the past two years - were looking to bounce back to step two after a woeful 2016-2017 campaign, that saw them and local rivals Stalybridge both demoted to step three. They had started the season slowly but had picked up plenty of good results in recent weeks, with Saturday's win over Grantham moving Alty up into an ominous eighth place in the table. They called upon former Hednesford striker Tom Peers to lead the attack, as well as naming former Hednesford loanee Jake Moult as captain


It was to be another night where goalkeeper James Wren was to excel in the Hednesford goal, as he singlehandedly kept the score down with a string of superb saves. His first save of the evening came in the sixth minute, blocking Josh Hancock's shot well before following that up with an even better stop two minutes later to divert Jordan Hulme's drive away from goal


Hulme was again involved for the visitors on twenty minutes, lifting his shot just over the crossbar as Altrincham continued to have the better of the openings against a limited, laboured Hednesford side


Peers briefly threatened for the visitors three minutes later, getting in first to head a corner kick towards goal, but watched as his effort looped up and landed on the roof of Wren's net


Wren was again called upon to keep his side in the game on twenty-seven minutes, as he made a brilliant double save to deny both James Poole and Peers in quick succession


The Pitmen threatened at the other end for the first time in the game with the next attack, with Tom Thorley dragging his long-range shot wide after a cross from Alex Melbourne


Altrincham's pressure finally told on thirty-two minutes, as Hulme found some space on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed an unstoppable shot that Wren had no chance of keeping out


It was double trouble for the Pitmen six minutes later, as Alty delivered a sucker punch in the evening's affairs. A deep cross from Hancock found Poole, who in turn found Hulme, who confidently fired home to give the visitors clear daylight


Peers tested Wren once more just before the break, forcing the keeper to turn his shot away. A minute later, Peers lifted another effort over the crossbar as a rampant Altrincham side continued to dominate proceedings


The Pitmen made an early substitution in the second half, with youngster Callum Bullock - who had looked out of his depth on Saturday - was replaced by the more physical presence of Joe Fitzpatrick in midfield


Peers and Wren continued to duel into the second period, with the striker flicking a corner kick towards goal on fifty-four minutes and forcing Wren into yet another save to his right


James Lawrie - quiet against his former club - had two half chances to reduce the deficit on fifty-six minutes, firing well wide from a Danny Glover knockdown, followed by a weak effort that was easily saved by Altrincham keeper Tony Thompson


Altrincham ended the game as a contest with a third goal on sixty-four minutes, as a corner kick caused chaos in the Hednesford ranks and was eventually turned home by Hulme who fired into the net from twelve yards out for his second goal of the evening


Lawrie's evening gradually got worse against his former employers, as he was booked on sixty-seven minutes for a late challenge followed by the ignominy of being hauled off a minute later as he was replaced by Wolves loanee Conor Levingston


Peers once again got his angles all wrong on sixty eight minutes, lifting another effort wildly over the crossbar from a good position just outside the Hednesford penalty area


With both sides resigned to their fate, the final twenty minutes drifted by with no real action as the visitors cantered to all three points. There was a late appearance by Tyler Lyttle, coming on for the ineffective Mbunga with five minutes remaining


Smith and Chambers will now be clear as to the job that is in front of them after two very poor performances in a row, with the tough games coming thick and fast with a trip to Ashton United on Saturday - not a happy hunting ground for the Pitmen in recent years, against another experienced, difficult opponent that will be tough to get anything out of


Hednesford Town: Wren, Melbourne, Weir, Bailey, Mutton, King, Bullock (Fitzpatrick 52), Thorley ©, Glover , Mbunga (Lyttle 85), Lawrie (Levingston 67)      Subs Unused: Oji, Platt


Altrincham: Thompson, Bembo-Leta, Densmore, Hannigan, Moult ©, Peers, Sheridan (Richman 56), Hulme, Hancock (Amis 70), Poole     Subs Unused: Short, Jones, Deasy

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