17.9.2016

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Singh (55), (67)

Ashton United

Baguley (7), Chadwick (64)

(0) 2

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

375

Simeon Maye

W W L D D W L W D

Nantwich Town (A) 24.9.16

Despite a swashbuckling second-half display, the Pitmen have to settle for a point against fellow high flyers Ashton United this afternoon at Keys Park, thanks to Gurjit Singh's double strike

Last week's demolition job on Frickley Athletic had left Liam McDonald with several welcome headaches, with several players making a strong case to start this afternoon. Sean Geddes as ruled out of the game through illness, with Joel Logan rewarded for his bright cameo last weekend by replacing Geddes. Gurjit Singh was also restored to the starting XI in place of Jamie Matthews, who could count himself unlucky to be dropped to the bench after an excellent performance against Frickley. Demetri Brown - impressive in pre-season - made his first appearance of the season amongst the substitutes after returning from a spell at AFC Wulfrunians

Much had changed at Ashton since they had beaten the Pitmen 2-0 on the opening week of the season, with management team Paul Phillips and Steve Halford leaving to join Vanarama National League North neighbours Stalybridge Celtic. They had been replaced by the experienced duo of Will Haining and Jody Banim, who had continued the good work of their predecessors by remaining unbeaten in league action so far this term

The visitors showed their step three credentials on seven minutes, as they took the lead with their first attack; a long throw from the left fell to Chris Baguley, whose low drive squirmed under the body of Lloyd Ransome in the Hednesford goal and into the net

Danny Glover tried his luck with a dipping free-kick two minutes later but lifted his shot over the crossbar after Singh had been fouled just outside the penalty area

Ashton looked dangerous on the break throughout the opening quarter of the game, playing neat, direct football that caused the spluttering Pitmen problems. Baguley almost added to his tally on fifteen minutes, heading narrowly wide from a Ryan Crowther cross

Two minutes later, a superb pass from Jack Dorney found Crowther, who cut inside Cohen Bramall but got his shot all wrong as he squared up to Ransome

An Ashton corner kick on twenty minutes forced Ransome into action, with the Hednesford keeper scrambling Stephen Mason's cross away from goal under pressure from Lee Gaskell

 George Carline did have the ball in the net for Hednesford on twenty-one minutes, but his header was ruled out for an earlier offside flag as he headed Bramall's cross home at the far post

Another Glover free kick on the half-hour mark ended in the same place as his first earlier in the half, with the striker driving another shot high and wide of Ashton's goal with a wild effort

Ashton keeper Terry Smith made a smart save to deny Glover two minutes later, fielding another free-kick with ease after Glover had finally cleared the Ashton wall with a dipping shot

Gaskell headed wide of goal from a Crowther cross on thirty-seven minutes, with what turned out to be the final goalmouth action of the half as Ashton held the hosts off with relative ease

McDonald's half time talk looked to have the desired effect for his side, as they started the second half with far more desire and purpose. Singh was first to test Smith's reflexes on forty-eight minutes, racing onto a through ball and firing straight at the Ashton keeper

Lewis Wright made a rare venture into the Ashton penalty area on fifty-one minutes, sending over a drifting cross-cum-shot that clipped the far post on it's way wide of goal

The Pitmen finally got themselves back onto level terms on fifty-five minutes, with Logan paying a square ball into the path of Singh, who took a touch and turned on the ball before firing low past Smith for his third goal of the season

The Pitmen were on the up and went close to capitalising on their dominance a minute later ad Singh played Glover in on goal, only to be denied by a superb save by Smith

However, an inspired moment from Ashton substitute Matt Chadwick in the sixty-fourth minute turned the game back into Ashton's hands, as with his first touch, the striker driving past a couple of challenges before taking the ball around Ransome and slotting home from a tight angle

Last-ditch defending from Ashton denied Singh an immediate response, as Logan's deep cross was turned goalwards by the Hednesford goalscorer before being smuggled away by a combination of players in purple

A minute later, Singh did put the finish to another Hednesford move, bundling the ball home from close range after Bramall's free-kick was headed back towards goal by Carline

In an attempt to go and win the game, McDonald took off the out-of-luck Glover for the speedy Matthews with just over twenty minutes of the second half remaining

Matthews was quickly into the action, making a mazy run down the left before crossing for Logan, who fired high over the crossbar from ten yards out with a rising shot. A good chance wasted by the former Rochdale man

A delightful free-kick from Tom Thorley on seventy-three minutes picked out the head of Carline, but the midfielder headed straight into the grateful arms of Smith from point-blank range

The Pitmen made their final two changes as the game entered the last ten minutes, with Ashley Sammons coming on for Singh and Brown making his debut in place of Logan

A frenetic final few minutes saw chances fall to Brown, who fired over the crossbar after being played in down the right, and Bramall, whose driven shot was turned behind by Smith for a corner

A draw was arguably a fair result for the efforts of the respective sides, with the hosts doing well to get themselves back into the game after their worst half of the season so far. There is still much to be done behind the scenes if they are to realise their potential, starting with the trip to struggling Ilkeston this coming Tuesday night as they look to inflict more misery on a downtrodden Ilson side that has struggled on and off the pitch so far this term

Hednesford Town: Ransome, Wright, Bramall, Thorley ©, Mutton, Flanagan, Logan (Brown 81), Maye, Glover (Matthews 69 ), Carline, Singh (Sammons 79)      Subs Unused: Crane, Williams

Ashton United: T. Smith, Coo, Mason, Frost, Connor, Lees (Lofthouse 87), Crowther, R.Smith, Gaskell, Baguley (Chadwick 60 (Nevins 74)), Dorney      Subs Unused: Banim, Haining

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