9.4.2013

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Harvey (3), Taylor (53), Lennon (62)

Blyth Spartans

(1) 3

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

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501

Michael Lennon

D W D L W W D W D W

Whitby Town (H) 13.4.13

Hednesford moved to within striking distance of the Evo-Stik Premier League summit this evening, after comfortably completing a league double over Blyth Spartans at a chilly Keys Park

Having played four games the previous week, the Pitmen made two changes to the side in a bid to keep the squad fresh and in form. Dave MacPherson was restored to the starting line-up, with Sam Barnes making way for the combative midfielder. Aaron Rey was ruled out due to injury, meaning Michael Lennon started up front alongside Neil Harvey. Nathan Woolfe was deemed fit enough to make the substitutes bench after groin problems in the past week

Boasting the best home record in the Evo-Stik Premier League this season, the Pitmen made another flying start as they looked for a thirteenth victory at Keys Park in 2012-13. Harvey seized upon a long ball up to him, before brilliantly turning Blyth skipper Wayne Buchanan and chipping his shot over the head of Spartans keeper Mark Cook from long range - a superb piece of individual brilliance from the Barbados international to add to his season's tally

Lennon went close to doubling the home side's advantage on five minutes as a pinpoint accurate free-kick from Kris Taylor was headed over the bar by the industrious Lennon, who has hit form at just the right point in the season as the Pitmen continue to press for the title

Two minutes later the newly-crowned Evo-Stik Premier League player of the year Elliott Durrell tried his luck with a swerving effort from twenty yards out that Cook was relieved to see curl wide

Durrell was involved again on twelve minutes, as Hednesford continued to turn the screw on a hesitant, disjointed Blyth defence. His free-kick found the head of Harvey, but the big striker headed wide of goal from a good position

The roles were reversed midway through the half, as Harvey laid the ball off into the path of Durrell, who lashed a shot towards goal from the edge of the penalty area. Cook was equal to the midfielder's effort and turned the shot away for a Hednesford corner

Spartans, backed by a small but loyal following that had made the ridiculously long journey down from Northumberland for this midweek game, finally got a foothold in the game on the half-hour mark. Midfielder Robbie Dale beat John Disney for pace down the Blyth left, cutting inside the full-back and firing in an angled shot that had Dan Crane scrambling at his front post to see the ball out of play

A minute later, Ryan McCorrigan tried his luck with a shot from twenty yards out that Crane was happy to watch past the post

McCorrigan did test Crane with his next effort, however, as the Gateshead loanee ran onto a through ball from Dan Maguire and fired in a shot that Crane did well to parry. The Hednesford stopper was thankful to skipper Darren Campion following his save, with the left-back hacking the ball clear as it deflected towards goal

Jamey Osborne had had a quiet evening up to this point, with the creative spark in midfield looking slightly off the pace as the Pitmen looked to the likes of the one-again impressive Taylor and man of the moment Durrell to create chances for the front men. The one chance that fell to him at the end of the first half was of his own creation, drifting past two Blyth challenges before unleashing a shot from twenty-five yards that dipped narrowly wide

Blyth thought they had levelled matters just a couple of minutes into the second half as Dale's effort was turned past Crane by Maguire, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside

This was to be a turning point in the game, as the Pitmen took advantage of this let-off by extending their lead on fifty-three minutes. Durrell won a free kick twenty yards out after being brought down by Jordan Mellish, allowing Taylor to strike a crisp free-kick past Cook - via a deflection off the wall - to score his second goal since arriving at Keys Park on loan

A third goal for the home side almost arrived via the boot of Harvey on fifty-eight minutes, as Ben Bailey flicked on a Durrell corner into the path of Harvey, who blasted over

A minute later, MacPherson went even closer to sealing the win, as his drive was deflected inches over the bar by a stray Blyth boot. The resultant corner from Durrell was whipped in with such venom that it skimmed to the roof of the net as it zipped across the face of goal

Durrell's growing influence on the game saw him set up the Pitmen's final goal of the evening on sixty-two minutes, as his thirty-yard free-kick was palmed into the path of Lennon by Cook, with the striker dispatching the rebound with confidence to score his fourth goal in six games

Harvey's game ended three minutes later, as the big man was replaced by Kyle Patterson up front

Blyth had a great chance to notch a consolation goal on seventy-one minutes, as Ritchie Slaughter played McCorrigan clean though on goal. Crane did his best to narrow the angle, forcing McCorrigan to strike the ball early - his effort cleared Crane, but also cleared the Hednesford crossbar

After MacPherson had had a goal disallowed for a foul on Cook, the Pitmen made their final changes of an increasingly bitter evening with Sean O'Connor replacing Lennon and young Asa Wright getting another chance in the first team as he came on for Osborne

Blyth continued to plug away as they looked for a goal to take home with them, and had a great chance to score with five minutes remaining. Dale beat Campion for pace down the right and crossed for Maguire, whose turn and shot was turned away from goal by a touch from Disney

Durrell went agonisingly close to adding to his twenty-five goals this term with five minutes remaining, as his cross deceived everyone and skimmed the post on its way out

Sealing this league double over Blyth moves them to within two points of long-time leaders North Ferriby United, ahead of another busy week of fixtures that sees the Pitmen host Whitby Town and Ferriby host Nantwich Town on Saturday

Hednesford Town; Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, Francis, MacPherson, Osborne (Wright 77), Durrell, Harvey (Patterson 66), Lennon (O’Connor 77), Taylor       Subs Unused: Barnes, Woolfe

Blyth Spartans: Cook, Slaughter, Kendrick, Mellish (Donnelly 74), Buchanan © ▆, Turnbull, Mason, Hooks (Bert 69), McGorrigan, Maguire, Dale       Subs Unused; Grant

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