Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Robinson (12), McCone (28), Harvey (33), Blissett (48)

Boston United

Miller (32), (64)

(3) 4

(1) 2



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Paul McCone


Stockport County (H) 14.1.14

Hednesford finally got back to winning ways to record their first three points of 2014 today after beating a below-strength Boston United side at Keys Park. This moves the Pitmen back to within two points of league leaders North Ferriby United and ends a five-match run without a win over the Christmas and New Year period

Coming off the back of a defeat to Ferriby last weekend, Hednesford manager Rob Smith made the bold decision to include Jamey Osborne in his starting line-up despite the midfielder having to take a late fitness test to be cleared to play. Marvin Robinson also managed to shake off the knock that kept him out of last week's game, with Neil Harvey and Kris Taylor the two players who missed out to allow the fit-again pair to play

Boston arrived in Staffordshire in the midst of a major injury and suspension crisis, with no less than seven players missing from their side. Three new signings in midweek had bolstered their ranks, with the seventh-placed Pilgrims lining up with an unfamiliar starting XI

Looking to utilise Robinson's power and presence, the Pitmen went close to making a positive start to the game on eight minutes; a cross from John Disney was laid back into Robinson's path by the head of Robbie Thompson-Brown, with the big man firing wide with a slightly miscued effort

Robinson made amends by grabbing his second goal since returning to Keys Park on twelve minutes, as a beautifully flighted cross from Elliott Durrell was met by the head of the striker, who powerfully headed beyond Boston keeper Lewis King from six yards out

Three minutes later, Robinson could have doubled his and the Pitmen's goal return as he beat young defender Stefan Galinski to the ball but slipped at the vital moment as he shaped to shoot at goal

Midfielder Robbie Thompson-Brown got his angles all wrong on twenty minutes, as he fired horribly over the crossbar after Durrell's corner kick had been cleared to him on the edge of the penalty area

Robinson went down in a heap in midfield clutching his leg midway through the half, with what looked like a return of the injury that had kept him out of the Ferriby game. He was replaced by Harvey, who joined Nathan Blissett up front

A barnstorming run and shot from Darren Campion on twenty-eight minutes saw the Hednesford skipper fire in a goalbound shot that was deflected past his own post by the leg of Boston's Carl Piergianni, giving the Pitmen a corner kick

Durrell's resultant kick was another gem, with the midfielder sending over a deep, swerving cross that Paul McCone had the simple task of nodding into the net as he was left unmarked at the far post

Having offered nothing in attacking terms in the first half-hour, Boston dragged themselves back into the game on thirty-two minutes through top scorer Ricky Miller. Osborne's attempted clearance rebounded into the path of Sunderland loan midfielder Liam Agnew, who slipped the ball into the feet of Miller. He turned Disney and fired beyond Dan Crane to bring Boston back into contention...

...Or so they thought, as the Pitmen went straight back down the other end of the pitch and restored their two-goal lead a minute later. Blissett did brilliantly to rescue what looked to be a lost cause, getting in behind the Boston defence to pick up a ball on the touchline. After coming inside, his low drive at goal was palmed away by King, who could only succeed in diverting the ball into the path of Harvey. the substitute needed little persuasion to end his recent goal drought, firing home from ten yards out to score his fifth goal of the season

The Pitmen were rampant going forwards, with Blissett looking particularly menacing after a quiet afternoon last Saturday when he was up against an experienced, well-drilled North Ferriby defence. He went close to scoring a third goal in four outings on thirty-seven minutes, as he bundled Galinski out of the way as he headed towards goal, but was denied by a good save from King

In the final minute of the half, Harvey almost capped a fine home performance with a deserved fourth goal, but his bobbled shot from Durrell's ball was easily fielded by King

Unlike recent outings, which has seen the Pitmen make slow, cautious starts to the second half, Smith's troops came out all guns blazing after the restart and effectively ended the game as a contest on forty-eight minutes through Blissett. Superb play by Thorley saw him evade three challenges before sending over a teasing ball that Blissett took down brilliantly before firing past King from eight yards out

Neat interplay involving Durrell and Osborne created an opening for Disney a minute later, with Osborne cleverly back-heeling the ball into the path of the marauding right back. However, Disney mis-hit his effort with his weaker left foot, shanking his effort well wide of goal

With one eye on Tuesday night's big game at home to Stockport County, Osborne was taken off as a precaution on fifty-five minutes and replaced by Taylor in midfield

Boston were limited to a half-chance for Marc Newsham on the hour mark, as he got in front of Francis to flick a header wide of Crane's left-hand post

Miller did reduce the deficit for Boston on sixty-four minutes, as the Hednesford defence dozed off and allowed Piergianni to thread a ball through to the in-form striker, who fired past Crane for his sixth goal in three games

Three successive corner kicks for the Pitmen threatened the fragile Boston back line, with Francis heading Taylor's deep corner kick narrowly wide of the far post from the final kick in the series

As the Pitmen looked to wrap the game up with twenty-two minutes remaining, Francis was taken off and replaced by fellow centre back Ben Bailey for the remainder of the game. The concern for all Hednesford fans will have been the sight of the giant defender limping off holding his hamstring

A low drive from James Reed was well dealt with by Crane on seventy-one minutes as Boston continued to press, with the home side looking to exploit the gaps that started to appear at the back for the visitors. Thompson-Brown got his shot all wrong on eighty minutes, as Taylor's corner kick fell kindly to the midfielder on the edge of the penalty area, with Thompson-Brown shinning his effort well, well wide of goal

With two minutes left, Durrell slipped the ball into the path of the luckless Thompson-Brown, who once again made a hash of his effort by firing high into the Heath Hayes end

Durrell himself almost added to the Pitmen's goal tally in added time, as King made a meal of a clash with the midfielder as they both challenged for a high ball. After initially going down in apparent pain, King sprung back to life when it became apparent that the referee was intent on playing on. Durrell tried his luck with a long-range lob, but King managed to get back and rescue the ball

All in all, a much-improved and much more confident Hednesford performance, their best since beating Stalybridge at Keys Park in December. With fallen giants Stockport coming to town in midweek, the Pitmen once again have the chance to go back to the top of the Skrill North table if results go their way

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, McCone, Francis (Bailey 68), Thorley, Osborne (Taylor 54), Durrell, Robinson (Harvey 21), Blissett (45), Thompson-Brown       Subs Not Used: Woolfe, MacPherson

Boston United: King, Agnew, Pritchard, Marshall (Dongo 80), Galinski, Piergianni , Ross © (Reed 45), Milnes, Miller, Newsham, Njie (Gascoigne 53)       Subs Not Used: Ward, Vince

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