Vanarama National League North

Brackley Town

Diggin (20)

Hednesford Town

Perry (32)

(1) 1

(1) 1



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Andy Todd


Bedworth United (H) 26.9.15

The Pitmen's stuttering league form left their fans and Bernard McNally frustrated this afternoon, as a dominant second-half display saw them fail to take one of several chances they had to claim all three points against Brackley Town

Tuesday night had seen more frustration for the Pitmen at home to Gloucester City, with more defensive inadequacies allowing the Tigers to claim a late point. McNally made the bold decision to start with only one striker in the form of Tuesday's goal hero Kyle Perry, bringing Phil Trainer back into the side after the veteran midfielder had spent a short spell at Sutton Coldfield Town

Brackley had spent the first quarter of the season hovering around the relegation spots, with manager Jon Brady ending his long reign at the club last week by resigning. Frank Sinclair was in caretaker charge of the club for this game, naming former Hednesford trio Glenn Walker, Steve Diggin and Dan Crane in his starting line-up


It was a lethargic start from the visitors, who looked uncomfortable as they tried to get to grips with their new formation. Tom Thorley set up Andy Todd for an early sight at goal, but the veteran utility man was crowded out on the edge of the Brackley penalty area and the ball was cleared

The first real chance of a glorious afternoon in Northamptonshire came in the seventh minute for the home side, as Gregory Kaziboni got in behind the Hednesford defence to pick up Walker's through ball,  but somehow fired wide of goal with only Dave Parton to beat

Diggin - with a point to prove against the side he failed to impress last season - almost provided the moment of inspiration on nineteen minutes as he darted clear of the Hednesford defence and set up strike partner Sam Smith, whose goalbound shot was brilliantly cleared off the line by the retreating John Disney

However, the Pitmen were to be undone by a cross into the area once again a minute later, as Jack Truelove's cross from the Brackley right allowed Diggin all the time in the world to head gleefully into the far corner of the net to open the scoring

Walker was presented with a further opportunity to add to Hednesford's woes four minutes later, as he won a free kick in a move that saw Ben Bailey booked. However, the popular midfielder lashed his long-range effort high and wide of Parton's goal

This seemed to galvanise the Pitmen, with Todd and Thorley getting more involved in the attacking side of the game as they looked to support lone man Perry. They got their reward just after the half-hour mark, with Perry on the scoresheet for the second time in two games. A superb run from Matt Regan saw the youngster break down the left and pull a cross back into the path of Perry, who turned former Hednesford triallist Pablo Mills and fired a low shot beyond the reach of Crane from twelve yards out

With their new-found confidence, the Pitmen upped their game going forwards, as Sean Williams strode into a shooting position on thirty-four minutes and flashed a shot wide of Crane's goal

Brackley responded three minutes later through centre-back Curtis McDonald, who headed Walker's inswinging corner wide at the near post after beating Perry to the ball

The visitors made a much brighter start to the second half, and almost went ahead for the first time in the afternoon just five minutes after the restart; A surging run from Bailey was checked by McDonald, earning the Pitmen a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Thorley tried his luck with a low drive across goal, missing Crane's far post by a matter of inches

Trainer somehow managed to get his name in the referee's notebook on fifty-six minutes after being adjudged to have fouled Truelove wide on the Hednesford left, despite the assistant standing inches away from the incident flagging in Hednesford's favour

The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on sixty-three minutes, with Paul Ennis adding some attacking zest to the team after replacing Kennedy Digie

This move gave Hednesford an immediate jolt, as Ennis was swiftly into the action; he played the ball to Sean Williams, whose cross was fired over by Perry, who had to stretch to reach the ball

 Ennis was again involved for the Pitmen on seventy-four minutes, as a superb spell of play saw the Pitmen open up the Brackley defence with neat, intricate passing that ended with Thorley just failing to find Perry with a pull-back from the touchline

A minute later, Todd was replaced by Tom James, who slotted in on the left wing in front of Regan

The change in the side since Ennis's introduction was noticeable, with the diminutive playmaker almost sneaking in for a goal of his own with eleven minutes left as Bailey's throw landed at his feet. However, he saw his snap-shot blocked by Mills as the Pitmen threatened

Mills was again on hand to smother a low drive from Regan a minute later, diverting the left back's shot away from goal for a Hednesford corner

From the resultant Ennis kick, Sean Williams let fly from the edge of the box with a powerful shot that saw Crane produce a brilliant flying save to his right-hand side

Regan's game was over with a few moments left, as he limped out of a tackle and was replaced by Ahmed Obeng as a precaution

There was still time for the Pitmen to have arguably their best chance of the game in added time, as Ennis lifted a free-kick over the Brackley wall, only for McDonald to come from nowhere to head the shot off the line, with Crane well beaten

Both sides will feel they had legitimate claims to taking all three points, but in truth neither offered the genuine quality in front of goal to earn the spoils. The Pitmen take a break from league duties next weekend when they host Southern Premier League side Bedworth United in the second qualifying round of the F.A. Cup

Brackley Town: Crane, Samuels, Truelove (Morley 83), McDonald, Mills, Austin, Kaziboni (Winters 72), Walker, Smith, Diggin, Moyo      Subs Unused: Graham, Story, Farrell

Hednesford Town: Parton, Disney, Regan (Obeng 87), Bailey ©, T. Williams, Trainer, S. Williams, Thorley, Perry, Todd (James 75), Digie (Ennis 61)      Subs Unused: Robinson, Modest

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