Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Sullivan (86), Riley (90)

Brackley Town

Odhiambo (32), Walker (69)

(0) 2

(1) 2



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Marvin Johnson


Gainsborough Trinity (A) 5.4.14

The Pitmen's three-game winning run is brought to an end this evening as a late two-goal salvo from the hosts earns them a point against Brackley Town at Keys Park

Saturday had seen Rob Smith's side earn victory over Stockport County in a memorable victory over the former Football League club at Edgeley Park to move them into the top three of the Skrill North table in the process. Smith made one enforced change to the side that had started at Stockport as Tom Thorley was ruled out with a knock and was replaced by Wayne Riley


Brackley arrived at Keys Park off the back of a league double header against Bradford (Park Avenue), with the Saints hammering Avenue 5-0 at the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday to move them into seventh place in the Skrill North table. Manager Jon Brady stuck with the same XI that had beaten Bradford three days earlier, meaning no place in the starting line-up for Steve Diggin, who had grabbed the winner in the reverse fixture back in November

On a cool evening, the Pitmen started assertively through the presence of recent signing Danny Glover, who did well to rob Tom Sharpe of the ball in the third minute after he had dawdled in possession and played loan signing Marvin Johnson into space down the left flank. The talented winger skipped past full-back Remy Clerima and crossed low into the Brackley penalty area, which was turned behind by veteran goalkeeper Billy Turley for a Hednesford corner

The hosts were hit with a significant blow in the eighth minute of the game as Jamey Osborne suffered what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder after landing heavily on the Keys Park pitch in midfield. He was taken off holding his arm and was replaced by Robbie Thompson-Brown

Veteran midfield man Brett Solkhon lifted a long-range effort over the crossbar for Brackley in the twelfth minute, followed a minute later by an off-target header on the stretch from Paul McCone as he attacked a Riley corner kick

Four minutes later, good play from John Disney saw the full-back exchange passes with Riley before sending over a cross to the far post, where Glover stretched to reach the ball but turn it past the post from eight yards out


 Neat interplay involving Mitch Austin and winger Glenn Walker on seventeen minutes saw the ball played into the path of Stefan Moore, only for the nemesis of previous Hednesford sides to slice his first-time shot wide of Dan Crane's goal from twelve yards out

The Pitmen responded with some good interplay of their own on twenty-one minutes as Thompson-Brown and Charlie Anagho-Ntamark linked up well in a move that saw Ntamark's low shot from the edge of the Brackley penalty area saved by Turley

McCone did well to deny Moore a great chance to open the scoring on twenty-six minutes as the striker skipped past Ben Bailey's tackle and head into the Hednesford penalty area before being dispossessed by his former Leamington team-mate promptly

An evenly-matched encounter tipped the way of the visitors just after the half-hour mark as they took the lead; holding midfielder Eddie Odhiambo picked up a loose ball just inside the Hednesford half and drove forwards before unleashing an unstoppable rising shot beyond the reach of Crane from twenty-five yards out, finding the back of the net via a deflection off the underneath of the crossbar

It very nearly 2-0 to the visitors just three minutes later as Moore showed a rare lack of composure in front of goal as he pulled his shot tamely wide after Walker had played him through on goal and beyond the Hednesford defence

With eight minutes of the first-half remaining, Bailey's long throw from the left was flicked on by McCone and into the path of Anagh-Ntamark, only for a smart block from former Tamworth man Dominic Langdon to deny the teenager a first-ever Keys Park goal to clear the danger inside the six-yard box

In the final minute of the first half, Riley was played through on goal by a fine slide-rule pass from Dave MacPherson, only for former Rushden & Diamonds man Turley to make a fine stop and push the former Northwich man's shot away from goal at his near post

The Pitmen could count themselves unlucky to be behind at the break, although they had lacked any real bite in the final third against a well-drilled Brackley defence that Turley was marshalling well

The hosts started the second half brightly with Johnson going on a mazy run down the left to leave two Brackley players in his wake; a deep cross to the far post was met by Glover, who could not divert the ball goalwards and allowed Turley to maker a comfortable save from his header

On fifty-three minutes, a quickly-taken free-kick from MacPherson found Johnson once more on the left-hand corner of the Brackley penalty area. The on-loan Kidderminster Harriers man tried to curl his shot beyond the reach of Turley but only succeeded in being his effort wide of the far post

Four minutes later, a low, drilled cross from Johnson found substitute Thompson-Brown lurking at the far post, only for the youngster to blast his effort high and wide of goal under pressure from Langdon from ten yards out

The visitors did well to weather the Hednesford threat at the start of the second half and could have doubled their advantage on fifty-nine minutes as Walker's run and pull-back found Mitch Austin whose weak effort was easily saved by Crane when he should have made the stopper work harder for the ball

Anagho-Ntamark's search for a goal to add to his strike at Stockport on Saturday wended on the hour mark as the man of the big occasion Marvin Robinson was brought on in his place to add more brawn to the toothless attack

Four minutes later, Riley skipped past the challenge of Odhiambo and struck a long-range effort at goal that had Turley clambering across his goal to watch the shot just wide of goal

On sixty-nine minutes, Brackley appeared to put the game out of the Pitmen's reach with another well-taken effort from range; flying winger Walker fired home an unstoppable free-kick from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area with a low shot that skipped past Crane and into the corner of the net to make it 2-0

The hosts made their final change of the game on seventy-four minutes as Smith rolled the dice one last time as Paul Sullivan came on up front for the out-of-sorts Glover, who had had little luck against the Brackley defence

This appeared to have a galvanising effect on the home side, who spent the remainder of the game peppering the Brackley goal with crosses and shots at goal in an attempt to get back into the game

Big man Robinson headed just wide of goal on seventy-eight minutes as Johnson's teasing cross from the left found the head of the ex-Derby County man, only for Robinson to head into the side-netting as Turley covered his near post.

Two minutes later, Darren Campion's up-and-under was flicked on by Robinson into the path of Riley, whose shot on the stretch was toe-poked straight into the grateful arms of Turley 

Brackley very nearly wrapped the game up with eight minutes remaining as a quick counter-attack involving Solkhon and Walker saw substitute striker David Bridges played through on goal, only for Crane to smother his shot after racing out of his goal to narrow the angle

The Pitmen set up a grandstand finish to the game with a crucial goal on eighty-six minutes following another period of pressure; man of the match Johnson was again involved as he got past Clerima once more and pulled the ball back into the path of substitute Sullivan, who tapped the ball home from close-range to give the Keys Park crowd hope

McCone headed wide at the near post from a Thompson-Brown corner kick on eighty-eight minutes before the Pitmen grabbed a late and dramatic equaliser to further underline their superb team spirit and character in the ranks; a cross from Disney into the Brackley penalty area was not dealt with by Turley, making his only error of the night at the critical moment by weakly punching the cross straight into the path of Riley, who nodded home at the far post unchallenged to grab the Hednesford equaliser and send the Heath Hayes terrace wild

Despite forcing two late corner kicks in a bid to snatch an unlikely winner in added time, the hosts had to be content with this battling point earned courtesy of their late two-goal salvo. Smith's side are back on the road at the weekend looking to further extend their unbeaten run and get back to winning ways with a trip to Gainsborough Trinity, who beat the Pitmen here at Keys Park back in December in the reverse fixture

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, McCone, MacPherson, Osborne (Thompson-Brown 8), Johnson, Glover (Sullivan 74), Anagho-Ntamark (Robinson 60), Riley      Subs Unused: Francis, Lennon

Brackley Town: Turley ©, Clerima, Langdon, Odhiambo, Sharpe, R. Austin, Mulligan, Solkhon, Moore (Bridges 77), M. Austin, Walker       Subs Unused: Nisevic, Story, Diggin, Rowe