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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Hednesford Town

Bennett (55) (OG), Denny (57), Clements (63), Wellecomme (90)

(0) 0

(0) 4



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Nick Wellecomme


FC United of Manchester (H) 17.3.12

Hednesford boosted their play-off credentials with a four-goal win over basement club Burscough this evening - but the scoreline failed to reflect the 'game of two halves' nature that this league clash took on

Following the defeat to fellow play-off chasers Northwich on Saturday, manager Rob Smith made several changes to his inconsistent side. Out went captain Darren Campion, not selected by the club after his second red card for dissent in just a few weeks. His place at left-back was taken by Chris Shaw, who returned to the club during the day after leaving Blue Square Bet North strugglers Eastwood Town. Mark Beesley was unavailable for the game against his former club due to an agreement between the clubs at the time of the transfer, so new loan signing from Southport - Michael Ordish - was given a chance down the wing. Young defender/midfielder Sam Craven, who joined the club on loan from Mansfield Town earlier in the day, was named amongst the substitutes

Two of the new faces linked up inside the first minute to almost give the Pitmen a dream start to the game. Ordish's inswinging corner found the head of Shaw, whose firm header came back off the crossbar and back into play

This bright start quickly subsided, as the hosts pushed forward in search of a crucial win in their fight against relegation. Dan Crane was almost caught out by the bounce of the ball on three minutes, as a simple ball back bounced awkwardly past him and meant a chase back towards goal to field for the Hednesford stopper

Burscough striker Will Jones should have tested Crane's reflexes further on seven minutes, firing well over the bar after being neatly set up just inside the penalty area by Jack Brierley

Brierley himself created Burscough's next opportunity on ten minutes, making a darting run into the area and dragging a low shot just wide of Crane's near post

Crane was called into action seven minutes late, making a fine stop as Brierley was played into the area before firing straight at the Pitmen goalkeeper when many expected the net to bulge

It took the Pitmen until midway through the first half to find any composure and launch another attack, with Elliott Durrell firing the ball straight across the face of goal from out on the right-hand side, just out of reach of the onrushing Nick Wellecomme. Chris Clements played in the resultant corner and found Durrell lurking at the far post, with the midfielder striking the base of the post with a daisy-cutter of a drive

Durrell was involved again on twenty-eight minutes, chasing a Clements through ball behind the Burscough defence. On this occasion, however, Linnets keeper Craig Ellison was quickest to the ball and claimed it just before Durrell could prod the ball past him on the edge of the penalty area

Half time arrived without further incident or opportunity, with loanee Ordish's game coming to a premature end after picking up a knock late in the half. He was replaced at the start of the second half by Andre Landell, who lined up wide on the left at the start of the second half

After a disappointing first-half display, the Pitmen emerged with much more purpose and took the lead on fifty-five minutes. Jamey Osborne's through ball appeared to be a simple claim for Ellison, but inexplicably the Burscough keeper completely missed the ball. This allowed Wellecomme to lob the ball towards goal, with Burscough defender Moses Bennett chasing the ball back towards his own net in an attempt to clear. Rather than hack the ball away, however, Bennett only succeeded in making a complete hash of his clearance and only sliced the ball into his own net - a horrible goal all round for the home side, delight for the Pitmen's travelling faithful

Burscough's confidence came crashing down like a house of cards from this point, imploding in a manner similar to the heavy defeat suffered at Keys Park back in September. Within two minutes, it was 2-0 to the Pitmen, as Osbourne's mazy run saw him square the ball to skipper Jay Denny, who brilliantly slotted the ball past Ellison from eighteen yards out to grab a goal he has richly deserved in recent weeks

The Pitmen made the game safe just after the hour mark; a good run from Kyle Haynes saw him whip a cross into the far post from the right-wing, allowing Clements to turn the ball home from close range

Clements' game was ended with that goal, as he was brought off in favour of Liam Blakeman as he finished celebrating his thirteenth goal of the campaign

Now dominant, the Pitmen could have made it four just a couple of minutes later. Clements' corner found the head of Jermaine Johnson, but his miscued his effort and headed wide from eight yards out

Despite the gravity of the situation, Burscough continued to plug away, playing an impressive passing game that kept the Pitmen on their toes. Jones and Brierley linked up well on sixty-eight minutes on the edge of the area, with Brierley curling a shot just wide of the post with Crane scrambling to get across

Crane was called into action again ten minutes from time, making a smart stop to deny Jones with a parry away from goal for a Burscough corner kick

Five minutes later, Linnets substitute Bevan Burey missed a great chance to grab a consolation goal that Burscough had deserved, but his shot from close range ended up high over the crossbar

instead, it was the Pitmen who grabbed a fourth goal in the last minute of the game. Landell's ball broke through the tired-looking Burscough rearguard, setting Wellecomme on his way. the big striker kept his cool and lobbed the oncoming Ellison to complete the scoring

The result will no doubt be a big boost to the Pitmen, who entertain FC United of Manchester on Saturday - the big games just keep coming as the season enters the 'business end'

Burscough: Ellison, Camozzi, Quirk, Barnett, Williams ©, Tyson, Parry (Burey 70), Clarke (Glover 81), Brierley, Jones (Gornell 76), Wignall
Subs Unused: Brookfield, Horn

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Shaw, Dunkley, Johnson, Denny ©, Osborne, Clements (Blakeman 63), Wellecomme, Durrell (Craven 76), Ordish (Landell 45)       Subs Unused: Jevons, Bailey

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