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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Hednesford Town

Lennon (14), Taylor (61)

(0) 0

(1) 2



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Ben Bailey


Ilkeston (A) 20.4.13

After watching North Ferriby United beat Matlock Town 2-0 the previous night, Hednesford matched the league leaders' result against Buxton to remain level on points at the top of the table this evening

Going into a must-win game, the Pitmen were once again at virtual full strength against a Buxton side still harbouring hopes of gate-crashing the play-offs with four games remaining. Only Alex Melbourne (ankle) was missing again from the squad, as Rob Smith selected the same side that had soundly beaten Whitby Town at the weekend

The game kicked off with a gale-force wind blowing across the pitch, making the long ball game a difficult one to control. At over 1,000 feet above sea level, Silverlands is the highest football ground in the whole country, and it showed as both sides struggled with the conditions throughout

An early free-kick from Elliott Durrell gave Tom Turner in the Buxton goal a headache, as a swerving shot from the midfielder was well fielded by the home side's stopper

The precedent to an ill-tempered affair was set as early as ten minutes in, as Buxton manager Martin McIntosh was sent to the stands after a heated argument with the referee

Hednesford used this to their advantage straightaway, and grabbed the all-important opening goal on fourteen minutes; a long ball forwards from Darren Campion dropped in the wind, finding Michael Lennon on the edge of the penalty area. The in-form striker, who has scored four goals in his last four games, turned quickly and unleashed a quite superb shot that flew past a perplexed Turner and found the top corner of the net

The wind seemed to pick up as the half continued, with both sides really struggling to simply keep the ball on the pitch, never mind carve out any chances of note. Buxton rarely threatened a well-organised Hednesford defence, with Ben Bailey once again, simply imperious at centre back - with the youngster in this kind of form, it will be difficult for the club to hang on to their star centre back in the summer with bigger clubs undoubtedly keeping tabs on Bailey's progress

Dave MacPherson finally broke a monotonous period on twenty-eight minutes, picking up a loose ball and firing wide from twenty-five yards out with a wayward shot

Buxton defender Ash Palmer headed towards goal on thirty-five minutes, flicking a corner towards goal. The under-employed Dan Crane had to be alert to turn the ball away from goal down by his post

Lennon thought he had grabbed his second goal of the evening as he fired home off the crossbar, only for the goal to be ruled out as the referee had blown for an earlier foul in the penalty area

There was an explosive start to the second half, as a fairly innocuous-looking challenge in front of the benches saw a mêlée that involved most of the players from both teams, as well as members of both benches. After five minutes of handbags, lectures and a whole lot of finger-pointing, there was only one yellow card shown by the referee

Back to events on the pitch then, and Lennon was still looking for his second goal of the game; a low shot from the striker on fifty-two minutes was easily fielded by Turner

That elusive second goal came just after the hour mark, as Jamey Osborne earned the Pitmen a free kick in a dangerous position after one of his trademark mazy runs was halted by a foul. Kris Taylor - once again classy and composed in midfield - stepped up to unleash a quite brilliant left-footed shot that beat Turner all ends up

Buxton were struggling to create chances in the wind, with their game being summed up on sixty-nine minutes when a long throw into the Hednesford box got caught in the wind and drifted out for a Hednesford goal kick

MacPherson's strike accuracy failed to improve after his earlier mis-hit shot, as the veteran midfielder fired well wide with another long-range effort on seventy-five minutes after a corner had been partially cleared to him

Durrell's game was brought to an end on seventy-seven minutes, as he was replaced by Nathan Woolfe

A few minutes later, Lennon was given a great reception from the sizeable Hednesford following as he was taken off in favour of Sean O'Connor up front

The Buxton bench and supporters turned on MacPherson in the later stages of the game, as the veteran midfielder was booked for a crude challenge in front of the Buxton officials. He was eventually replaced by Sam Barnes in the final minutes of the game

A professional performance in difficult conditions lifts the Pitmen on to eighty-four points, level again with North Ferriby with three games left. Saturday could be a pivotal day in the season, as Ferriby have a difficult trip to Marine, whilst the Pitmen are back in Derbyshire at Ilkeston. It promises to be a tense, but exciting weekend as the season takes its final turn

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey , Francis, MacPherson (Barnes 90), Osborne, Durrell (Woolfe 84), Harvey, Lennon (O’Connor 89), Taylor       Subs Not Used: Rey, Patterson

Buxton: Turner, Black , Green, Istead ©, Palmer, Roberts, Stevens, Towey (Thornhill 79), Morris, Maxfield , Duncum Subs Unused: Haggerty, Reed, Lugsden, Muller

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