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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


T. Dean (85)

Hednesford Town

Wells (9), Grantham (55)


(0) 1

(1) 2



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Kieran Wells




Hyde United (H) 26.2.19

The Pitmen gave themselves a huge - and timely - boost in their quest to move away from the Evo-Stik Premier League relegation zone today with a fine victory over in-form Buxton at Silverlands


Defeat last weekend to another in-form side, Marine, had left Nicky Eaden's side teetering precariously above the bottom three, just three points above the drop zone heading into today's sequence of games. Eaden and assistant Gary Hayward had again been busy in the transfer market, making three more additions to their squad ahead of their trip to Derbyshire. The experienced Danny Racchi had joined the club after a spell at Vanarama National League North Curzon Ashton, joined by left-back Ben O'Hanlon on loan from Darlington and Basford United forward Courey Grantham. All three players came straight into the side with Eaden unable to call upon Danny Lupano, Alex Melbourne, Ethan Jones and Nathan Fox for a variety of reasons


Buxton's recent form had seen them consolidate their position as one of the sides chasing a play-off spot, sitting slightly adrift of fifth place Scarborough Athletic following a run of only one defeat in their last seven league games. Managers Paul Phillips and Steve Halford had an enviable depth of attacking talent to call upon from their ranks, with Liam Hardy and Diego DeGirolamo joined in November by the experienced James Dean, a scourge of former Hednesford sides at AFC Fylde and Chorley in recent years


It was a beautiful sunny day in rural Derbyshire, with Buxton's new 4G pitch and surroundings looking resplendent in the early spring sunshine as the teams emerged. Dean was first to test Kieran Preston in the Hednesford goal with the first opening of the game on two minutes, picking the ball up in midfield before driving forwards and attempting a cheeky lob over Preston from long-range that clipped the top of the crossbar as it headed out of play

However, it was the visitors that struck first with their first meaningful attempt at goal in the ninth minute. Grantham won a free-kick thirty yards from the Buxton goal, allowing Alex-Ray Harvey to send over a sublime free-kick to the far post to find the head of Jon Moran. The defender's header was recycled by Kieran Wells, who did well to beat Buxton's young on-loan keeper Adam Bruce to the ball and head across the face of goal. Grantham's close-range effort came back off the crossbar but dropped kindly at the feet of Wells, who slammed the ball home from close range for his second Hednesford goal


Preston made a regulation save on thirteen minutes to claim a low shot from Callum Chippendale after the midfielder had slalomed his way past three Hednesford players down the left wing


Wells could - and probably should - have doubled his goal tally for the game a minute later as Buxton 's defence was opened up thanks to a long, raking ball forwards from Preston. Wells picked the loose ball up on the edge of the penalty area and attempted an audacious lob over Bruce, rather than sidefooting the ball into the net, slicing his shot onto the roof of the net


On-loan midfield man Jud Ellis suffered what appeared to be a leg injury in the nineteenth minute that left him floored in the centre circle. Despite lengthy treatment and a brave attempt to carry on for a few moments, Ellis was eventually forced off on twenty-two minutes and was replaced by Jack Hallahan in midfield


Chippendale was the first player who had his name taken by the referee at the same time as Ellis's substitution, following a late challenge on Harvey in midfield that had flattened the Hednesford number four


A fantastic spell of football from the Pitmen down the left wing saw Grantham, O'Hanlon and Harvey all involved in a fine period of passing that culminated in Grantham's low cross somehow cleared away by the panicky Buxton defence inside their own six-yard box


Hallahan's long-range effort sailed high over the crossbar for the Pitmen on twenty-nine minutes, before Buxton hit the woodwork for a second time in the game a minute later as Nico DeGirolamo's header from a corner clattered the top of the bar before going behind


Back came the Pitmen, with new boy Racchi the next player to try his luck with a raking long-range shot that dipped just over the crossbar after a neat sequence of play down the right-hand side


Buxton made what appeared to be an entirely tactical change on thirty-five minutes as Ashley Young was taken off in favour of Hardy. Young did not appear too happy with the decision as he made it clear to the management team what he thought of the decision to withdraw him so early on as he came off


Half-time saw the Pitmen warmly applauded off by their supporters after a measured, confident display in the first period and a deserved lead to take into the second period


In many of the Pitmen's games this term, the second goal of the game has been crucial to the overall outcome of the game, mostly going against Hednesford in the marginal encounters. This time, however, they finally got a goal that gave them clear daylight between the two sides on fifty-three minutes, with the tireless Wells once again in the thick of it again. Hallahan's raking ball out to the left-wing found Wells in space, with the striker steadying himself and sending over an inch-perfect cross to the far post, where Grantham was on hand to head the ball back across goal and find the far corner of the net for a memorable debut goal


Buxton started to commit more numbers forward as they looked for a way back into the game, with Brad Grayson testing the reflexes of Preston once more on fifty-eight minutes as his inswinging free-kick sailed into the arms of the on-loan keeper


A corner kick from Harvey found the head of Reece King at the far post on sixty-four minutes, with his downward header eventually falling to Wells. The striker tried his luck with a first-time effort that was far too high and way off-target


Diego DeGirolamo - on as a second-half substitute for Dean - lifted a good chance for the hosts high over the crossbar on seventy-two minutes as he picked up Moran's clearance but shot high over the crossbar from twelve yards out


O'Hanlon's game was brought to a premature end on eighty-three minutes as he was forced off what appeared to be a hamstring issue. Charlie Gatter was handed a rare chance to earn his place back in the team after a spell on the bench as he came on in place of the new boy


Buxton finally found a way back into the game two minutes later, as they reduced the deficit through defender Tom Dean. A deep corner kick from the left found the head of right-back Brad Roscoe, whose looping header was subsequently headed home by Dean from six yards out - his second goal in the last two games for the Bucks after scoring at Lancaster last weekend


Buxton upped the tempo in the final minutes but found the Pitmen's defence in commanding form, with Ben Bailey and Moran both standing firm in the face of the late pressure from the hosts. Shane Benjamin was brought on in the final minute of the game for the tireless Wells to give the Pitmen a solid  presence with their out ball


It had been a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for the Pitmen and their supporters, who had seen the Pitmen win their first away game in five games and hand them another crucial three points in their quest for survival. Other results elsewhere ultimately saw the picture remain broadly the same at the foot of the league table, but a morale-boosting win for Hednesford gives them real confidence to follow this win up with more points in their next three games, all at Keys Park. Hyde United are the first of this home triple header on Tuesday night, followed by Grantham Town next weekend. More of the same, please, Hednesford

Buxton: Bruce, Roscoe, Brown, N. DeGirolamo, T. Dean, Sephton, Chippendale  (Oyibo 61), Young (Hardy 35), J. Dean (D. DeGirolamo 60), Grayson       Subs Unused: Baguley, Coppin


Hednesford Town: Preston, Vidal, O'Hanlon (Gatter 83), Harvey, Moran, Bailey ©, Racchi , King, Wells (Benjamin 89), Ellis (Hallahan 22 ), Grantham          Subs Unused: Archer, Veiga

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