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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Carline (4)


Jackson (32), Garnett (84)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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George Carline


Sutton Coldfield Town (A) 4.10.16

The ten men of Hednesford fail to build upon their midweek win over Mickleover Sports as they fall to a first home defeat of the season to fellow high-flyers Buxton this afternoon at Keys Park

The Pitmen's dominant, but narrow, win over Sports on Monday night had extended their unbeaten run to four games and moved Liam McDonald's side into the top five of the Evo-Stik Premier League table in the process. McDonald stuck with the same XI that started against Mickleover, looking for his side to be far more assertive in front of goal after creating a whole host of chances on Monday night but struggled to convert them

Buxton arrived at Keys Park off the back of a 1-0 win of their own in midweek, having beaten struggling Corby Town at Silverlands in midweek courtesy of a Jamie Jackson goal. Manager Martin McIntosh stuck with the same side that had started on Tuesday night as he looked to build on the result and move his Bucks side up into the top two of the table

It was a cold, miserable afternoon at Keys Park with drizzle falling on the pitch for much of the afternoon's play. The home side made light of the wet conditions however by making a flying start to proceedings with a goal from their very first attack of the afternoon; Cohen Bramall's run and cross down the left flank was headed down by Danny Glover and into the path of George Carline, who coolly sidefooted past the giant Jan Budtz in the Buxton goal with a first-time effort from twelve yards out

Neat interplay from the home side three minutes later almost saw them double their advantage as Carline's clever reverse pass played Joel Logan in behind the Buxton defence, only for the winger to drill his shot narrowly wide of the target via a slight deflection

The resultant corner from Tom Thorley was played short to Bramall, whose looping cross was headed narrowly over the crossbar by the ever-willing Carline from eight yards out

More fine play from the Pitmen in the twelfth minute saw Thorley, Gurjit Singh and Glover combine to play Logan in down the inside right position, with his effort palmed away by Budtz at his near post

Logan chalked up a hat-trick of good early chance in the eighteenth minute as more impressive build-up play from the hosts through the centre of the pitch saw Glover play him in, only for the winger to see his left-footed effort turned away by Budtz. Thorley's inswinging corner kick was cleared as far as Singh, who lifted his effort over the crossbar from fifteen yards out

Midway through a dominant first period, the Pitmen once gain found Logan in space out on the right, only for his rising shot to clear the crossbar as it flew out of the ground

Buxton's first effort of note came a minute later as Brad Abbott seized upon a loose Hednesford clearance just outside the penalty area before scooping his shot over Dan Crane's head and the crossbar

Despite having the better of the play in the opening third of the game, the Pitmen were hit with a major blow on twenty-seven minutes as they were reduced to ten men; a quick break from the Bucks saw Niall Doran race clear before being halted by a block tackle from Calum Flanagan. To everyone's amazement, the referee showed the centre-back a red card for what appeared to be a fine challenge that saw him win the ball just outside his penalty area, with other Hednesford players covering behind him. There was disbelief on the pitch and in the stands, with some Buxton players also looking a little shocked at the red card award

The ten men of Hednesford continued to have the better of the game however and Thorley forced Budtz into a fine save on thirty-one minutes as Logan's cross was deflected into the path of the Hednesford skipper

A minute later, Buxton got themselves back on level terms as they made their extra numbers pay; Doran's run down the left wing saw him skip past Simeon Maye and cross for Evan Garnett, only for Jimmy Mutton to inadvertently divert the ball into the path of Jamie Jackson. The former Worksop man's first shot was blocked, but the ball ran kindly back to him to slot the ball past Crane from close range on the second occasion to equalise

The Bucks started to take control of proceedings and finished the half the stronger of the two sides. Alistair Taylor hit the underside of the crossbar on thirty-eight minutes after Jackson had picked the picket of Bramall and played Doran in, who in turn laid the ball off the Taylor on the edge of the area to hammer a shot against the woodwork

With two minutes of the half remaining, the experienced Ricky Ravenhill headed narrowly wide of the target as he met a Doran corner at the far post but could not get the angle needed to head past Crane

It had been a topsy-turvy first forty-five minutes, with the hosts feeling a little aggrieved at the poor decision that had robbed them of both Flanagan and their momentum at 1-0 up to let Buxton back into the game. There were two changes for the hosts at half-time as both Logan and Glover were replaced by Lewis Wright and Jamie Matthews respectively as McDonald made positional changes to his team to allow for the loss of Flanagan by moving Michael Williams to centre-back

The rain continued to fall during the early stages of the second half and many players took a tumble in the first few minutes as the Keys Park pitch played havoc with the balance of some of the performers. Bramall made a superb run down the left-wing on fifty minutes and sent over a fine cross that was just begging to be tucked away, but no-one in a white shirt was on hand to apply the finish from close-range

Crane was alert to the danger at his near post on fifty-three minutes, turning an angled drive from ex-Kidderminster man Garnett away from goal after Doran's low cross had been touched goalwards by the striker. The resultant corner was played short to Doran, whose curling shot from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by Crane on his goal line

Three minutes later, a run from Taylor saw him step inside Bramall's challenge and fire in a left-footed shot from the corner of the Hednesford penalty area that drifted just wide of Crane's near post

Abbott was wasteful with a wild effort for the Bucks on the hour mark, lifting his shot from eighteen yards out high over the crossbar after Jackson had teed the ball up for him

Neat build-up play from the Pitmen five minutes later saw Thorley and Matthews combine to play Singh in down the right-hand side, only for the striker to lash his shot wide of goal from twenty yards out

Garnett did well to nip in behind Williams on sixty-nine minutes and latch onto a slide-rule pass from Matty Williams, only to fire just wide of Crane's near post which the veteran stopper had covered

Mutton was lucky to not receive at least a yellow card for fattening Jackson in the centre of the park on seventy-four minutes, highlighting the inconsistency in the referee's judgements after sending Flanagan off for what had appeared to be a lesser challenge 

Mutton was involved at the other end of the pitch three minutes later as he scuffed a rebounded Thorley corner kick well wide of goal after Buxton had failed to clear their lines sufficiently

The pacy Garnett continued to give the Pitmen problems, turning past Michael Williams as he received the ball from Doran before a timely interception from Carline, who had tracked back from a more shallow role in midfield

The visitors could sense a winner from the remaining minutes as the Pitmen looked to hang on to their point and made two attacking changes with the game entering its final stages. This was to prove enough for them to snatch the lead on eighty-four minutes as Doran's trickery won a corner kick on the left flank which he floated into the six-yard box, where Garnett was on hand to nod home from close-range as he beat Maye to the ball

The Pitmen reacted with successive Thorley corner kicks on eighty-six minutes that were both scrambled away by Buxton, with the second one inexplicably cleared away by the boot of Matthews at the foot of the post as he diverted a Michael Williams header away from danger

Buxton were content to play on the counter-attack and pick off the desperate home side as they committed more men forwards in search of a leveller and nearly added a third goal with two minutes remaining as substitute Fabrice Beto-Leta drilled a shot from the edge of the area just wide of Crane's right-hand post

In added time, Jackson went even closer to sealing the win for Buxton as his low shot came back off the base of Crane's left-hand post before being cleared by Mutton

A disappointing afternoon for the hosts, who had seen their recent good form checked by another one of the league's high-flyers. The main talking point will, of course, be Flanagan's red card and the impact that it had on the game from both sides' perspective as it appeared that the hosts were cruising to a win before the centre-back was sent off. The games keep coming thick and fast for the Pitmen, who have a great chance to pick themselves up on Tuesday night when they make the very short journey to struggling Sutton Coldfield Town looking to get back to winning ways once more

Hednesford Town: Crane, Michael Williams, Bramall, Maye (Dunkley 88), Mutton, Flanagan ▆ (27), Logan (Wright 45), Thorley ©, Glover (Matthews 45), Singh, Carline       Subs Unused: Ransome, Sammons

Buxton: Budtz, Matty Williams, Green, Ravenhill ©, Burns, J. Bembo-Leta, Taylor (F. Bembo-Leta 83), Abbott (Evrington 80), Garnett, Jackson, Doran      Subs Unused: Brooks, Grayson

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