Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Howard (90)


Diego De Girolamo (36)

(0) 1

(1) 1



Current Form

Next Match


Callum Coyle




AFC Mansfield (A) 27.10.18

The Pitmen earn themselves their first home draw of the season this evening but left it late to claim a point against visitors Buxton at an autumnal Keys Park


Saturday had seen Rob Smith's side blow a dominant lead at Matlock Town to take only a point from a game that had seen them 3-1 up at one stage in the second half. Smith shuffled his pack ahead of this evening's game against Matlock's local rivals, receiving the news that captain Stefan Galinski had been ruled out fo the game due to an injury picked up in the lead up to Hednesford's third goal at the weekend. Josh Craddock was handed a long overdue start after his spell out injured, inheriting the captain's armband from Galinski in the process in one of two changes to the side, the other being Sam Grimshaw's return to the side in place of Nathan Fox


Buxton came into the game sitting above the Pitmen in the league table in eighth place, coming off the back of a slightly disappointing 2-2 draw at home to basement club North Ferriby United. Former Ashton United management team Paul Phillips and Steve Halford had built upon last season's eighth-place finish with a number of impressive signings, particularly in attacking positions. Former Sheffield United and Bristol City striker Diego De Girolamo had joined his brother Nico at Silverlands to add to the already-strong strike options of Liam Hardy and Anthony Wilson, with Coalville Town striker Tolani Omotola joining the Bucks recently to add even more firepower to their ranks


The hosts showed purpose in the opening exchanges, with Joe Fitzpatrick's free-kick claimed by Buxton keeper Theo Roberts in the second minute, followed by a long-range effort out wide from the in-form Dan Sweeney a minute later that drifted wide of goal


Sweeney had a great chance to add to his recent goal glut on five minutes, breaking clear of the Buxton offside trap and attempting to chip the ball over the advancing Roberts, only to be denied by a smart save from the Buxton number one


Two minutes later, Archer was presented with another great chance after he had broken the Buxton offside trap, only for the youngster to waste his chance by allowing skipper Greg Young to recover and tackle him as he seemed surprised at not having the flag raised against him


The visitors came back into the game through the tricky Jude Oyibo, who made his way into the penalty area from the left wing. His touch, however, was too heavy and allowed Josef Bursik to claim the ball inside his box


Sweeney did have the ball in the net for the Pitmen on thirteen minutes, chesting down a Matt Curley cross and fired home, only to be denied by an earlier offside flag against him


 The chances continued to come and go for the hosts, with Coyle the latest player in white to waste a good chance on nineteen minutes. A powerful run from Archer saw the forward cut inside from the right and power his way past Tom Dean, sidefooting the ball into the path of the on-loan midfielder as he reached the six-yard box. Coyle was perhaps a little over-elaborate with his finish, attempting a clever flick with his right foot that drifted just wide of the far post with Roberts stranded on his line


The closest Buxton came to a goal in the opening quarter came courtesy of a mistake from Fitzpatrick in midfield on twenty-one minutes, as the youngster was robbed of the ball by Joe McGee. McGee made a quick break down the right and crossed towards Omotola, only for Callam Mendez-Jones to make a fine last-ditch challenge to beat the new Buxton striker to the ball


Craddock - still without a goal to his name since his summer return to the club - ballooned a great chance over the crossbar on twenty-nine minutes, lashing his volley over the crossbar from eight yards out after a Sam Griffiths throw-in had been flicked on at the near post by Reece King


For all the pressure exerted on the Buxton goal, the Pitmen had flattered to deceive in the final third during a frustrating first period. Fitzpatrick was wasteful with successive corners that failed to clear the first man before Archer somehow failed to head Curely's cross home with a tame effort at the near post on thirty minutes


Bursik was called upon to make his first save of the evening on thirty-three minutes, making a fine one-handed stop to his right to turn Young's long-range effort away from goal


Buxton made the most of an error from Sweeney on thirty-six minutes to take the lead against the run of play; the on-loan striker made a terrible error of judgement in a pass back towards Grimshaw, only succeeding in playing Diego De Girolamo in behind the Hednesford defence. The striker did well to side-step Mendez-Jones and fire low past Bursik to hand the away side a lead they barely deserved


A late rally at the end of the half saw the Pitmen force three corners in a row, but again poor distribution from both Fitzpatrick and Grimshaw saw Buxton defend with consummate ease to see themselves through to the half-time break


 The second half saw Hednesford start with purpose once more, with Coyle seeing his shot turned behind by Dean just three minutes after the restart


Buxton went close to adding to their advantage on fifty-two minutes, as Diego De Girolamo's deflected shot was brilliantly saved by Bursik, who did well to re-adjust his body to dive to his left to tip the ball behind for a Buxton corner


Another powerful run from Archer down the left wing on fifty-six minutes saw the striker cut inside of Josh Meade and get his shot away, but his effort lacked power and was easily fielded by Roberts


A frenetic piece of play inside the Buxton penalty area a minute later saw Archer and Sweeney both have chances blocked before Coyle eventually managed to get a shot away from a tight angle, seeing his shot deflected just wide of the far post for another Hednesford corner


 A quick break from Buxton on fifty-eight minutes saw Diego De Girolamo break clear once more, but a combination of Griffiths and Bursik succeeded in putting the striker off his stride as he dragged his effort across goal and was intercepted 


A minute later, Sweeney carved out another chance for himself as he collected Coyle's pass on the edge of the penalty area before swiftly turning Young and unleashing a great shot that Roberts acrobatically turned away to his right-hand side


The Pitmen made their first substitution of the evening on the hour mark, with Grimshaw - running out of steam following his recent lay-off - replaced by Fox at left-back


 Craddock again failed to make the most of his presence in the penalty area on sixty-eight minutes, volleying straight at Roberts from the edge of the six-yard box after Archer had played a Fitzpatrick free-kick into the path of the skipper


With nineteen minutes left, Craddock was handed a well-earned rest from a combative return to action as Smith elected to change his formation with the introduction of striker Dan Cockerline. This move saw King return to his natural midfield role, with the defence moving to a flat back four


With fifteen minutes remaining, the Hednesford fans were beginning to get the feeling that it wasn't going to be their night, as a deep free-kick from Fitzpatrick reached Griffiths, whose looping header came back off the base of the far post before being cleared by the Buxton defence


Buxton had offered little in the final third throughout the half, preferring to soak up the pressure and catch the Pitmen on the break. A free-kick from Brad Grayson found substitute Liam Hardy on eighty-two minutes, but the usually-prolific striker toe-poked his effort wide of goal


As the minutes ticked by, the Pitmen threw on their final attacking change with four minutes remaining as Mendez-Jones was taken off in favour of the attack-minded Michael Howard


And what a substitution it proved to be, as in the second minute of added time, Howard snatched a point for the hosts; a long, raking ball forward from Bursik caught out the tiring Buxton defence, finding Howard darting in behind the Bucks back line. Howard did well to take a touch and compose himself before firing past Roberts for his fifth goal of the season from a tight angle


Over the course of the game, a draw was a fair result for both sides' efforts during a keenly contested ninety minutes. Much like Saturday, Hednesford will have been smarting at wasting a good number of chances in the first half to take full control over the game and allowing Buxton to score against the run of play. Smith's side take a break from league action at the weekend when they make a first-ever trip to AFC Mansfield in the first qualifying round of the F.A. Trophy


Hednesford Town: Bursik, Curley, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick, Mendez-Jones (Howard 86), Craddock © (Cockerline 71), King,  Coyle , Sweeney, Archer, Grimshaw (Fox 60)   Subs Unused: Francis, Veiga


Buxton: Roberts, Meade, Brown, Nico De Girolamo, Dean, Greg Young ©, Oyibo, Grayson, Omotola (Coppin 54), Diego De Girolamo (Hardy 63), McGee (Chippendale 68)    Subs Unused: Gee, Ashley Young