Vanarama National League North


Carver (78), Hine (81)

Hednesford Town

Thomas (63), Digie (86)

(0) 2

(0) 2



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Lloyd Ransome


Nuneaton Town (H) 24.10.15

The Pitmen earn themselves a useful point this afternoon as they came away from Chorley with a hard-fought draw - but yet again there was a sense of 'what could have been', as Bernard McNally's side yet again threw away a winning position on their travels

Hednesford turned up in Lancashire off the back of an F.A. Cup defeat to league rivals Alfreton Town last weekend, in a game that had seen goalkeeper Dave Parton sent off. With his suspension kicking in, Lloyd Ransome made his full Hednesford debut between the sticks after returning to the club last month as cover for Parton. John Disney was ruled out due to injury before kick-off, which saw Kennedy Digie returning to the side in an unfamiliar right-back role. Adam Thomas was deemed fit enough to start the game also, with the winger replacing Nathan Modest and playing in a free role behind Ahmed Obeng

Chorley had shrugged off a sluggish start to their second season at step two and had moved into the top half of the table after a draw with high flying Solihull Moors two weeks ago. New man at the helm Matt Jansen had stuck broadly with the side that had done well last term, only adding the odd name to an already strong Chorley squad

Both sides made confident starts to proceedings, egged on by another healthy 1,000-plus crowd at Victory Park. Chorley strikers James Dean and Darren Stephenson linked up early on in the game to create the first chance for the hosts, as Dean's shot was deflected just over the bar by the big centre forward

 Stephenson wasted another good chance to give Chorley a lead on nine minutes, as Josh Hine's cross was turned wide of Ransome's goal by Stephenson's mis-hit shot

Ahmed Obeng was continuing his good recent form for the Pitmen, giving Andy Teague the runaround with his pace and nuisance value as he chased down balls from the likes of Sean Williams and Tom Thorley

Neat feet from Thorley saw him sidestep two Chorley challenges on twenty-three minutes, shooting from twenty-five yards after making room for himself and finding the grateful arms of Sam Ashton in the Chorley goal

Dean went closest to breaking the deadlock four minutes later for the home side, as Andy Bond's deep cross was headed inches over the crossbar

Chorley were having the better of the chances in an open first forty-five minutes which to the neutral must have been an exciting encounter; Harry Winter was a matter of inches away from scoring on thirty-five minutes, driving a low shot across the face of goal and agonisingly wide of the post

After another Thorley shot cleared the crossbar and ended up in amongst the Hednesford fans behind the goal, Ransome justified his inclusion in the side with a fine double save to keep the Pitmen in the game on thirty-seven minutes. Stephenson fired a low shot towards goal, which Ransome did well to block with his legs. As the ballooned up and towards goal, Ransome did well to recover and claim the rebound before Dean could turn the rebound home

Regan was to have the final effort of note in the first half, as he took the ball deep into the Chorley half before firing straight at Ashton from twenty yards out

The Pitmen had given as good as they had got in an entertaining first-half display, looking far more confident in defence than they had done in several games against a dangerous Chorley attack

McNally's side made a bright start to the second half, further adding to the belief that there may be more reward than just a point for the visitors if they were to take one of their chances. Obeng was denied a shot at goal by a smothering save from Ashton before Ben Bailey fired into the crowd with a rising shot from long range

The Pitmen were rewarded for their enterprising start to the half on sixty-two minutes, with Thomas grabbing his first goal of the season since his return to the club. A delightful cross from Andy Todd found Thomas lurking in the six-yard box, with the winger glancing the ball beyond Ashton to give the away side the lead

Chorley responded by winning successive corner kicks, as they pushed the Pitmen back into their own third. Bailey and Tyrone Williams stood firm in the face of the pressure, with the defensive pair and Ransome particularly impressive in turning the ball away from danger. The closest they came to grabbing an equaliser came on seventy-five minutes as Hine headed into the side netting after Ransome had partially cleared a cross by punching the ball away

The pressure continued to crank up in the next ten minutes, however, and the away side's fragile confidence at the back was shattered with twelve minutes remaining. A high ball into the Hednesford area looked to be a simple take for Ransome, only for the young stopper to be taken out by Dean as he rose to clear, allowing Accrington Stanly loanee Marcus Carver to turn the ball home from close range

...And, as has happened on far too many occasions already this term, the opposition took advantage of the game swinging back in their favour with a quickfire second goal three minutes later; a good run from Stephenson down the left saw him get the better of Digie, before sending over a pinpoint cross that Hine headed past Ransome from close range

This change in fortunes saw McNally make a swift double change with eight minutes left, as Kyle Perry and Modest came on for Obeng and Todd to give the Pitmen more fight up front

As it was, it was makeshift defender Digie that showcased his ability in the air once again to put the Pitmen level once more on eighty-six minutes. Thorley's free-kick out on the left wing was perfect for the powerfully built teenager, who rose highest to head firmly past Ashton from a couple of yards out to level matters

In the final minute, Perry was played in by Thorley, but any dreams of last-minute glory for the big striker were dashed by his weak effort that Ashton easily saved

Both sets of fans will come away from the game reasonably happy with a point, as neither side can really lay claim to have earned the right to all three points. Something of a local derby follows next weekend for the Pitmen, as Nuneaton Town make the short trip up the A5 to Keys Park to face McNally's crew, who are likely to have a couple of new faces available in the next seven days

Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Jarvis, Teague ©, Charnock (Doyle 55), Cottrell, Hine, Winter (Carver 66), Dean, Bond, Stephenson      Subs Unused: Guy, Lynch, Dodd

Hednesford Town: Ransome, Digie, Regan, Bailey ©, T. Williams, Trainer, S. Williams, Thorley, Obeng (Perry 82), Thomas, Todd (Modest 82)       Subs Unused: Ennis, James, Patterson

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