Vanarama Conference North

Hednesford Town

Robinson (9), (14)


Simm (8)

(2) 2

(1) 1



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Ben Bailey


Worcester City (A) 24.1.15

Hednesford provided the perfect reaction to losing their first game of 2015 in midweek by turning the tables on fellow play-off chasers Chorley this afternoon and claiming all three points against their Lancashire rivals at Keys Park

Tuesday night's late, late defeat to title-chasers Barrow was a real blow to the players and supporters who had endured a long journey to Cumbria on a cold, snowy Tuesday night, returning pointless despite a brief spell when they looked capable of taking all three points against the cash-rich hosts. Manager Rob Smith made the bold decision to drop midfielder Tom Thorley ahead of this afternoon's clash, bringing in new loan signing Nick Rushton up front and moving Jack Thomas into a role further back in midfield. Rushton had joined the Pitmen the previous day on loan from Wrexham in a deal that runs until the end of the season. Marvin Robinson was also included from the team in a surprise start for the big man in place of Steve Diggin. Tuesday's goal hero George McGee had to be content with another appearance amongst the substitutes despite his heroics at Barrow

Chorley had continued their excellent start to life in Conference North since promotion in May, establishing themselves amongst the frontrunners for a play-off place as Gary Flitcroft aimed for a second successive promotion for his Magpies side. Their hopes of a run in this season's F.A. Trophy were brought to a halt however in midweek as FC United of Manchester completed the job of knocking them out of the competition after taking their higher league opponents to a replay

The game started at a rapid pace, with any latecomers to the game left cursing their bad judgement as the main talking points in the game were created in the opening fifteen minutes of the game. In the very first minute, former Fylde midfielder Jack Dorney should have opened the scoring, but somehow managed to miss the ball as it was played across the penalty area to him

The Pitmen responded three minutes later through Jamey Osborne's long throw, finding the head of Ben Bailey who flicked the ball on to Glenn Walker. The in-form midfielder took the ball first time on the volley but fired wide of goal with a venomous shot from fifteen yards out

A rush of blood by Dan Crane gifted Chorley the opening goal of the afternoon in the eighth minute, as a long ball through the middle of the Hednesford defence saw Chris Simm race clear of Paul McCone and Bailey. Crane spotted the danger early and rushed out of the penalty area to deal with the ball. However, Crane took his eye off the bouncing ball at the crucial moment and proceeded to completely miss the ball with an air shot, allowing Simm the simple task of slotting the loose ball into the empty net from just inside the penalty area

Straight from the restart, the Pitmen forced an immediate leveller and spared Crane's blushes as Robinson duly justified his selection with an equaliser. A superb run down the right-wing from James Hurst saw the athletic right back beat two players and cross for Robinson, who sidefooted into the roof of the net at the near post to grab his third goal of the season

Skipper Darren Campion was forced into admitting defeat to a hamstring injury on thirteen minutes, leaving the Pitmen to reorganise their defence for the second game in a row. Thorley came on to replace Campion in a move that saw Walker move to left-back and Thorley slot into midfield

The break in play failed to quash the Pitmen's attacking intent, with the home side taking the lead a minute later through that man Robinson once again. Osborne's run from midfield gave the playmaker time to pick out an inch-perfect pass through to Robinson, who beat Chorley keeper Sam Ashton to the ball and slid in to divert the ball into the net

Osborne was farcically shown a yellow card on fifteen minutes for going in strongly on Tom Smyth in midfield and clearly winning the ball. Smyth's over-reaction to the hard-but-fair tackle will no doubt have played a part in influencing the referee's decision to book Osborne. Smyth himself was eventually booked for his part in an unsavoury period in the game

A marauding run down the left wing from Walker saw the winger swing in a cross from out wide, finding Richard Batchelor lurking on the edge of the penalty area. The midfield stopper hit a first-time shot at goal but pulled his effort wide of Ashton's left-hand post

A mazy run from Osborne in the twentieth minute saw him drift past three bemused Chorley players out wide before pulling the ball back into the path of Robinson, who fired over the crossbar from eight yards out

Simm was wasteful in his attempt to pull his side back onto level terms on twenty-two minutes, escaping the attention of Paul McCone to race onto an Adam Roscoe through ball but pulling his right-footed effort wide of Crane's post

A flurry of set-pieces for both sides failed to add to the scoreline before half time, although Chorley's ranks were depleted five minutes before half time as Smyth was stretchered off after coming off worst in a coming together with Rushton

A bright start to the second half saw Robinson make a run down the left and shrug off the attentions of Andy Teague, before laying the ball off into the path of Thorley, who fired wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area

Rushton's debut was brought to a halt on sixty-three minutes, as the loanee was replaced by another loanee as McGee was given a home debut by Rob Smith

Chorley were enjoying the majority of possession, particularly in the Hednesford third of the pitch, but were being held back at arm's length by the excellent pairing of McCone and Bailey, who did a sterling job to stifle the threat of Simm and striker partner James Dean

Robinson seemed determined to claim his first hat-trick for the Pitmen since that now-legendary day back in August 2011 and went agonisingly close to doing so on seventy-six minutes as Osborne's flighted cross from the left was headed onto the foot of the post by the big man, who rose highest at the far post to head back across goal

Chorley's best chance to rescue a point from the game came with five minutes remaining, as they pushed forwards in search of the elusive equalising goal. It was Dean who had a rare sight on goal, firing over the crossbar from a decent position after he had stolen in on goal in front of Bailey

In an attempt to see the game out and add an extra layer of protection for the defence, Alex Melbourne came on in the final minute of the game in place of Jack Thomas

A quick break out of defence in added time saw the ball played over the top to McGee, who showed his youthful inexperience as he fired straight at Ashton with the goal at his mercy

The Pitmen move level with fifth-placed Solihull Moors on points in the table, with the Birmingham side only keeping Hednesford out of the play-off places on goal difference. A likely return to Aggorough to face Worcester City is next up for the in-form Pitmen, who will be keen to finish the job carried over  from Boxing Day before the weather - and the referee - intervened

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion © (Thorley 13), Bailey, McCone, Thomas (Melbourne 90), Osborne , Walker, Robinson, Rushton (McGee 63), Batchelor      Subs Unused: Diggin, Sullivan,


Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Mather, Teague © , Smyth  (Winter 44), Roscoe, Dorney, Whitham, Dean, Simm (Hine 45), Cottrell (Hammond 79)      Subs Not Used: Lynch, Mulholland

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