5.1.2013

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Harvey (26), (67), Rey (61)

Chorley

Russell (88)

(1) 3

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

493

Dave MacPherson

D W L W W W L W L W

Worksop Town (A) 512.1.13

The Pitmen quickly got back to winning ways this afternoon, as they register a league double over play-off chasing Chorley at Keys Park to keep pace with league leaders North Ferriby

After Tuesday afternoon's second-half horror show against Rushall, Hednesford made only one change to the starting line-up, as midfielders Dave MacPherson and Jamey Osborne were passed fit - goalkeeper Dan Crane returned to the starting line-up in place of Steve Dickinson, after serving a one-match ban in midweek with the veteran keeper returning to parent club Frickley Athletic

Chorley's form this term has been incredibly inconsistent, with changes to their attacking players over the course of the season disrupting their side. There was much humour and calls of 'are you Hednesford in disguise?' at kick-off, as Chorley emerged in the Pitmen's blue away kit from last season after the Magpies' away kit of sky blue and white was deemed too much of a clash for the Pitmen's white home kit

Both sides made a tentative start to the game, with both sides only creating half chances in a slow opening fifteen minutes. Andy Teague headed well wide from a corner for Chorley on seven minutes, followed a minute later by a cross-shot from Aaron Rey that drifted a cross the face of goal and out of play

The crowd of just under 500 had to wait until midway through the half for the game to warm up, as both sides looked to win the midfield battle. Gradually, MacPherson and Osborne started to get a foothold in the game and dictate the tempo from central midfield. A through ball to Rey on twenty-one minutes saw the ex-Chorley striker test keeper Jack Cudworth's reflexes, firing in a low shot that the Chorley stopper did well to save

Chorley's Tom Ince went close to scoring with a low driven shot before the Pitmen thought they had won a penalty on twenty-four minutes. A cross from Nathan Woolfe was handled in the area by Keil O'Brien was spotted by the referee, who initially gestured towards the penalty spot. However, a late offside flag against Francino Francis changed his mind at the last moment, awarding Chorley a free-kick rather than pointing to the spot

Two minutes later, the Pitmen did indeed take the lead, but in quite bizarre circumstances. Durrell's ball in was claimed by Cudworth, who held the ball before trotting to the edge of his penalty area. Rather than kick the ball out of his hands, he elected to drop the ball and play it off the ground. He made the fatal error of not checking behind him before dropping the ball, allowing the lurking Neil Harvey to rob the ball off Cudworth and gleefully tap the ball into the empty net

Rey and Harvey's movement, ability on the floor and overall pace were again in evidence, as the highly-rated pair led Chorley's defence a merry dance. Rey looked to join his strike partner on the scoresheet on thirty-five minutes, dragging his shot wide of the post after good build-up play involving Osborne

The Pitmen avoided a similar collapse at the start of the second half to the one that they suffered on Tuesday afternoon, as Chorley emerged with more intent, but were snuffed out by the excellent defensive duo of Francis and Ben Bailey

Indeed, it was Hednesford who looked as though they were to add to their lead on fifty-three minutes, as Harvey broke clear and slotted home, but was pulled back for an earlier marginal offside flag

Chorley left-back Ince limped off on fifty-five minutes, suffering what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury, and was replaced by Simon Garner

The hosts added to their lead on the hour mark, as Rey finally got the goal that his efforts deserved. Harvey laid the ball into the path of Rey, who looked to create space for himself on the left-hand corner of the penalty area. He struck a brilliant low shot across goal, beating Cudworth and nestling the ball into the far corner of the net

A brief opening for Chorley saw Darren Stephenson cross for strike partner Ahmadi Porya, but he failed to divert the cross past Crane and missed what was to be his best chance of the game

A minute later, Andy Russell should have done better with a towering header from a corner, heading wide of goal with an unmarked header

Rey was involved yet again on sixty-seven minutes, carving his way through the Chorley defence with a run down the right. His progress was checked by a crude challenge from Garner, with Rey taking exception to the tackle and reacted angrily to the challenge. Both players incurred the wrath of the referee and were booked

From the resultant free-kick, Woolfe provided the perfect delivery, playing in a swerving ball into the six-yard box that Harvey was quickly on to. He had the simple task of heading past the exposed Cudworth to give the Pitmen a three-goal lead

This saw Rob Smith allow himself the luxury of making three changes in quick succession, with Harvey, Rey and the limping Darren Campion all replaced - on came Sean O'Connor, Michael Lennon and Sam Craven in their respective places

Garner's rotten half for Chorley came to a premature end, as the substitute was substituted after suffering a blow to his head

Osborne almost capped a superb day's work from the hosts on eighty-three minutes, as he shimmied inside and fired a powerful shot against the crossbar

With two minutes remaining, Chorley grabbed what was very much a consolation goal through Russell. Mark Ross's long throw from the left was flicked into the path of Russell, who had the simple task of heading home from close range

It is a win that keeps Hednesford in touch with North Ferriby, who edged out Kendal in their home game today. With Marine losing heavily at home to Whitby Town, the gap below has extended to eight points, whilst the gap above stays at seven points. It's starting to look more and more like a two-horse race, with next week's tricky trip to third-placed Worksop a real potential test of the Pitmen's title credentials

Hednesford Town: Crane, Melbourne, Campion © (Craven 76), Bailey, Francis, MacPherson, Osborne, Durrell, Harvey  (O’Connor 78), Rey  (Lennon 79), Woolfe      Subs Unused: Disney, Barnes

Chorley: Cudworth, Ross, Ince (Garner 50  (Breen 79)), O’Brien, Russell, Whitham , Parillion , Teague ©, Porya, Stephenson, Roscoe     Subs Unused: Flitcroft, Jansen, Collinge

Images © copyright Pitmenweb