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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Lawrie (90)

Coalville Town

Watson (76)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Sam Oji


Whitby Town (H) 27.1.18

The Pitmen's recent winning run was brought to an end by a hard-working Coalville side this afternoon at Keys Park, with the in-form James Lawrie rescuing a point for the hosts with a late, late equaliser after falling behind to Nat Watson's goal


Manager Rob Smith was celebrating his 300th game in charge of the club, receiving an award from the club ahead of kick-off to commemorate the milestone. Back on the pitch, Smith was without the services of both on-loan Mason Walsh and striker Joey Butlin, with both players missing out after failing fitness tests ahead of kick-off. This saw recalls to the starting line-up for Jordan Graham and Danny Glover, with Louis Harris and Jose Veiga returning to the substitute's bench in place of the recalled pair


Coalville had been on a similarly impressive run of form since the turn of the year, winning two and drawing the other of their three games so far in 2018. A 4-2 win over lowly Sutton Coldfield Town last week had moved the Magpies up into fourteenth place in the table ahead of today's game. Strike partners Dan Creaney and Nat Watson were the men in form, having plundered twenty-five goals in the league between them already this term - including three in the 5-2 destruction of the Pitmen back in September


Lawrie - man of the match in last week's five-goal hammering of Nantwich - was first to show his hand with the Pitmen's first effort on goal in the second minute. Picking up a James Fitzgibbon pass just outside the penalty area, Lawrie tried his luck with a dipping shot that was turned over by Matt Coton in the Coalville goal


Coalville's Watson responded by putting the ball into the net in the tenth minute, but an offside flag denied the striker his fourteenth Evo-Stik League Premier goal of the season


The two sides traded corner kicks in the next ten minutes as the two defences stood firm, with Sam Oji making a fine block to concede a flag kick to deny Tom McGlinchey a clear shooting opportunity on seventeen minutes


Both sides seemed fairly evenly matched in a patchy first-half showing, with set-pieces dominating proceedings as neither side had any real penetration in the final third. Oji and Charlie Gatter did well to nullify the threat of Creaney and Watson, whilst the Coalville defence easily had Graham and Glover at arm's length


The best chance of a poor half came towards the end of it, with Coalville's Jermain Hollis driving his first-time shot just over the crossbar after he was played through by McGlinchey on forty-one minutes


The only booking of the game came right at the start of the second half, as Alex Howes was shown a yellow card for twice pulling back Callam Mendez-Jones by his shirt as he moved forwards


A lacklustre piece of play from Joe Fitzpatrick almost presented Coalville with a goalscoring opportunity on fifty-two minutes as a bout of showboating from the midfielder saw him robbed of the ball just outside his own penalty area. The ball was played out to Cleveland Taylor, with the veteran former Corby man lashing his shot high over the crossbar


The Pitmen were again the architects of their own downfall six minutes later as a short back pass from Oji to James Wren was short, allowing Hollis to nip in between the two and lift his shot goalwards. Fortunately for Oji, Hollis's shot was off-target and fell just wide of Wren's right-hand post


The Pitmen's first change of the afternoon came on sixty-five minutes, with Reece King coming on in place of the under-par Fitzpatrick in the centre of midfield


The young midfielder was straight into the action on seventy-two minutes, making a run into the six-yard box to get on the end of a Lawrie free kick but headed his effort wide as he dived in to reach the inswinging ball


A great run from McGlinchey failed to get the finish it deserved on seventy-three minutes, as his run down the right wing saw him swing in a superb cross that flashed across the face of the Hednesford goal and out for a throw-in


Another deep cross, this time from the left hand side, finally broke the Pitmen's resistance on seventy-six minutes as Kyle Bryant's curling ball into the box was touched into the net by Watson, who just got enough on the ball to turn it past Wren from close range to give the visitors the lead


The Pitmen were indebted to the reflexes of Wren on eighty minutes as he kept his side in contention with a fine save at his near post, turning an angled McGlinchey shot away from goal and diverting it beyond the reach of Creaney


The Pitmen's second  - and final - change of the afternoon came with nine minutes left, as Harris came on in place of Glover, who had had no luck against the Coalville back line. This saw Graham pushed into a centre-forward position, with Harris slotting into midfield behind him


A great effort from Fitzgibbon on eighty-five minutes saw Coton forced into his first save of the half, making a fine stop to turn the winger's swerving shot away from goal


The minutes ticked by, with Coalville's defence holding firm against the Pitmen's late pressure. King's weak header from a long throw from Tom Thorley was easily saved by Coton on eighty-seven minutes


However, in the first minute of added time, the pressure finally told as Lawrie added to his recent goal glut with the crucial equaliser. A long ball from Wren found Graham, whose shot was deflected into the path of Lawrie by Danny Jenno. The ball sat nicely for the midfielder, who fired the ball into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area to level matters


Despite a late corner for Coalville that was claimed by Wren, there was little time left for either side to press for a winner. The Pitmen can be content with a point in a hard-fought game, whilst Coalville will be smarting at the late conceding of an equaliser. There were a number of tired-looking displays today from a side that has played an awful lot of football in the past three weeks, so next week's trip to Warrington may see a clutch of changes to the side. Butlin's injury also highlighted a lack of striking options within the squad, with a new forward surely in Smith's mind as they head into a week free of a midweek game


Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones, Curley, Fitzpatrick (King 65), Oji, Gatter, Graham, Thorley ©, Glover (Harris 81), Lawrie, Fitzgibbon  Subs unused: Mutton, Bailey, Veiga


Coalville Town: Coton, Taylor, Bryant, Jenno, Torr, Towers ©, McGlinchey, Hollis, Creaney, Watson (Dean 88), Howes (Anderson 76)   Subs Unused: Hannis, Dixon, Carvell


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