Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Sammons (84) (penalty)

Coalville Town

McDonald (67), Torr (90)

(0) 1

(0) 2



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Tom Thorley


Workington (A) 3.12.16

Paul Casey's Hednesford revolution is still waiting to get started, as the new manager's home debut was marred by arguably the team's worst performance of the season as they crashed to league new boys Coalville this afternoon


Last weekend's defeat to in-form Matlock had given Casey plenty to mull over during the week, with news emerging on Monday of an agreement between the Pitmen and Solihull Moors for the sale of top scorer George Carline. Casey moved quickly to cover off the sale of the nine-goal midfielder with the double swoop for midfielders Jamie Sheldon and Reece Leek, as well as strengthening his threadbare defensive unit with the re-signing of Kyle Rowley from Rugby Town after the former Walsall man had spent a short spell at Butlin Road


Coalville - promoted via the Evo-Stik Division One South play-offs last term - had found the going tough at step three, with inconsistency in their results hampering progress for Tom Brookbanks' side. Former Worksop and Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Massiah McDonald was the man in form for the Ravens as they arrived at Keys Park for the very first time on a wet afternoon in Staffordshire off the back of a 3-2 defeat against Whitby Town last week. Brookbanks made three changes to the side that had started against Whitby, with Alex Dean, Ryan Robbins and Danny Jenno brought back into the side at the expense of Alex Troke, Dean Freeman and Nat Watson

Gurjit Singh - who had looked a peripheral figure in Casey's first few games in charge - tried his luck with a fifth-minute shot that flew high and wide of the Coalville goal


The Ravens were cagey in their initial approach to the game as they looked to bounce back from last weekend's defeat and had a good opening in the twelfth minute as Alex Dean's ball through found Kyle Bryant, whose shot on the stretch cleared Dan Crane's crossbar from a tight angle


Crane was called upon to make a great save two minutes later as McDonald's charge down the centre saw him play Ryan Robbins through. His first-time shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Crane for a Coalville corner

The dangerous McDonald went even closer to opening the scoring for Coalville on eighteen minutes as he picked the loose ball up on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area and attempted a curling shot beyond the reach of Crane that came back off the outside of the post before being cleared by Rowley


Calum Flanagan had to be alert to deny Robbins a clear sight at goal on twenty-two minutes, heading bravely away at the far post to deny Robbins a tap-in after Jack McMillan had whipped in a cross to the far post

Coalville continued to dominate proceedings with another good chance on twenty-eight minutes as Jenno headed weakly into the arms of Crane following an inswinging corner kick from McMillan

The one-way nature of the game continued after the half-hour mark, as Jamie McAteer headed narrowly wide from another McMillan cross, followed by another far post header from Steve Towers that was inches away from finding the net as Coalville recycled the ball on the left-wing

A rare break from the hosts three minutes later saw Jamie Matthews play Tristian Dunkley through on goal, only for an offside flag from the assistant on the Wimblebury side to halt the striker's progress


With seven minutes remaining in the first half, Robbins fired a volley just over the crossbar with the Pitmen once again allowing Coalville time and space to create an opportunity

With the final action of the first-half, Towers was denied a chance to fire home from close-range as McMillan's inswinging corner dropped in the Hednesford six-yard box, prompting a scramble amongst both sets of players and Towers pulling Calum Flanagan back as the pair challenged for the bouncing ball

Half time saw the Pitmen forced into a defensive change with centre-back Jimmy Mutton forced off due to injury picked up int he latter stages of the first period. Youngster Dan Brenan came on in his place for his Keys Park debut following his move from Loughborough University ten days ago


Coalville started the second period well in a continuation of their first-half domination with Crane making a smart stop on fifty-three minutes to deny McDonald from a direct free-kick after Rowley has clumsily brought down Bryant


Big Tony Clarke was handed a Hednesford debut on fifty-six minutes, brought on in place of the ineffective Tristian Dunkley up front as Casey took the opportunity to take a look at another one of his recent signings. Dunkley was suitably unimpressed with the decision at let the new manager know his thoughts as he trooped off

Skipper Tom Thorley was once again a cut above most of his team-mates, linking play well bu struggling to gain an early understanding with Leek in the centre of midfield after having Simeon Maye alongside him for the majority of the season so far. His long-range effort from thirty yards out on fifty-eight minutes was off-target and well wide of  Coalville keeper Sean Bowles' goal


The tricky McDonald created an opening for himself on the hour mark, cutting inside Rowley and Brenan before unleashing a low drive across goal that flashed just past Crane's post


The Ravens finally got the goal their incessant pressure deserved in the sixty-seventh minute, gifted to them through a stray ball from Ashley Sammons; the midfielder's loose pass back was seized upon by Robbins, who tried his luck with a first time shot. Crane did well to block not one, but two strikes, but could do nothing to stop McDonald scoring his sixth goal of the season from close range on the rebound


The disinterested Singh was replaced in the sixty-eighth minute, with Sheldon given a chance to impress for the first time after his recent move from Stratford Town. This may prove to be Singh's final game for the club as that is now three successive games he has been hooked by Casey after a poor performance and other strikers coming in to challenge his place in the team


The goal seemed to force the Pitmen into making a game of it at long last, with Clarke's run and cross blocked by Jenno on sixty-nine minutes before it could reach strike partner Matthews


The Pitmen started to exert some pressure on the Coalville defence as they pushed the visitors back into their own third of the pitch; Sammons drilled a shot well wide of goal on seventy-three minutes before Thorley's incisive pass into the penalty area was fired wide by Clarke via a deflection off McAteer's boot

The hosts were rewarded for their persistence in the eighty-fourth minute with a penalty kick after Thorley was fouled in the penalty area by Jenno. Sammons stepped up and atoned for his earlier error by firing past Bowles to level matters once more

Suddenly the Pitmen were attacking in waves as they sensed an unlikely winner; Flanagan headed well wide form a Thorley free-kick with three minutes left, followed by an almost-identical chance for Clarke in the final minute of the game from Sammons' cross


However, it would have been an injustice on Coalville for them not to have taken all three points from a game they had dominated for large periods, and with the game entering added time they scored the winner through Lee Torr. Picking up a loose ball, defender Torr beat two static Hednesford defenders before firing in a low shot that found the bottom corner of Crane's net

The Pitmen three numbers forward in a desperate late attempt to rescue a point once more, having done the hard work to get themselves back into the game with six minutes left and had looked the more likely to win it late on to no avail as Coalville stood firm to record a morale-boosting win over the Pitmen


Casey will be aggrieved at the manner of the conceding of a late, late goal, but will be more concerned about the poor all-round display from his team that had looked disjointed and unhappy with the formation and tactics The next week will prove interesting as Casey continues to re-shape his squad, so expect more ins and outs ahead of next week's long trip to Workington as the whites look to get back on track after three successive defeats under their new manager


Hednesford Town: Crane, Rowley , Bramall, Sammons, Mutton (Brenan 45), Flanagan, Leek, Thorley ©, Matthews , Singh (Sheldon 67), Dunkley (Clarke 56)       Subs Unused: Wright, Shearer


Coalville Town: Bowles, Bryant, Torr, McAteer, Jenno, McMillan, Walshe, Towers, McDonald (Holmes 85), Robbins (Demidh 70), Dean (Rojewski 79)      Subs Unused: Freeman, Coton