Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Harvey (20)

Hednesford Town

(1) 1

(0) 0



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Jay Denny


FC United of Manchester (H) 28.1.12

It was a case of 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' for the Pitmen this evening, as they failed to follow up their fantastic win at Chester on Saturday in losing to fellow play-off chasers Marine

The Liverpool-based side had made moves up the table in recent weeks, currently occupying fifth place in the standings. Their home form had been topsy-turvy this campaign, with Rob Smith's side arriving looking for a fourth undefeated game away from Keys Park

The Pitmen made one change to the side that had defeated Chester, as Elliott Durrell and Mark Beesley switched places in the squad to allow Beesley his first start since joining the Pitmen. Danny Quinn, who returned to the club after a loan period at Mickleover Sports, was also named amongst the substitutes

The opening exchanges were fairly cagey on a bitter night at the Arriva Stadium, with the solid pitch playing its part in the lack of early chances. An early through ball by Paul Brown almost set Neil Harvey free for the home side, but Cheyenne Dunkley was alert to the danger and got across to clear the ball

Marine spent much of the next ten minutes in the Hednesford half, as a flurry of corners and free-kicks forced the Pitmen to defend inside their own penalty area. A combination of Dan Crane, Dunkley and Ben Bailey kept Marine at bay during a period of pressure from the hosts

A brief period of respite for the Pitmen came on ten minutes, as Jamey Osborne hit a curling shot that Marine keeper Ryan McMahon did well to turn away for a corner kick. This was closely followed by a marauding run from Kyle Haynes that culminated in a great cross that Beesley headed a yard or so wide of goal

Beesley was involved again on fifteen minutes, making space for himself before firing wide of goal once again from fully twenty-five yards out

The Pitmen's brief spell of pressure was ended by Marine on twenty minutes, as the hosts swept into the lead. A through ball from Michael Ordish set Harvey away, with the lanky front man firing confidently past Crane from fifteen yards out

A minute later, Marine almost added to Hednesford woes by going close to a second goal. Brown's free-kick was headed back across by Jon Goulding, with Crane doing well to deny Aaron Rey a certain goal from just a few yards out by scrambling the ball away from goal

Dunkley thought he had levelled matters just before the half-hour mark, as he rose highest to meet Chris Clements' inswinging corner. Harvey, doing his defensive work effectively, hacked the ball off the goal line and cleared away

Marine finished the half much the stronger, as another spell of pressure from the hosts could have put them out of sight before half time. Ordish's long-range shot was well held by Crane, followed by a quick counter-attack that saw Harvey again put pressure on the Hednesford back line with his movement. on this occasion, Bailey was alert to the danger and cleared a ball that was aimed at the big striker

Despite the pressure, Hednesford could have gone into the break on level terms as they launched the final attack of the half. Darren Campion's cross was flicked on by Gary Hay, but Clements slipped at the vital moment as he looked to get on the end of the move and missed the ball at the far post

Marine made a flying start to the second half, with three great chances to put the game out of sight. Rey was first with a chance, turning inside the area but hitting a rising shot over the crossbar. A minute later, Harvey was presented with a fantastic chance to score as he was played clean through by a Brown ball. However, he lacked any real confidence on the ball and fired wide when he should have at the very least tested Crane

The Hednesford stopper was called into action just a minute after, making a brilliant save to turn Brown's long-range shot away from goal and conceding a corner kick. Two dangerous corners followed, with the Pitmen struggling to clear their lines

The Pitmen had lacked a real cutting edge all evening up to this point, with a number of players looking jaded after their heroics on Saturday and a third away trip in just over a week all adding up. Ben Jevons did his best to pull the Pitmen level on fifty-seven minutes;  the midfielder headed Clements' deep free-kick towards goal, but his effort lacked any real power and allowed McMahon to field easily

A minute later, midfielder Jay Denny made a dash into the area and fired in a low shot that was well saved well by McMahon

Hay's nuisance value saw him create a chance out of nothing on the hour mark, as the burly striker made a great run past no fewer than five challenges before being denied by a last-ditch block just inside the penalty area

With the Pitmen still in with a chance of taking something from the game, Smith made three quick-fire changes in an attempt to grab an equaliser. Marvin Robinson replaced Hay, Liam Blakeman came on for Clements and Jevons made way for youngster Andre Landell

With ten minutes remaining, Beesley went agonisingly close to opening his Hednesford account as he hit a goalbound shot from the edge of the penalty area that McMahon got a hand on, turning the ball onto the crossbar and over for a Pitmen corner kick. The resultant kick saw Osborne send over an inswinging ball that Dunkley headed over the bar

A final assault on the Marine goal never really materialised from the Pitmen, who were running on empty at this point. Indeed, it was Marine who looked the more likely to score again in the final minutes, as Rey seized upon a tired clearance from Bailey and drove the ball just wide of the far post

All in all, a disappointing evening for the Pitmen, but with yet another away day on the horizon on Saturday they will have a swift opportunity to get back on track as they make the trip to FC United of Manchester in yet another table-topping clash

Marine: McMahon, Duff (Lundon 81), L. Barnes, Shaw ©, S. Barnes (Byers 90), Lawton (Fowler 81), Brown, Goulding, Rey, Harvey, Ordish
Subs Unused: Dawson, Latham

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Campion ©, Dunkley, Bailey, Denny, Osborne, Clements (Blakeman 74), Jevons (Landell 74), Hay (Robinson 72), Beesley      Subs Unused: Durrell, Quinn