Vanarama Conference North

Hednesford Town

Glover (61)


Walker (50)

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James Hurst


Stockport County (H) 15.11.14

The Pitmen came through their biggest test to date this season with a creditable and well-earned draw against the highly-fancied league leaders Barrow at Keys Park

Fresh and full of confidence following last weekend's demolition job on Stalybridge Celtic, the Pitmen were forced into making one change to the starting line-up, with the experienced Chris Westwood only fit enough to make up one of the substitute's places. Francino Francis replaced him at the heart of the defence, returning to partner long-term central defensive colleague Ben Bailey

Barrow had, for the main, lived up to their pre-season billing as title favourites, having been bought in the summer by businessman Paul Casson with the intention of substantial funds being pumped into manager Darren Edmondson's budget for the season. This had seen fan's favourite Jason Walker return to the club from Forest Green Rovers and the highly regarded Anthony Wilson join the Bluebirds from fellow big spenders North Ferriby United

Both sets of players and supporters took part in an impeccably-observed minute's silence before the game started, ahead of tomorrow's national Remembrance Day

Skipper Darren Campion was first to try his luck for the Pitmen in the fifth minute, as the left-back hit a shot across the face of the Barrow goal but was denied by Barrow keeper Tony McMillan

Barrow's response came a minute later, as a corner kick from the right saw Andy Cook head over the crossbar when he should have given the visitors an early lead

Cook repeated the feat on eleven minutes, missing the target once again with a close-range header as he rose highest to a corner kick but headed narrowly over the bar

A mazy run from Jamey Osborne was halted by Izak Reid on fourteen minutes, with Danny Glover firing over the crossbar from the resultant free-kick after lining the ball up thirty yards from goal

On seventeen minutes, a flying run down the right from Glenn Walker saw the winger cut inside Andy McWilliams and fire narrowly over the crossbar with a rising shot

A bout of handbags in midfield on twenty-four minutes saw both Richard Batchelor and Paddy Lacey have their names taken by the referee after another heavy challenge on Osborne in midfield

Two minutes later, Campion was also booked for a crude, late challenge on Jason Walker down the Hednesford left-hand side

A long-range effort from Batchelor on thirty-three minutes saw the midfielder fired in a powerful drive that McMillan did well to make a save

The keenly contested battle in midfield continued to hot up as the half progressed, with Osborne the latest player to make his way into the book after he had slid in and taken down Andy Burns in midfield. Bailey ended the half as the fifth player to enter the book after making a clumsy late tackle on Cook in added time

Jason Walker showed a glimpse of the extra quality that his game brings to Barrow just five minutes into the second half, as the Barrow-born striker nipped in to give the visitors the lead. The Pitmen failed to clear their lines as a deep cross from the Barrow right dropped in the six-yard box, with Walker turning the ball home after Crane attempted to scramble the ball clear of goal

The Pitmen's response was impressive as they failed to let the goal get to them and went out in search of an equaliser; Glenn Walker's goal-bound shot was deflected away from goal by Reid on fifty-four minutes, followed a minute later by an effort by Batchelor which was blocked by Lacey

Crane kept the Pitmen in the game on fifty-eight minutes, making a superb stop to turn Johnny Gorman's cross-shot over the crossbar and away for a Barrow corner kick

The Pitmen's pressure told three minutes later, as Diggin's instinctive volley from the edge of the penalty area came crashing off the underside of the crossbar, beating McMillan all ends up. Glover was alive to the rebound and looped a header beyond the reach of the Barrow keeper and into the empty net to grab his eighth goal of the season

The hosts were now well on top of the game, with Bailey going close to giving them the lead for the first time in the game on sixty-eight minutes; a Campion comer kick caused chaos on the Barrow defence, with McMillan only managing to claw the ball into the path of the defender. His effort skimmed the crossbar on its way into the Heath Hayes end

Osborne forced the busy McMillan into another save on seventy-nine minutes, heading goalwards from the excellent Hurst's cross and making the Barrow number one make another stop to his left-hand side

The game became end to end in the final ten minutes, as both sides had chances to take all three points with them; Lacey curled a shot inches wide of Crane's right-hand post with seven minutes remaining, whilst Batchelor headed wide of goal a minute later after more good work from Hurst

With four minutes remaining, Marvin Robinson came on in place of Diggin in an attempt to conjure up another late, memorable Robinson moment at Keys Park

It was not to be, however, as both sides can be content with their efforts and settle for a hard-earned draw. The performance from Rob Smith's team was further proof of their improving form, fitness and confidence, with the Pitmen now unbeaten in four games. This run of form will come under severe examination next weekend when the Pitmen visit Edgeley Park to play fallen giants Stockport County

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion © , Bailey , Francis, Thorley, Osborne , G. Walker, Glover, Diggin (Robinson 86), Batchelor ▆.     Subs Unused: Sullivan, Melbourne, Westwood, Love

Barrow: McMillan, Burns, McWilliams, Lacey , Livesey, Grand, Reid (Cribley 84), Harvey, J. Walker (Cowperthwaite 75), Cook, Gorman (Wilson 64)       Subs not used: Ellison, Pilkington