Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Sammons (20), Carline (71), Flanagan (78)

Corby Town

(1) 3

(0) 0



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Lewis Wright


Blyth Spartans (H) 15.10.16

For the second successive week, the Pitmen provide the perfect response to a narrow weekend defeat with a dominant midweek display, this time putting struggling Corby Town to the sword at Keys Park to move back into third place in the league table

Saturday's late defeat at local rivals Rushall Olympic had left many smarting at more wastefulness in front of goal, with Liam McDonald's side once again creating a hatful of chances at Dales Lane but lacking the forcefulness to turn chances into goals. Despite criticism over his part in Rushall's late winner, Dan Crane remained in goal for the Pitmen, who made three changes - Ashley Sammons, Tristian Dunkley and Calum Flanagan all returned to the side in place of Gurjit Singh, Joel Logan and Kyle Rowley

Corby - relegated alongside the Pitmen from Vanarama National League North in May - had struggled to adapt to life back at step three after a period of uncertainty in the summer regarding their placing in the Northern League or Southern League. Earlier in the day, the Steelmen had confirmed that manager Tommy Wright had left the club, leaving his team second bottom of the table at the start of play

The Pitmen nearly made a flying start to proceedings on a cold late autumn evening, with centre-back Jimmy Mutton going close to opening his account for the Pitmen in the third minutes with a flying header that dipped just wide of goal after Sammons had found his former Redditch team-mate with an inswinging corner

The hosts thought they had opened the scoring two minutes later as Danny Glover's shot is partially saved by Corby's stand-in keeper Monty Parkes, with the ball looping up over the keeper and heading for the net. George Carline and Dunkley challenged for the ball and it appeared that one of them had forced the ball marginally over the goal line before it was hacked clear by Liam Marshall. Despite the claims, however, the assistant on the Wimblebury side decided against awarding the goal and play continued

Neat, precise play from the Pitmen down the right saw Glover - watched by his Port Vale legend father Dean - test Parkes at his near post on eighteen minutes, firing in a low shot that was well held

A minute later, Glover went agonisingly close to adding to his tally for the season as he somehow directed a header inches wide of the far post after Sammons had found him with an inswinging corner

The excellent Sammons justified his inclusion in the side with his side's opening goal of the evening on twenty minutes - and what a goal it was. Picking the ball up from deep, Sammons unleashed one of his trademark long-range drives that beat Parkes to his right and nestled in the bottom corner of the net - a superb opener for the evening from the former Redditch and Birmingham man

Hednesford continued to dominate the game having the cushion of the goal advantage, with Lewis Wright a prevalent threat down the right as he continually turned Corby full-back, Jamie Anton, inside out with his attacking intent. In midfield, Tom Thorley was once again peerless with his passing and movement, whilst the return of Flanagan after suspension gave the defence a more rigid look to it

The Pitmen again felt hard done by the officials on thirty-four minutes as a quick break saw Dunkley burst through the Corby defence. Parkes came out to meet the striker and appeared to trip him as Dunkley knocked the ball past him. However, rather than award a penalty, referee Sarah Garratt booked Dunkley for diving

Glover was guilty of wasting another good opening on forty minutes, driving a shot wide with an ambitious effort from long-range rather than pass the ball to Carline

Mutton was doing his best to break his Hednesford duck, volleying narrowly over from ten yards out on forty-two minutes after Parkes had dropped a Sammons corner at his feet ten yards from goal


Corby had been fairly impotent as an attacking threat, highlighting their current predicament in the relegation zone and struggling to avoid back-to-back relegations from step two to step four inside a year 

In the final minute of the half, another Sammons corner was headed goalwards by Carline but saw his effort cleared off the goal line by Marshall once more on his goal line

The second half started with Hednesford a little less assured on the ball with several misplaced passes creeping into their game, allowing Corby more time on the ball. Sammons offered some respite to a scruffy start to the second period on fifty-three minutes with a dipping volley that cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches


A great run from Cohen Bramall three minutes later saw the former Nantwich man skip past the experienced David Bell and cross to the near post, where Parkes was on hand to push the ball away from the lurking presence of Glover

Dunkley's game was ended on fifty-nine minutes, as he was replaced by Jamie Matthews after getting another good spell of football under his belt in his bid to return to full fitness

Simeon Maye almost doubled his season's tally with a header on sixty-two minutes, somehow heading over the crossbar with a free header from a Sammons corner

Matthews' pace and persistence earned the Pitmen a chance to put clear daylight between them and Corby on sixty-three minutes, making a superb run across the face of the Corby penalty area before being brought down by Parkes, who was booked for the foul and the home side awarded a penalty kick. Glover stepped up and fired the resultant penalty straight at Parkes, who turned the ball away to his right with a relatively simple save

Matthews wasted another superb chance to extend the Pitmen's advantage on sixty-eight minutes, somehow heading wide of an open goal after he was found unmarked by Maye from only three yards out

Carline went even closer to doubling Hednesford's lead a minute later, clattering the inside of the post after he had made space for himself just inside the penalty area to unleash a powerful low drive

The Pitmen finally got the second goal that their efforts deserved on seventy minutes as Sammons' corner was firmly headed home by Carline to extend his superb scoring run to four successive games

2-0 became 3-0 eight minutes later, as Mutton finally got off the mark for his new club. Again, it was Sammons who was the provider, whipping in a corner kick that was glanced into the net by Mutton for a well-deserved third goal

The Pitmen could afford to make a strong double change straight after their third goal with Sammons and Glover replaced by Logan and Singh, highlighting the current strength in depth McDonald has at his disposal in attacking areas

Matthews continued to frustrate in front of goal, missing another glorious chance to snatch his first Hednesford goal on eighty-two minutes, as Bramall's cross was volleyed wide by the striker from close range when it looked easier to score. A poor miss on a par with his dreadful miss at Sutton Coldfield last week

Corby had had a rotten night going forwards, with their only shot of note coming on eighty-seven minutes as striker Ben Milnes fired just wide of Dan Crane's left-hand post after a quick break down the centre of the pitch

Singh went close to adding to the Pitmen's goal tally in the final minute, slaloming his way through three challenges before toe-poking a shot just wide of the right-hand post

The Pitmen move up to third place, four points off top after fourteen games and with the highest goals scored tally in the league so far. McDonald will no doubt take that at this point in the season, although there is still much more potential in this side to do even better than that. A run of consistent results still eludes them, with the much-fancied Blyth Spartans arriving at Keys Park on Saturday to test their confidence once more and the possibility of breaking into the top two in the Evo-Stik League table in the process

Hednesford Town: Crane, Wright, Bramall, Maye, Mutton, Flanagan, Sammons (Singh 78), Thorley ©, Glover (Logan 78), Dunkley ▆ (Matthews 50), Carline       Subs Unused: Ransome, Rowley

Corby Town: Parkes, Bell, Kennedy, Anton, Marshall, Webb, Ogilvie (Orenuga 74), Draper (Lee 51), Ball, Milnes, Crawford (Johnson 74)       Subs Unused: Marshall, Frisch