4.9.2012

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Woolfe (58), O'Connor (61)

Eastwood Town

(0) 2

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

439

Dan Crane

W W W D D W

Redditch United (A) 8.9.12

The Pitmen moved into third place in the Evo-Stik Premier League this evening, as they swept aside crisis club Eastwood with a dominant second-half performance at Keys Park. In the process, Rob Smith's men completed an early-season league double over the Badgers, who have yet to pick up a point since returning to this league in the summer

Having played just forty-eight hours earlier at FC United of Manchester, Smith and assistant Chris Brindley made a number of changes to the side to ensure key players were given a well-earned rest. Phil Clarke came in ahead of Dave MacPherson in midfield, whilst Sean O'Connor and Michael Lennon were both given their first starts of the season ahead of deadly duo Aaron Rey and Neil Harvey. Sam Barnes was named amongst the substitutes after recovering from a leg injury

After impressing with an excellent attacking performance on Sunday, the Pitmen were more muted in their early approach to the game. Jamey Osborne fired a warning shot in from the edge of the penalty area after picking up a deflected cross from Darren Campion

A minute later, An corner kick from Nathan Woolfe found skipper for the night Francino Francis, who flicked the ball over the crossbar at the near post

Eastwood, despite their lowly league position, looked a threat going forward, as they had in the reverse fixture two weeks previously. The Badgers really should have taken the lead on thirteen minutes, as good build-up play saw TJ Nightingale fire across goal from ten yards out after a mistake from Francis. With the ball drifting into the corner of the net, Anthony Griffiths Jnr. decided to be the hero and tap the ball into the empty net, despite being in a clear offside position. To the disgust of his team-mates, and the humour of the Keys Park crowd, Griffiths Jnr's 'goal' was disallowed

A minute later, Crane made a superb stop to deny Nightingale, parrying the ball away from goal after the Eastwood man had fired in a shot from ten yards out

The Pitmen slowly came back into the game as the half wore on, and a free-kick Elliott Durrell caused Eastwood problems just before the half-hour mark. His ball in from the left was flicked just wide by Lennon, via a slight deflection off an Eastwood defender

Badgers midfielder Alex Troke forced Crane into another good save on thirty-five minutes, drilling in a long-range shot that Crane did well to smother inside his six-yard box

Durrell went close to giving the Pitmen the lead just before half time, whipping in a free-kick that Eastwood keeper Sam Andrew did well to claim in front of a number of incoming Hednesford players. A minute later, a free-kick from an identical position from Durrell saw him curl the ball inches wide of the far post

In added time, Durrell rose highest to meet an inswinging corner from Woolfe, heading powerfully onto the crossbar. Ben Bailey reacted quickest to the rebound, but could only fire over the bar with a rising shot

Another stern half time talk from Smith and Brindley saw the Pitmen make a strong start to the second half, with their offensive approach immediately reaping the benefits. Woolfe collected the ball ten yards inside the Eastwood half, before stumbling on the ball. He regained his composure and climbed to his feet again, making a mazy run forward and unleashing a superb low shot that beat Andrew from fully twenty-five yards out

Eastwood responded immediately, with left-back Paul Riley forcing Crane into another fine save low down to his left as the defender looked to curl the ball into the far corner of the net

The Pitmen moved further in front on fifty-one minutes, as a deep free-kick from Durrell found O'Connor lurking at the far post - the big man powerfully heading past Andrew from close range to score his first goal for the Pitmen since returning to the club

The hosts were rampant and surged forward in search of a third goal. A superb cross from Woolfe should have been converted by Durrell on fifty-four minutes, but the midfielder headed wide of goal at the far post

Durrell, looking to continue his fine goalscoring form, tested Andrew with a low shot on the hour mark after he picked up a ball from the excellent Woolfe

O'Connor and Durrell very nearly linked up again for a third goal on sixty-six minutes, but Durrell's deep cross was missed by the big striker as he looked to turn the ball into the empty net at the far post

The killer third goal continued to be elusive for the Pitmen, as Lennon headed a Francis cross wide of goal on seventy-three minutes

That was to be Lennon's final action, as he left the field with fourteen minutes remaining as Rey came on in his place. Strike partner O'Connor was also replaced, as Harvey was also introduced

Three minutes later, John Disney was also introduced in place of Clarke. This saw Alex Melbourne moved into a midfield position from right-back

With ten minutes remaining, a marauding run from Osborne saw him strike the ball inches wide of the far post, picking up an injury for his troubles

Andrew denied Durrell with five minutes remaining, as further off-target strikes from Woolfe, Rey and Harvey threatened to extend the Pitmen's lead. As it transpired, two goals were enough to clinch all three points, as the Pitmen moved up two places in the table ahead of the F.A. Cup weekend trip to Southern Premier League side Redditch United

Hednesford Town: Crane, Melbourne, Campion,  Bailey, Francis ©, Clarke (Disney 79), Osborne, Durrell, O’Connor (Harvey 76), Lennon (Rey 76), Woolfe      Subs Unused: MacPherson, Barnes

Eastwood Town: Andrews, Bailey (Raven 71), Riley (Piliero 86), Graham, Meikle, Green, Elliott, Troke, Nightingale (Simmons 81), Griffiths Jnr, Hollis      Subs Unused: Smith