Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town


Farsley Celtic

Cartman (35)

(0) 0

(1) 1



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Ben Bailey


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Scarborough Athletic (A) 5.1.19

Nicky Eaden's first game in charge of Hednesford Town ends in a familiar-looking scoreline for the Pitmen and their supporters, as in-form Farsley ease to victory over the hosts on this New Year's Day afternoon


Eaden - appointed as the club's new permanent manager this week following Francino Francis's unsuccessful term as caretaker/manager - had quickly got to work as he looked to turn around the fortunes of this flagging Hednesford side, who had slipped down the table following four defeats in their past four games. Alex Melbourne had returned to Keys Park for a fourth spell from Sporting Khalsa, coming in at right-back to replace the horribly exposed Kieron Dawes. Eaden had also bolstered his attacking options with the signing of striker Andre Johnson, who arrived at Keys Park on a dual registration deal from Vanarama National League North side Boston United


Adam Lakeland's Farsley had been the team to beat in recent weeks, having won all of their last eight league games to move them up to second place in the league table ahead of today's clash, only four points behind league leaders Nantwich. Lakeland's side was once again full of know-how and step two experience, including the prolific former Darlington and North Ferriby man Nathan Cartman up front, as they went in search of a ninth successive win to close the gap on the Dabbers


Farsley were on the front foot from the off, showing their togetherness and quality in the fourth minute as Chris Atkinson's through ball towards namesake Ben was deflected into the path of Cartman, whose shot from twenty yards out just cleared Josef Bursik's crossbar


The visitors were neat and tidy on the ball, playing with pace and purpose through the centre and looking for openings at every opportunity. On twelve minutes, Bursik was tested for the first time in the game as he fielded an inswinging cross from forward Luke Parkin aimed towards Cartman in the six-yard box


The visitors were forced into an early substitution two minutes later as the influential Danny Ellis was forced off due to injury, with the Farsley skipper being replaced by Mattias Britton


The dangerous Cartman was at the centre of Farsley's attacking threat throughout, forcing Bursik into another fine save on seventeen minutes as he picked up a Charlie Gatter header and struck a low shot that Bursik saved down to his right-hand side


Cartman was again the beneficiary of a dithering Hednesford defence midway through the half, as he seized upon Gatter's weak backpass and attempted an audacious lob over the onrushing Bursik, only to see his lob drift just wide of goal


The Pitmen had thus far been dreadfully unimaginative in their attacking approach, with the restored Lewis Archer and Johnson cast adrift as they the visitors' midfield had bossed the opening quarter of the game. Bursik was again called upon to make a simple save on twenty-four minutes to pounce on a weak effort from Parkin from the edge of the penalty area. the Pitmen broke quickly on the counter-attack, with Michael Howard linking up with Johnson down the right wing, culminating in a cross from the new-boy towards Archer, who failed to covert a great chance from six yards out by scuffing his shot away from goal


Bursik was again equal to two tame efforts from Paul Walker and Jack Higgins as Farsley ramped up the pressure, but it was an inexplicable route one ball that was to open up the Pitmen's stout defence on thirty-five minutes; a huge kick forwards from Farsley keeper Kyle Trenerry caught everyone bar Cartman ball watching, with the striker holding off a weak Gatter challenge to confidently lob the ball over Bursik and hand the away side the lead


The conceding of a goal stung the Pitmen, who responded through a Howard free-kick that was only a matter of inches away from finding the net at the far post as it flew across the face of the Farsley goal


Farsley made a second enforced substitution just before half-time as early substitute Britton himself was forced off due to injury and was replaced by Ousman Cham


The hosts had been completely outplayed by an impressive Farsley side in the first period, but Eaden had his new troops fired up at the start of the second period as they emerged with more purpose and threat going forwards. Just three minutes after the restart, a free kick from Jack Hallahan found the head of Gatter, only for Ben Atkinson to head Gatter's effort away from the Farsley goal


The Pitmen's more direct tactic certainly saw them see more of the ball, but a well-marshalled Farsley defence - managed brilliantly by former Bradford (Park Avenue) man Adam Clayton - had enough in hand to deal with the Pitmen's limited options going forwards


Eaden had seen enough from his side on sixty-seven minutes and brought on Dan Cockerline to offer more physicality up front as the disappointing Archer was taken off for the Southport loanee


Cockerline was straight into the action, getting on the end of an inswinging cross from Melbourne on seventy-one minutes to head towards goal, only to see his goalbound effort hit Clayton and drift away into the arms of Trennery


A long throw from Bailey four minutes later caused a momentary lapse of concentration in the Farsley ranks as Johnson seized upon the bouncing ball, only to see his half-volley fly wide of the post


Farsley caught the Pitmen on the counter-attack with ten minutes remaining, as Paul Walker found Cartman in behind the Hednesford defence. Bursik did brilliantly to narrow the angle and make a smothering save down to his right to deny Cartman a second goal of the afternoon


Cockerline again threatened for the hosts on eighty-five minutes, as Matt Dodd's cross found the big striker in the six-yard box; Cockerline did well to shimmy his way past Clayton and work a pocket of space for himself but found Trennery equal to his shot as he turned the ball away at his near post. From the resultant corner kick, Reece King rose highest to meet Hallahan's ball in but headed wide of the far post


The Pitmen became a little desperate in their attempts to earn a draw in the final minutes, snatching at chances and misplacing simple balls in the final third as they looked to force home an equaliser. Johnson skewed a shot wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area on eighty-six minutes before Howard made a barnstorming run across the Farsley penalty area before pulling his effort wide of goal two minutes later


As the game entered added time, Eaden was forced to make a substitution at left-back as Nathan Fox appeared to pull up injured. He was replaced by Isaac Cooper, who made a brief appearance on his home debut


So, another home game that has followed a recurring theme for many of the games at Keys Park this term - a willing, spirited Hednesford side outdone by a more experienced outfit, who do enough to earn themselves all three points without really being made to work for it, particularly in defence as the hosts once again lack any real quality to threaten their more knowledgeable opponents. It's a quick turnaround of games for Eaden and his new players as they make the daunting-looking trip to Scarborough Athletic at the weekend as they go looking for an increasingly crucial win to move away from the looming drop zone


Hednesford Town: Bursik, Melbourne, Fox (Cooper 90), Hallahan, Bailey © , Gatter, Dodd, King, Archer (Cockerline 67), Johnson, Howard     Subs Unused: Dawes, Abadaki, Veiga


Farsley Celtic: Trenerry, B.Atkinson, Baldwin , A. Clayton , Ellis © (Britton 14 (Cham 40)), Higgins, C. Atkinson, Syers , Parkin (Bett 83), Cartman, Walker     Subs Unused: Hill, Mitchell


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