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Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town

FC United of Manchester

Lindfield (6), Bayunu (47), Cooke (86)

(0) 0

(1) 3



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Tyrone Williams


Worcester City (A) 31.8.15

The Pitmen begin life after Rob Smith and Larry Chambers with a poor performance that lacked passion or battle, allowing newly-promoted FC United of Manchester to coast to an easy win at Keys Park this afternoon

Hednesford supporters had had forty-eight hours to absorb the news of the departure of their famed management team, who had chosen to return to AFC Telford United following an approach from their former team this week. Unsurprisingly, all of the talk ahead of kick-off amongst the home supporters was around who would be next to step into the Keys Park hot-seat, with club legend Chris Brindley taking the reigns temporarily for the next three games. He made one change to the side that had claimed a point at North Ferriby the week beforehand, bringing Marvin Robinson back into the fold at the expense of Kyle Perry up front

FC United finally fulfilled their ambition of reaching step two in the summer, gaining promotion to the Vanarama National League North at the same time as they completed work on their own stadium at Moston. Manager Karl Marginson had only tinkered with his squad ahead of the new season, bringing in the likes of former Telford man Sean Cooke to add to the quality he already had from his Evo-Stik Premier League winning side. They had, however, started slowly in the first five games, winning for the first time this term with a 3-2 win over Brackley Town last weekend

The game didn't take long to come to life, as Sean Williams dragged an early effort well wide of goal with a speculative long-range effort in the fifth minute of the game

From Dave Carnell's goal kick, FC United worked the ball up the left-wing and found Craig Lindfield. He drifted in from the wing and attempted a deep cross to the far post that seemed to catch everyone out, including Hednesford keeper Dave Parton, with the ball drifting harmlessly over the keeper's head and into the far corner of the net

Hednesford responded through last week's scorer Kennedy Digie, who headed a corner kick just wide of the far post after rising highest to meet the ball

Curtis Tilt had just as little luck as Digie three minutes later, heading wide of the near post after Tom Thorley's near post corner found the centre back lurking

A run of yellow cards for both sides followed as the game entered a scruffy phase midway through the first half; Sean Williams and Tilt were followed into the book by FC United captain Liam Brownhill for petty fouls, that on another day, would have gone unpunished

A marauding run from Andy Todd nearly brought the Pitmen level on twenty-four minutes, as his play down the left wing saw him cross for Robinson, who headed wide under pressure from Nia Bayunu

Obeng tried his luck with a curling effort just after the half-hour, bending a shot well wide of goal after he had cut inside from the left and left Dave Birch standing

FC United's Dean Stott and Cooke both ended up in the book in quick succession, with Cooke shown a yellow card for a ridiculous dive that failed to convince any of the match officials to give him the benefit of the doubt

With the first half coming to a close, Obeng was presented with a glorious chance to put the managerless Pitmen back on level terms at half time, as he was put clear by a Sean Williams through ball. The pacy striker took a little too much time to decide as Carnell raced out to meet him, with Obeng prodding his shot just wide of the left-hand post when it really should have found the back of the net

Half time saw a change in the Hednesford ranks, as Tom James came on at left-back in place of the unusually ineffective Robinson. This saw a reshuffle in the side that left Todd moving up the pitch into a left-wing position, which in turn allowed Obeng to play further forwards

Obeng's miss late in the first half was to be costly for the Pitmen, as FC United extended their advantage with the first meaningful attack of the second half; Cooke's deep corner kick found the head of Bayunu, who looped a header over the head of Parton to register his first goal for the club

Falling two goals behind prompted another change in tactics for Brindley, who brought on Paul Ennis in the fifty-fourth minute - taking off young Kennedy Digie, who had looked a little lost as the Pitmen failed to take a hold of the midfield battle

This failed to spark the hosts into life, with FC United going close to adding a third goal just before the hour mark; Parton partially cleared a Cooke corner kick with a punch away, before Tom Greaves saw his follow-up shot cleared off the line by Thorley. Luke Ashworth seized upon the rebound but fired wildly wide rather than test Parton once more

Ennis was his bright and breezy self after coming on for the Pitmen, trying to make things happen with his dynamic passing style. With seventeen minutes remaining, two efforts from the playmaker were blocked by FC United before Carnell claimed the ball before Ennis could pounce for the third time

Two minutes later, Kyle Perry was introduced to the action in place of Nathan Modest to give the Pitmen more punch up front

 The Pitmen's miserable afternoon was completed shortly before the end of the game, as Cooke grabbed a sublime third FC United goal to finish the game as a contest. After picking up the ball just inside the Hednesford half, Cooke was allowed time and space to run forwards and chip the ball over the head of Parton and into the net off the crossbar

The Pitmen felt that they should have been awarded a penalty in added time, as the ball appeared to hit the hand of Stott as he and Perry tangled inside the area. However, the Pitmen's horrible week continued as the referee somehow failed to spot the infringement and waved play on

It's been a tough few days down this way, with Brindley having very little time to regroup and inspire his players ahead of a tough-looking away trip to Aggborough to face fellow strugglers Worcester City on Bank Holiday Monday. This rudderless performance will mean a swift, effective appointment of a new manager is an absolute must for Hednesford Town at this point in the season

Hednesford Town: Parton, T. Williams, Todd, Bailey ©, Tilt , Thorley, S. Williams , Modest (Perry 72), Robinson (James 45), Obeng, Digie (Ennis 53)       Subs Unused: Adams, Spencer

FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Birch, Brownhill © , Stott (Thurston 61), Bayunu, Ashworth, Wolfenden, Fallon, Greaves (Daniels 73), Cooke, Lindfield (Madeley 58)      Subs Unused: Murray, Norton

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