5.4.2014

Skrill North

Gainsborough Trinity

Stamp (15)

Hednesford Town

Johnson (12), Riley (71)

(1) 1

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

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343

Dave MacPherson

L L W L L W W W D W

Guiseley (H) 12.4.14

Hednesford took a big step towards the astounding feat of making the end of season Skrill North play-offs this afternoon after out-battling Gainsborough Trinity at Northolme this afternoon to earn all three points

Rob Smith's troops had given their prospects of finishing in the top five a real shot in the arm in recent games, claiming seven points from nine to give themselves breathing space ahead of other sides pushing hard for their place in the play-offs. Back-to-back wins at Colwyn Bay and Stockport County was followed up with a hard-fought 2-2 draw at home to fellow play-off chasers Brackley Town on Tuesday night. On the injury front, it was bad news from Jamey Osborne's camp, as the influential midfielder confirmed he would most likely miss the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder in the Brackley draw. He was replaced by Tom Thorley, who was passed fit after he himself had missed the Brackley game due to injury

Steve Housham's Trinity side had struggled for a run of consistency all season, leaving them dangling precariously towards the foot of the Skrill North table or much of the season. An eight-point cushion between themselves and the bottom three appeared a reasonable gap, but with other sides scrapping to get themselves away from the drop zone, three more points from the remaining games would probably see them safe for another season

On a typically Spring day in Lincolnshire, Hednesford looked to make another quick start to proceedings by feeding exciting loanee Marvin Johnson at every opportunity down the left-wing. A typically mazy run from the Kidderminster man on seven minutes saw him bamboozle Grant Roberts with his feet and send over an excellent cross that Danny Glover headed wide of goal

The pace of Johnson opened up the Trinity defence once again on twelve minutes, with the winger applying the finish himself to give the Pitmen the lead. A neat through ball from Charlie Anagho-Ntamark found Johnson in behind the Gainsborough defence, with Johnson prodding the ball beyond keeper Phil Barnes and finding the corner of the net with his toe-poke

However, the Pitmen were the masters of their own downfall in defence once again four minutes later as they gifted Gainsborough a soft equaliser. A lack of communication between Ben Bailey and Dan Crane saw the pair leave a through ball to each other, allowing Darryn Stamp to intercept the ball and slot past Crane

Dave MacPherson had started in typically bustling form, breaking up Gainsborough's attacks in midfield before they had started, linking play with Tom Thorley and allowing the rest of his midfield to fill the void left by Osborne's unavailability

It was Thorley who went close to opening his account for the Pitmen on twenty minutes, hitting a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty area that Barnes got behind and saved well

A minute later, Glover -  another man looking for his first Hednesford goal - went agonisingly close to putting the Pitmen ahead once more as his effort came back off the woodwork; the ball dropped awkwardly to the centre forward, with Glover firing a rising snapshot that came back off the post and back into play

Riley was next to test the reflexes of Barnes on twenty-nine minutes, hitting a shot from twenty yards out that Barnes was once again equal to

At the other end, Crane was called upon for the first time in the afternoon a minute later as he was required to make a fine stop to deny Ciaran Toner after the Trinity midfielder had strode forwards unchallenged to fire a shot in on goal

The Pitmen's defence had to stand firm to clear their lines on thirty-three minutes, as a free-kick from Jamie Wooton caused panic in the ranks as Crane failed to connect with his clearance. Fortunately for the Hednesford stopper, the excellent Paul McCone was on hand to hack the ball clear as Jono Margetts and Toner both lurked

The dangerous Johnson almost caught Trinity out on the break once again on thirty-six minutes, streaking away from his marker before lifting his shot high and wide of goal

Both sides continued to trade shots on goal as half time approached, with Stamp heading well wide for the hosts from Toner's corner before Anagho-Ntamark was denied by Barnes right on half time. A quick turn and shot on the edge of the area from the teenager saw him fire in a low shot that looked destined for the bottom corner of the net until Barnes intervened with a fine save low down to his left

This was to be Ntamark's final involvement in the game, as the pacy forward was replaced by the big, menacing influence of Marvin Robinson at half time as Smith decided on a more direct approach in the second half

It was the exciting Johnson who once again forced the overworked Barnes into another save on fifty-four minutes as he came inside from the right-wing and sidestepped two Trinity challenges before firing in a shot from an angle that the keeper turned away. The loose ball dropped to Glover, who was pulled up for an alleged handball as he tried to control it

The hardworking Glover was replaced by the visitors on the hour mark, with Paul Sullivan coming on in place of the former Port Vale man

The Pitmen felt that they should have been awarded a penalty kick on sixty-two minutes, as MacPherson broke into the penalty area with a marauding run before being checked by Trinity skipper Dominic Roma. The referee was unimpressed with the midfielder's pleas however and continued with the game

MacPherson was involved once more two minutes later, as Barnes again somehow managed to get something on the ball to deny the Pitmen. A cross from Johnson was met by MacPherson at the far post, with his goalbound downward header clawed away from goal by Barnes for a Hednesford corner

From Riley's resultant corner kick, Roberts very nearly sliced the ball embarrassingly into his own net, as his attempted clearance at the near post ended up coming back off the outside of the woodwork

The Pitmen were now well on top of the game, looking to turn the screw on a Gainsborough side tiring after having to play at Oxford City just two days previously. Johnson was again the focal point of all of the Pitmen's attacking intent, linking up well with Riley and Sullivan as the away side got a lot of joy down the right-wing time and time again. One such move on sixty-six minutes saw Sullivan cross for Robinson, whose goalbound flick header was cleared away by Roberts

With nineteen minutes remaining, the Pitmen finally forced the ball into the net after their intense spell of pressure ended with Riley grabbing his second goal of the week. Trinity failed to clear the ball effectively in their own penalty area, allowing Riley to stoop and head the loose ball home from six yards out in what was an almost carbon copy of his equaliser against Brackley in midweek

Johnson's game came to a premature end with twelve minutes left, as the winger limped off and was replaced by the experienced Michael Lennon

Gainsborough pushed on in the final few minutes as they looked to rescue a point from the game. A long ball into the Hednesford penalty area from Barnes on eighty-five minutes was headed a yard wide of the right-hand post by substitute Liam Davis, who really should have scored from close range

In one final push, Trinity launched one last ball into the Hednesford box in the final minute of added time, and only superb defending and goalkeeping from Crane was to deny the hosts a point; a deep, deep free-kick from the Trinity right dropped to Miles Bateson, whose driven shot came back off the post and dropped into his path a second time. On the rebound, Bateson's shot was somehow turned away by an exceptional, diving stop by Crane, bravely turning the ball over the bar as he stretched full length to get to the ball

Crane's save was to be the final act of an entertaining game, with both sides playing their part in an excellent advert of Skrill North football. Hednesford move back into third place courtesy of AFC Telford beating Altrincham, with a mixed bag of results elsewhere keeping the race for the play-offs tight going into the final four games of the season. A real 'six pointer' is in store for the Pitmen next weekend, as they host fifth-placed Guiseley at Keys Park in a game that will go a long way to deciding the final shake-up in the Skrill North standings come May

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney , Campion ©, Bailey, McCone, MacPherson, Riley, Johnson (Lennon 77), Glover (Sullivan 58), Anagho-Ntamark (Robinson 45 ), Thorley     Subs Unused: Thompson-Brown, Francis

 

Gainsborough Trinity: Barnes, Roberts, Roma © (Davis 50), Young, Lacey, Wootton, Russell, Toner , Davie (Winfarrah 54), Stamp (Bateson 69), Margetts (Davison 77)       Subs Unused: Williams, Dickens

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