Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town

Gainsborough Trinity

Russell (71), Picton (80)

(0) 0

(0) 2



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Tom Peers


North Ferriby United (H) 16.2.16

The Pitmen drop back into the relegation zone this afternoon after they are condemned to back-to-back home defeats by mid-table Gainsborough Trinity, who take the points after a double strike in the second half

Having been left frustrated at the cancellation of last Saturday's game at Stockport County due to a waterlogged pitch, manager Frank Sinclair had been given plenty of time to ponder his options ahead of today's return to Keys Park. Sinclair made no less than five changes to his side from the one that had started the 3-0 defeat against Curzon Ashton two weeks ago as George Cleet made his debut after joining the club on loan from West Bromwich Albion as he replaced the injured Ben Bailey, whilst Phil Trainer returned from injury to come in for Jack Fitzwater. Tom Peers replaced Ahmed Obeng, whilst Tom Thorley came back into midfield in place of the now-departed Stephane Ngamvoulou and also took the captaincy from Bailey. The final change saw Danny Glover make his first start since returning to the club as he replaced the suspended Kyle Perry up front

Tenth-placed Gainsborough - 3-1 winners over the Pitmen at Northolme just before Christmas - had beaten Brackley Town last weekend to maintain their slim hopes of gatecrashing the play-offs in April. Manager Steve Housham made one change to his Blues side for their trip down to Staffordshire as Nathan Jarman came back into the side up front in place of Darryn Stamp

On an overcast afternoon in South Staffordshire, the Pitmen made a bright start to proceedings and almost stole into an early lead through the returning Thorley in the third minute. Getting on the end of a bouncing ball forwards from Adam Thomas, Thorley's half-volley from just inside the Gainsborough penalty area was just wide of goalkeeper Jan Budtz' right-hand post

The all-yellow clad visitors responded two minutes through Jarman as the striker linked up well with strike partner Craig Reid just outside the Hednesford penalty area as Reid's clever reverse pass played the former North Ferriby United man on goal, only for Dan Crane to push the shot away as he rushed out of his goal to push Jarman's shot away

In the eighth minute, Jamie Yates was also denied by Crane as he was played into space by a fine threaded pass from Jake Picton, drilling in a low driven shot from twenty yards out that Crane made a fairly comfortable save from

The visitors were starting to take control of the game, particularly in midfield, where Picton and Simon Russell were enjoying plenty of the ball to set Jarman and Reid away behind a hesitant Hednesford defence. In the tenth minute, Jarman made a clever angled run across the Pitmen's flat-footed defence to get on the end of Jonathan D'Laryea's pass but flashed his effort narrowly wide of Crane's right-hand post from twelve yards out

Two minutes later, a rare attack from the Pitmen saw them go closest to opening the scoring as a Sean Williams corner found Glover unmarked in the penalty area - the striker's low shot deflected off the leg of Courtney Wildin and towards goal, where Stephen Brogan cleared the ball off the line

The lively Jarman tried his luck with a cheeky speculative effort in the fifteenth minute as he spotted Crane off his line and attempted a long-range lob over the goalkeeper's head that drifted high over the crossbar from fully thirty-five yards out

Trinity skipper Dom Roma felt that he should have been awarded a penalty in the nineteenth minute as he arrived late at the far post to meet a corner kick from Picton but felt that he was impeded by Kennedy Digie as the pair challenged for the cross. Referee Mr Wilde waved away the away side's protests, however, and the Pitmen were able to clear their lines

A good run from Jarman three minutes later saw the striker drag Cleet out of position to the right-wing, taking the ball to the byeline and pulling the ball back into the six-yard box where Brogan was caught on his heels and just failed to connect from close-range as the ball skipped across the face of goal

On twenty-seven minutes, Glover was left frustrated as he was pulled up for offside by a flag on the Wimblebury side of the ground after he had shaken off the attentions of D'Laryea to get on the end of a fine pass from Shelton Payne

Peers - now a permanent Hednesford player after two separate loan spells at the club - did well to craft an opening for himself just after the half-hour mark as he showed good skill to take the ball into the Gainsborough penalty area before lifting his effort just over Budtz's crossbar from sixteen yards out

On thirty-five minutes, Peers was involved again as he recycled Thorley's partially-cleared corner kick and swung the ball back into the penalty area, where Digie headed over the crossbar from six yards out

With seven minutes of the first half remaining, Trainer was dispossessed by the lively Russell, whose searching pass into the feet of Jarman had a little too much on it and ran away from the prolific striker before he could bring it under his control

Trinity had a great chance to put themselves in front two minutes later as Josh Lacey played Jamie Yates into space down the left, with the winger's first-time ball into the box just missed by Picton as he arrived late at the far post for what would have been a tap-in had he connected with the cross

Peers was to be denied by Budtz on forty-three minutes as the former Wolves youngster made a fine parry away to deny the youngster after Payne's pass had found Peers just inside the Gainsborough penalty area

Gainsborough had probably handed the game on chances, but the Pitmen had shown plenty of grit and determination to keep their visitors at bay and were still in contention at the break, in much the same way as their last outing against Curzon Ashton

Trinity started the second half on the front foot, with Wildin's long throw on forty-eight minutes cleared as far as Jarman by Jack Truelove; the striker took a touch and tried to fire through a crowd of players but saw his shot blocked and cleared

Reid missed a good chance to open the scoring on fifty-two minutes as Brogan and Russell combined well down the left for the latter to cross for the former AFC Telford United man, who stretched to reach the ball but could only head wide as he was put under pressure by Trainer at the far post

The Pitmen made their first substitution of the afternoon on fifty-five minutes as Obeng returned to the side in an attacking change as he replaced the tiring Thorley, who had missed the last thirteen games out injured

Budtz was alert to another Peers half-chance two minutes later, making a smothering stop at the second attempt as he cut out Peers' cross-cum-shot after he had drifted past Lacey down the flank and looked to pull the ball back towards Glover, who had made a run into the six-yard box to pick up any of the scraps

The dangerous pairing of Jarman and Reid linked up again on sixty-one minutes as Jarman controlled a Budtz free-kick well and played Reid in on goal. His scuffed shot had Crane diving to his right, but the effort was slightly off target and drifted wide of the upright from fifteen yards out

More excellent forward play from Peers on sixty-five minutes saw the former Chester man make a run into the penalty area to latch onto Glover's incisive forward pass but saw Budtz make a fine save to nick the ball off the toes of Peers as he slightly overran the ball before he could shoot

A minute later, Digie's forward header was played on by Glover into the path of Payne, who cut inside from the left-wing as he turned past Brogan but drilled his shot well wide of goal when a cross to either Thomas or Obeng would have been a better option in hindsight

In an attempt to try and sway the game in his side's favour, Sinclair went even bolder in his attacking approach on sixty-eight minutes as Paul Ennis came on in place of the disappointing Payne to play up front alongside Glover and Peers

The experienced Roma made a fine sliding tackle to deny Peers a shot at goal a minute later as Obeng's pass sent the young striker away on goal, only for the Trinity skipper to slide in and snuffed out the danger before Peers could shoot at goal

Gainsborough broke the deadlock on seventy-one minutes as D'Laryea's ball forwards caught the Hednesford defence ball-watching, allowing Russell to make a run into the penalty area unchallenged before slotting the ball underneath the advancing Crane from fifteen yards out

The Pitmen had a superb chance to equaliser two minutes later as Peers once again carved out a chance for himself with some excellent close control just inside the penalty area, taking the ball past Picton and Wildin before firing inches wide of the post with a snap-shot. Ennis yelled out in frustration as he was unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box and was in a great position to turn the ball home from close-range

A superb fingertip save from Crane kept his side in contention on seventy-five minutes as a dipping half volley from Jarman looked to be arrowing into the far corner of the net from twenty-five yards out, only for Crane to make a brilliant save to turn the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick

The home side's final substitution of the afternoon came on seventy-seven minutes as Bailey came on in place of Trainer, who had struggled to cope with the pace of the game after missing all of January's fixtures due to injury

Brogan's deep corner two minutes later was worked out to Picton, whose well-struck right-footed shot from an angle stung the hands of the stopper, who claimed the ball at the second attempt

The Blues finally put the game out of Hednesford's reach as their increasing pressure finally told with ten minutes to go; Crane made another superb stop to deny Roma from Picton's initial corner kick, clawing the ball around the post for another flag-kick. Picton's second ball in was cleared back to the player at the near post by Bailey, with the midfielder driving back into the penalty area and prodding the ball past Crane at his near post with an opportunistic strike

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side, who struggled to keep the ball under control in the closing stages and allowed Gainsborough to canter to a finish with ease. Indeed, a couple of late Trinity chances almost put a gloss finish on their win as substitute Marc Newsham shanked an effort high over the crossbar on eighty-six minutes after good play from Picton once more to send him away into space just outside the penalty area

Two minutes later, Lacey's inswinging free-kick was flicked on by Roma and into the path of Stamp, who turned his first-time shot wide of Crane's near post with his first touch since coming on for Reid a couple of minutes earlier

There were muted boos around the ground from the frustrated home supporters, who had once again seen their side competing well for forty-five minutes before falling away badly with a very disjointed second-half display. Question marks are starting to be raised against Sinclair's tactical approach to games, as the Pitmen lacked any bodies in midfield at the end of the game as the Hednesford manager had thrown on more attacking players than was probably necessary and had upset the balance of the side in the process. A quick turnaround of games sees old foes North Ferriby United visit Keys Park on Tuesday night looking to inflict more misery on the Pitmen and earn three crucial points in their continued chase of league leaders Solihull Moors 

Hednesford Town: Crane, Thomas, Truelove, Cleet, Digie, Trainer (Bailey 78), Peers, Thorley © (Obeng 55), Glover, Williams, Payne (Ennis 68)      Subs Unused: Ransome, Regan

Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz, Roma ©, Lacey, Wildin (Davis 85), D’Laryea, Picton, Russell, Brogan, Reid (Stamp 86), Jarman (Newsham 77), Yates       Subs Unused: Binns, Quinn


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