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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Stewart (90) (OG)

Gainsborough Trinity

Worsfold (39), Simmons (89)

(0) 1

(1) 2



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Callam Mendez-Jones




Farsley Celtic (A) 27.8.18

The first week of the new season has proved a frustrating one for Hednesford Town, as they continue to take a step forward followed by a step back as they fail to follow-up their win on Monday night over Basford United with defeat to the much-fancied Gainsborough Trinity at Keys Park this afternoon


Manager Rob Smith - still shorn of the services of Tom Hill (holiday) and Jermain Hollis (suspension) - was now without midfielder Reece King, who started his three-match ban following a red card against Scarborough Athletic last weekend. He could, however, finally call upon midfielder Jed Davies after the playmaker had recovered from injury to take his place amongst the substitutes. Josh Craddock and Charley Edge were also included in the squad after both missed out on the win over Basford in midweek. New signing Sam Grimshaw replaced another new-boy Romario Martin amongst the substitutes


Trinity had started the season with a win and defeat and had spent the summer months being hotly tipped to top the table at the end of the season having recruited a number of experienced performers to tackle their first season at step three level in many years after relegation from Vanarama National League North. The now-defunct Shaw Lane had supplied the trio of Neil Austin, Damien Reeves and Ben Gordon, whilst giant keeper Jon Stewart had stepped down a level from Boston United to join the Blues. One of the most eye-catching moves of the summer had seen the prolific Ross Hannah rejoin the club from crisis club Chester, further adding to the consensus that the Northolme club would be challenging for an immediate return to step two in May


Winger Michael Howard - who impressed on his full debut for the club on Monday night - was the first player to go close for the Pitmen in the seventh minute, as he raced onto a through ball from Joe Fitzpatrick, only to be denied by a fine save from Stewart at his near post, palming the half-volley away for a corner kick


Fitzpatrick was involved again two minutes later, as his corner kick was headed wide of goal by Dan Cockerline after Stewart had initially come for the cross, only to decide against it at the last minute


In the eleventh minute, another set-piece from Fitzpatrick - this time a free-kick - found the head of skipper Stefan Galinski, whose flick-on, in turn, found Cockerline, whose looping header was tipped over by Stewart


After weathering the opening Hednesford salvo, Gainsborough started to grow into the game with more possession and more spells in the opposition half. On seventeen minutes, Trinity went closest to opening the scoring as Worsfold did well to spin on the ball and drive a shot against the base of the left-hand post, with Josef Bursik beaten low down

Cockerline was getting into good positions for the home side but continued to be wasteful when presented with an opportunity. A neat passage of play involving Callam Mendez-Jones, Fitzpatrick and Matt Dodd opened up the Gainsborough defence on eighteen minutes, with Dodd crossing for the big on-loan striker, who put his effort wide of goal


 The Pitmen were thankful to their central defensive partnership of Galinski and Charlie Gatter on thirty-six minutes, as both players threw themselves into the line of fire to block goalbound Gainsborough shots on the six-yard line and keep out the visitors


Busik was on hand to claim an on-target free kick from Alex Byrne on thirty-seven minutes, clutching the ball low down to his right to claim the dipping ball in from twenty-five yards out


However, with six minutes of the half remaining, the away side grabbed a fortuitous opener through Worsfold, as a cross from Alex Simmons found the striker, who looked in an offside position. His deflection took the ball away from Bursik and clipped the inside of the post, but fell kindly for the forward as he followed it in, allowing him to tap the ball into the empty net to give Gainsborough a first-half lead


In the final minute of the half, Worsfold had another chance to double Gainsborough's lead, as he volleyed just wide of goal after confusion in the Hednesford defence allowed the ball to bounce into the path of the striker


The referee made a big, big call against the Pitmen just two minutes after the restart, as a long throw from Sam Griffiths bounced inside the Gainsborough penalty area. The ball clearly his the hand of Gordon as he attempted to clear, but despite protests from players and supporters, the referee remained unmoved and play continued. Fitzpatrick was booked by the official for protesting too much following the goalmouth scramble


Worsfold was denied a second goal by Bursik on fifty-two minutes, as the on-loan Hednesford keeper made a fine one-handed save to turn the striker's outside-of-the-foot effort away from goal for a Gainsborough corner kick


Gainsborough had the ball in the net on fifty-four minutes through Byrne, who tapped home from close-range, only to be denied by a late offside flag against the midfielder


A quick break from Gainsborough saw Byrne do well to slip the ball into the path of Simmons on fifty-five minutes, with the home side again reliant on the awareness and reflexes of Bursik to deny the Gainsborough man low down to his let


Two minutes later, the Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon with the introduction of new boy Grimshaw, who replaced Howard as a like-for-like swap on the left wing


Byrne lifted a good effort high over the bar for Trinity before the Pitmen made their second substitution on sixty-six minutes as Davies was handed his second debut for the club as he came on for Craddock in midfield


The ball simply wouldn't drop for the Pitmen, who were left to rue more bad luck on seventy minutes as a corner kick dropped to Mendez-Jones, whose goalbound effort was turned away from goal by Stewart. the rebound dropped to Galinski, whose follow-up failed to find the target


With eighteen minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their third and final change of the afternoon, as Mikey Nelson came on in place of the out-of-sorts Dodd


The hosts had huffed and puffed their way through proceedings but had offered little to no quality going forwards against a far more experienced outfit. A half-chance fell to Galinski on eighty-two minutes, as the centre-back lifted his shot high over the crossbar after he himself had flicked on a throw-in


Gainsborough essentially settled the game as a contest with a killer second goal in the final minute of normal time; a quick break down the Gainsborough left caught the Pitmen out, with Simmons unleashing an unstoppable shot that seemed to surprise Bursik at his near post as he rifled the ball past the young keeper


And yet there was still time for a fightback for the Pitmen, as they reduced arrears in added time. A high, hopeful cross to the far post from Matt Curley saw Nelson challenge Stewart for the ball. Under no real pressure, Stewart inexplicably dropped the ball into his own net and was subsequently booked for kicking the ball away after the referee refused to rule the goal out for what Stewart felt was a foul on him by Nelson


Despite a late, hopeful free-kick into the Gainsborough penalty area, the Pitmen were again condemned to defeat at Keys Park for the second weekend in a row. In many ways, there were parallels to the defeat to Scarborough; a highly-experienced, streetwise opposition, well-versed in game management and keeping a young side at arms length. For the Pitmen, it was a similar story of effort over quality; plenty of willing and desire but a distinct lack of prowess, particularly in the final third where they continue to lack any real know-how to force errors from the opposition. The games don't get any easier for the Pitmen, as they head up to West Leeds on Monday to face Farsley Celtic at Throstle Nest 


Hednesford Town: Bursik, Mendez-Jones, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick , Galinski ©, Gatter , Dodd (Nelson 72), Craddock (Davies 66), Cockerline, Howard (Grimshaw 57), Curley   Subs Unused: Fox, Edge


Gainsborough Trinity: Stewart , Austin, Gordon, Russell, Maguire, Evans, Byrne, King ©, Worsfold (Hannah 60), Reeves (Clarke 75), Simmons  Subs Unused: Hough, Wilson

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