8.3.2014

Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Harvey (44)

Gainsborough Trinity

Bateson (24), Margetts (69), (86)

(1) 1

(1) 3

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

556

Charlie Anagho-Ntamark

W W W W D L L W L L

Colwyn Bay (A) 15.3.14

The Pitmen's season is now in severe danger of running out of steam with two months left of the campaign, as Rob Smith's tiring outfit are beaten by a team from Lincolnshire for the second time in a week as Gainsborough Trinity take all three points from Keys Park to ease their fears of being dragged into the relegation dogfight

A week on from a 4-0 mauling at fellow play-off chasers Boston United, it was all change for the Pitmen as manager Rob Smith wielded the axe on his misfiring side. Out went Dave MacPherson, Wayne Riley, Marvin Robinson and Charlie Anagho-Ntamark and in came Darren Campion, Francino Francis, Neil Harvey and Paul Sullivan. This move saw the unpopular three centre backs formation re-introduced - last seen in the poor 3-1 defeat at Harrogate Town last month

Gainsborough made their first trip to Keys Park since 2006 off the back of a mixed bag of results since the turn of the year. Their inability to string together a set of results had left them only six points above the Skrill North drop zone before today's game, with Steve Housham's team desperate to put clear daylight between themselves and the other sides struggling at the bottom

Hednesford looked to make a swift start to proceedings, with Harvey going close to opening the scoring on four minutes; a long throw from Jamey Osborne was flicked into the path of the big striker, whose goalward header was turned away from goal by Phil Barnes in the Gainsborough goal

Four minutes later, Dan Crane made a good save of his own at the other end after Simon Russell played in on-loan Hull City man Jono Margetts, with Crane making a good stop low down to his left to turn the striker's shot away from goal

Harvey again tested the reflexes of Barnes on thirteen minutes, as his header from twelve yards out was fielded well by the Trinity keeper

The two goalkeepers continued to trade saves, as Crane made his second stop of the afternoon on nineteen minutes to deny Jamie Wooton

Crane then blotted his copybook midway through the half by gifting Gainsborough the opening goal of the afternoon; a deep free-kick from Ciaran Toner looked like a regulation catch for the Hednesford stopper until he spilt the ball and allowed it to run to Trinity debutant Curtis Bateson, who chipped the loose ball back over the head of Crane and into the net

The Pitmen went close to levelling matters almost immediately through Alex Melbourne, with the midfielder forcing Barnes into another good stop with a low drive from range after Sullivan had played him in

Looking to make up for his error, Crane partially atoned for his part in Trinity's opener by making a superb one-handed stop on thirty-one minutes. A swift break from Margetts saw him play Wooton in on goal, with Crane making a brilliant stop down to his left to deny Wooton Trinity's second goal

Francis - who had struggled with injury for a number of weeks - had to relent on thirty-five minutes, limping off and being replaced by Anagho-Ntamark. This also saw the end of the three centre backs test, which yet again had flattered to deceive

Five minutes later, Melbourne was also taken off by Smith in a tactical change designed to inject more pace up front with the introduction of Nathan Woolfe. Melbourne - booked two minutes earlier for a foul - seemed unimpressed by the decision and stormed off the pitch, straight into the dressing room

The change of tactic did, however, bear fruit for the Pitmen a minute before half time, as Woolfe created a leveller for Harvey with a tricky run down the left and cross that the big striker turned home amidst a goalmouth scramble inside the six-yard box

Hednesford started the second half with purpose, forcing Gainsborough back into their own half during the early stages of the restart as they looked to exert their authority on the game. Woolfe was once again involved, curling a free-kick straight at Barnes on fifty-four minutes after Osborne had won a set-piece just outside the penalty area

Anagho-Ntamark had impressed in a wide role during last week's defeat at Boston, with the teenager showing neat skills and considerable pace down the right-hand side as he did his best to give the Pitmen the upper hand

However, the Pitmen's defensive shortcomings came back into sharp focus as they allowed Gainsborough to take the lead once again with twenty-one minutes remaining. Unsurprisingly, it came from a set-piece played into the penalty area, as another free-kick from Toner drifted over the heads of the Hednesford defenders and found Margetts lurking on the edge of the six-yard box. He controlled the high ball well, bringing it down and firing past Crane from a tight angle to add to his strike against Solihull Moors the previous week

The Pitmen huffed and puffed as they went in search of another equaliser, but a resolute Gainsborough defence saw off a lacklustre Hednesford attack. Harvey and Sullivan, for all their neat control and clever movement, were offering little in the way of a goal threat to the Trinity defence

Gainsborough remained a threat on the counter-attack, and with four minutes remaining snatched a decisive third goal through Margetts. Neat interplay between Margetts and Bateson on the halfway line saw Bateson play a perfect through ball back to Margetts, who outpaced the tiring Hednesford defence before taking the ball around Crane and slotting into the empty net

The Pitmen are now in serious danger of dropping out of the play-off reckoning, having never been outside the top four for the whole season. A number of sides just below them in the table have started to hit form, and with a number of games in hand to be resolved in the next couple of weeks, Smith's side could find themselves as low as eighth in the table come the end of March if their form continues to flat line. A trip to North Wales is next for them on Saturday, with Colwyn Bay looking to avenge their 2-1 defeat at Keys Park in November

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, Francis (Anagho-Ntamark 35), McCone, Osborne, Melbourne (Woolfe 40), Harvey, Sullivan, Thorley      Subs Unused: Robinson, Thompson-Brown, Lennon

Gainsborough Trinity: Barnes, Roma ©, Leary, Davis (Burbeary 58), Howe, Young, Russell, Toner, Wooton (Davie 67), Margetts, Bateson       Subs Unused: Williams, Winfarrah, Batty