14.2.2015

Vanarama Conference North

Guiseley

Hednesford Town

L. Dickinson (27) (OG), Thomas (71)

(0) 0

(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

550

Adam Thomas

W D W W L W D W W W

Brackley Town (A) 21.2.15

The Pitmen followed up their impressive win over Colwyn Bay with an even more impressive showing to out-battle fellow play-off chasers Guiseley at Nethermoor this afternoon. Rob Smith's side moved back into the top four as a result, just three points behind third-placed local rivals Tamworth with a game in hand on the Lambs

There was much for Smith and his management team to consider ahead of their trip to West Yorkshire, with two departures and two arrivals during the previous week; George McGee and Jack Thomas had been recalled by their parent clubs, whilst Jamey Osborne and Darren Campion sat the game out due to suspension. Midfield enforcer Richard Batchelor had come down with a bout of illness so failed to make the journey north. In came new signings Lloyd Kerry and Andy Todd, whilst recent loan signing Adam Thomas was given his first start by the club after joining from Stoke City. With the lack of options at Smith's disposal, he could only name three substitutes for the game, with Chris Westwood making up the numbers despite not being fully fit either

Guiseley had continued to live up to their pre-season billing as one of the sides likely to be challenging for a play-off place at the end of the season, with Mark Bower's side in confident form after beating AFC Fylde at Nethermoor in midweek. The recent signing of former Stockport, Derby and Swindon striker Liam Dickinson had further boosted Bower's already impressive array of attacking talent

Despite the hasty reshuffle to their ranks, the Pitmen made a bright start to the game, with Paul McCone heading Ben Bailey's long throw wide of goal in the first minute as Hednesford set their stall out early in pushing forwards

The team went close to being thrown into chaos in the fourth minute as Bailey and James Hurst both challenged for the same high ball and ran into each other in the process. After a lengthy spell of treatment for both players, Hurst emerged with a bizarre chin bandage and Bailey came back onto the field of play with his forehead heavily wrapped up
 
A darting run from Kerry in the seventh minute saw the midfielder burst past two Guiseley challenges but fire well wide of Steve Drench's goal from fully twenty-five yards out

Bailey was forced off again in the ninth minute with blood still pouring from his head wound, requiring a more substantial dressing from physio Gavin Blackwell this time

Hurst failed to let his injury deter him from playing his natural game, with the right-back making a marauding run forwards on thirteen minutes before lifting his powerful shot over the stand and onto the main road behind the goal

The Pitmen's best chance to open the scoring came in the sixteenth minute as Tom Thorley headed Glenn Walker's corner goalwards, only to be denied by a timely goal line clearance by Ryan Toulson

Drench was alert to further danger in his penalty box two minutes later, making a regulation save from close range after Marvin Robinson had flicked the ball into the path of strike partner Steve Diggin, who tried to turn the ball home

Hednesford's pressure and positive attitude was rewarded with the opening goal on twenty-seven minutes; a free-kick just inside the Guiseley half was floated into the penalty area by makeshift left-back Walker, looking for big men Robinson, McCone and Bailey. Dickinson got to the ball first, but only succeeded in glancing the ball beyond the reach of his own keeper Drench and into the corner of the net

Robinson went close to doubling the Pitmen's lead two minutes later, glancing a Thomas cross towards goal but being denied by a parry from Drench

Bailey's head injury showed no signs of healing as the half progressed, with the in-form defender going off for a third time on thirty-two minutes for more attention on his cut head

Dickinson looked to atone for his earlier error by having Guiseley's best chance of the first half on thirty-six minutes, firing over the crossbar with a rising shot from range after turning away from McCone

The expected Guiseley fight back at the start of the second half never really materialised, as Wayne Brooksby's early effort as close as the Lions were to come all afternoon in what will be viewed as a disappointing performance from the hosts

Indeed, it was the Pitmen who continued to have the better of the chances, with the impressive Thomas a willing outlet for the visitors down the right-wing with bags of pace and enthusiasm. His shot from the edge of the box on forty-seven minutes was deflected wide of goal by a Danny Ellis challenge

Neat football down the Guiseley right saw Adam Boyes and Gavin Rothery link up on fifty-eight minutes, but Boyes' effort was smothered by a recovering tackle from Walker

Two minutes later, a strong run from new boy Todd saw the 35-year-old drive his way past two Guiseley challenges before firing in a low drive that forced a good save from Drench

A great chance for Guiseley on sixty-two minutes saw another move down the right saw Rothery's cross somehow evade all of the incoming players as the ball flashed across the face of Dan Crane's goal

Danny Boshell's scuffed effort on seventy minutes failed to test Crane as it arrowed away from goal and into the crowd, before the Pitmen grabbed the decisive second goal of the afternoon a minute later

A neat lay off from Diggin set Thomas away down the right, with the Stoke youngster teasing Ellis before firing a superb shot beyond the bemused Drench and into the top far corner of the net

Guiseley's response came through playmaker Brooksby on seventy-seven minutes, as the midfielder volleyed over the crossbar after Crane's weak punch had landed at his feet

With the clock ticking down and the Pitmen looking safe, Smith put on Alex Melbourne in place of the hard-working Diggin with nine minutes remaining, pushing Thomas into a more central role to support the superb Robinson

Guiseley's rotten afternoon was summed up on eighty-five minutes, as Brooksby was denied by a brilliant save from Crane at his near post with arguably Guiseley's best opening of the afternoon

Robinson's afternoon was brought to a premature halt in the final minute of the game, as cramp caught up with the big man on the bumpy Nethermoor turf. Nick Rushton came on in his place to see out the remaining minutes of the game

Rob Smith hailed the result one of his best since taking over at Hednesford four-and-a-bit years ago, in the context in which his team had earned the points. It moves them back above today's opponents and leaves them with only a three-point gap to Tamworth in third place, with a game in hand on Andy Morrell's charges. Brackley Town come to Keys Park next weekend knowing that the Pitmen are currently on their best run of form this season, and with key men still to return, who would bet against them extending their run?

Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Hall, Ellis ©, Lawlor, Brooksby, D. Boshell, Boyes, L. Dickinson (N. Boshell 71), Rothery (Johnson 80)      Subs Unused: Holdsworth, Hendrie, S. Dickinson

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Walker, Bailey ©, McCone, Thorley, Thomas, Kerry, Robinson (Rushton 90), Diggin (Melbourne 81), Todd      Sub Unused: Westwood

 

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