21.9.2013

Skrill North

Guiseley

Burns (90)

Hednesford Town

Harvey (61), Durrell (81)

(0) 1

(0) 2

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Matt Regan

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AFC Telford United (A) 28.9.13

Despite spending most of the first half on the back foot, Hednesford emerged to clinch all three points at Guiseley thanks to a battling second half performance that saw goals from Neil Harvey and the irrepressible Elliott Durrell

Back-to-back victories for Rob Smith's side saw them arrive in East Yorkshire in a confident mood, having kept clean sheets in victories over Vauxhall Motors and Histon in the previous seven days. With this in mind, Smith was happy to name an unchanged line up for the visit to Nethermoor, with Wayne Riley again missing due to injury and Francino Francis again missing out on a start with back trouble

Guiseley, under the stewardship of newly-appointed former Bradford City captain Mark Bower, came into the game off the back of three successive defeats, the last coming at home to local rivals Bradford (Park Avenue) in midweek

A strong start from the hosts saw them go close with the first real chance of the game on four minutes; the experienced Wayne Brooksby dragged an effort just wide of the post after neat build-up play

Two minutes later Michael Burns dummied an Alex Johnson free-kick, stepping over the ball and allowed Gavin Rothery to unleash a driven shot that came back off the woodwork

Johnson himself went close to opening the scoring a minute later, dragging his shot from twenty yards out horribly wide of Dan Crane's goal

Crane saw his goal threatened once more on twelve minutes, as Brooksby wasted another good opening by blasting wide of goal from fifteen yards out

The incessant early pressure on the Hednesford goal continued unabated a minute later, as Rothery was again denied by the post with a shot that cannoned off the woodwork as Crane struggled to get across to the ball

Young Matt Regan - impressing once again at centre back in his third game on loan to the Pitmen - was dominant in the air alongside Ben Bailey to clear three successive Guiseley corners in two minutes as the Pitmen remained camped inside their own penalty area

It was Regan who had the Pitmen's best chance of the game to date on twenty-five minutes, as Durrell's corner kick was headed over the bar by the Pitmen's number five, stretching to reach the high ball

Crane was called upon to keep the scores level on the half-hour mark, as Burns tried his luck with a rising shot from range and was denied by Crane's touch over the crossbar

Guiseley were playing neat, precise attacking football, playing through the middle of the Hednesford team and dominating the midfield scrap. The impressive Rothery was a constant source of creativity for the hosts, linking the play well and looking for openings for the likes of Burns

Somehow, the Pitmen managed to see the game through to half time with the game scoreless, with the home sides left scratching their heads as to how they were not going into the interval at least two goals to the good

Rob Smith clearly thought the same too and made a double substitution at the break. On came the youth and industry of Alex Melbourne in place of the tenacity of Dave MacPherson, who had struggled to get a foothold in the game in midfield. Robbie Thompson-Brown was also brought on in a tactical change, replacing striker Aaron Rey and moving to a right-wing role to give the Pitmen width on the right and leave Harvey up front on his own

The second half was barely a minute old when the game was stopped by the referee after the assistant on the dugout side of the ground went down holding his leg. After receiving medical treatment, it was decided that he needed to be replaced, with the game held up for over ten minutes as another qualified official was found to run the line

Hednesford looked far, far more competitive from the restart, pushing forward and looking more of a threat with their new formation working well. Harvey tried his luck with a half chance on fifty-eight minutes, scuffing a hopeful shot goalwards following a corner from Durrell, but found a Guiseley defender on hand to hack his shot away from goal

Harvey made it count when it mattered however on sixty-one minutes, as he gave the Pitmen a lead they barely looked capable of earning in the first half with a cool strike. A delightful through ball from Darren Campion found Harvey in behind the Guiseley defence, with the big striker dancing around the challenge of home keeper Steve Drench and firing into the net from ten yards out

The confidence from the goal spread throughout the Hednesford side, as they enjoyed their best spell of possession in the game and forced Guiseley to defend a succession of free-kicks and balls played down the channels

Substitute Thompson-Brown had a great chance to open his account for the Pitmen on seventy-five minutes, lashing his sidefooted effort over the crossbar after being set up just inside the penalty area

Seemingly the only thing missing from another typically spirited Hednesford away performance was a goal for the man of the moment Durrell - this duly arrived in typical Durrell style with nine minutes remaining. Bringing the ball inside from the left flank, the league's top scorer turned inside Jack Rea before lashing a low shot beyond Drench at his near post to register goal twelve of another prolific season for the 24-year-old

Harvey could have wrapped up the game a couple of minutes later as Durrell's powerful free-kick was spilt by Drench as the ball bounced in front of him, falling into the path of the onrushing Harvey. Somehow, with the goal gaping, Harvey scuffed his effort into the side netting rather than finish Guiseley off

This was to be Harvey's final involvement of the game, as he was replaced by young Charlie Anagho-Ntamark with seven minutes remaining

Guiseley were reduced to ten men with six minutes remaining, as Rothery was shown a straight red card by the referee after he had an altercation with the assistant referee following what Rothery felt was a corner to Guiseley that was awarded as a goal kick to the Pitmen

Drench again struggled to deal with a long-range Hednesford shot on eight-five minutes, as Kris Taylor's shot from the edge of the area was fumbled by Drench, who just managed to recover before Ntamark could react

Guiseley set up a grandstand finish to the game in the final minute of regulation time, as frantic Guiseley attacking saw Craig Hobson striker the post with his shot, followed by a shot from Burns on the follow up that was brilliantly saved by Crane from close range. The ball dropped nicely back into the path of Burns, who tapped home from close range

The four remaining minutes were one-way traffic as Guiseley pushed on in search of an equaliser. Regan cemented his man of the match credentials in added time by making a superb block to deny Johnson after the forward had taken the ball around the dive of Crane

The Pitmen greeted the full-time whistle with a sense of relief, having had to work hard to hold on to their victory. Three points see the Pitmen remain at the top of the Skrill North on twenty-two points from nine games. This means that they can take a well-earned break from league duty next weekend to play in the F.A. Cup at AFC Telford United knowing they will top the table for at least a fortnight longer

Guiseley: Drench, Rea, Meynell, Potts (Holdsworth 72), Harris, Parker, Brooksby (Ennis 77), Lawlor (Hobson 84), Johnson, Burns, Rothery  (84)     Subs not used: Ible, Worsnop

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, Regan, MacPherson (Melbourne 45), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (Anagho-Ntamark 90), Rey (Thompson-Brown 45), Taylor      Subs Unused: Woolfe, Francis

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