Vanarama National League North

Harrogate Town

Daniels (45), Knowles (90)

Hednesford Town

Todd (61)

(1) 2

(0) 1



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Ahmed Obeng


Corby Town (H) 18.8.15

The Pitmen record their second away defeat in a week this afternoon, as they lose to a sickening stoppage-time goal from Dominic Knowles after Andy Todd's second-half equaliser had seemed to earn Hednesford a point

Tuesday night's defeat at AFC Fylde had put the Pitmen back on their heels after their opening day win over Stalybridge Celtic; Paul Ennis and Sean Williams were restored to the starting XI after impressive performances in the second half in midweek. Kyle Perry was passed fit before kick-off to make his second league debut for the Pitmen up front, whilst veteran Andy Todd was the surprise pick on the left-wing as he replaced Nathan Modest in the side

 Harrogate were looking to an upturn in fortunes this term after three seasons of heavy investment for little gain. They had once again spent well in the summer, bringing in established names such as Guiseley defender Danny Hall and Barrow's title-winning full-back Andy McWilliams. Included in their matchday squad was former Hednesford loanee Lloyd Kerry, who was at Keys Park for the final two months of last season

Ahmed Obeng was lively from the off for the Pitmen, forcing Harrogate keeper Peter Crook into a save in the third minute as he fired in a shot from a tight angle

Two minutes later, Harrogate tested Dave Parton in the Hednesford goal as Knowles headed the ball straight at the Pitmen stopper from ten yards out

Perry's distinct lack of fitness was on display in the fourteenth minute, as the excellent Obeng nipped in to beat Crook to a through ball on the edge of the penalty area. Obeng sent over a cross to Perry as Crook raced back into his goal, but Perry got all his angles wrong and skewed his shot well wide of goal

Ben Bailey felt he had a legitimate call for a penalty kick midway through the first half, as he appeared to be handled in the area as he challenged for an Ennis corner kick. The referee, however, was unmoved and somehow bizarrely awarded the Pitmen a corner, despite the fact Bailey had clearly got the last touch on the ball

Parton was called into action again five minutes later,  making a superb save to turn Paul Thirlwell's dipping shot over the crossbar

Goalscoring will never be Tom Thorley's strong suit, and it proved such on thirty-three minutes as he tamely struck a shot straight into the arms of Crook after good work out wide by Obeng

Another great stop from Parton kept the scores level with two minutes left in the first half, as the Pitmen's new number one made a brilliant stop to deny Knowles after a Daniels free-kick had dropped kindly to him

Alas, Parton could do nothing to stop Daniels firing Harrogate into the lead with a great strike on the stroke of half time. Taking a bouncing ball early, Daniels unleashed a screamer of a shot from long range that caught Parton out and found the bottom left-hand corner of the Hednesford net

The Pitmen could feel aggrieved at going in at the half time break a goal down, as Harrogate had only shaded a fairly even half of possession and territory. Sean Williams tried to find an early response two minutes after the restart but fired well wide with a miscued effort on goal

Kicking down the considerable slope at Wetherby Road, Hednesford grew in confidence as the minutes ticked by and grabbed a well-deserved equaliser just after the hour mark. Ennis swung in a cross from the left, with Hall heading out as far as Todd. The 36-year-old steadied himself to roll back the years with a brilliantly executed volley that flew past Crook from twenty yards out


The Pitmen used the goal as an impetus to push on in the next ten minutes, camping in the Harrogate half as they searched for a winner. Tyrone Williams headed an Ennis corner well wide of goal before Ennis himself sent over a dangerous free-kick that Crook claimed under pressure by Perry

With twelve minutes remaining, the Pitmen added legs to their side with the introductions of Kennedy Digie for goalscorer Todd and Modest for Ennis up front

Both sides felt they had fair shouts for a penalty with ten minutes left, as Knowles for Harrogate and Perry for Hednesford both felt they were illegally pulled to the ground

A superb run from Modest on eighty-five minutes saw him shimmy his way past a couple of Harrogate challenges and fire in a shot across the face of goal, requiring a touch from Crook to turn the ball away for a corner kick

From the resultant Ennis corner, Bailey headed wide as he over-stretched at the far post tor each the deep, inswinging ball

The visitors had a great chance to win the game with two minutes remaining, as Sean Williams' free-kick was partially saved by Crook, who turned the ball back into the path of Modest. The ball would not settle for the striker, who could only gently lift the ball back into the grateful hands of the Harrogate keeper

Just as it looked as though both sides were willing to take a share of the spoils from a competitive encounter, Harrogate struck in the second minute of added time to rob the Pitmen of their first away point of the season; A cross into the area from the right fell to Knowles, who controlled the loose ball before taking it around Parton and firing home from fifteen yards out

Hednesford will look to get over the last minute disappointment of today's game when Corby Town visit Keys Park for the first time in four years on Tuesday night. Having made an excellent start to life back at this level, they will offer more stiff competition for this evolving, but slightly naive, Hednesford side

Harrogate Town: Crook, Turner, McWilliams, Thirlwell, Shiels, Ellis ©, Colbeck (Thewlis 64), Nyoni, Clayton (Swain 79), Knowles, Daniels (Emmett 70)       Subs Unused: Kerry, Bloomer

Hednesford Town: Parton, T. Williams, James, Bailey ©, Tilt, Thorley, Ennis (Modest 79), S. Williams, Perry, Obeng, Todd (Digie 79)      Subs Unused: Robinson, Adams

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