Vanarama Conference North


Hednesford Town

Osborne (45)

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(1) 1



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Jamey Osborne


Guiseley (H) 13.9.14

Hednesford moved into the top ten of the Vanarama Conference North table for the first time this season tonight courtesy of a tight, hard-fought win over basement club Hyde at Ewen Fields

A trip to Greater Manchester on a Tuesday night brought changes to the Hednesford starting line-up, with injuries and unavailability contributing to more chopping and changing to Rob Smith's side. Ben Bailey and Marvin Robinson were both ruled out of the game, joining Francino Francis, Glenn Walker and Steve Diggin in the stands. Paul McCone returned from injury to replace Bailey in central defence, alongside Saturday's impressive debutant Chris Westwood, whilst Kris Taylor was passed fit to return to the side in midfield

Hyde had made a horrid start to life back at Conference North level, continuing their depressing run of form and results from last season's disastrous Skrill Premier campaign with only two points from their first seven games; Manager Scott McNiven had overseen a run that had seen his side fail to win a league game in either league since January 2014 - a full twenty-four games ago to date

With the sun setting over the end terrace at Ewen Fields, the Pitmen made a bright start to the game as Danny Glover tried his luck on eight minutes; a lovely run from Jamey Osborne saw the midfielder shimmy past three challenges and play the ball into the in-form striker. Glover hesitated slightly as he shaped to shoot, and allowed two Hyde defenders to get back and clear

Dan Crane came to the Pitmen's rescue four minutes later, as Hyde debutant Luke Giverin swung in a free-kick that Steve Tames headed towards goal. Crane made a reaction save, turning the ball over the crossbar for a Hyde corner

The Pitmen cleared the resultant corner kick and broke quickly through Darren Campion, who played the ball across to James Hurst. The right back's excellent cross found Alex Melbourne, who slipped the ball into the feet of Glover. His curling lofted shot narrowly cleared the crossbar and dropped onto the roof of the net

The dangerous Tames was giving McCone and Westwood plenty to think about in the first half, particularly from set-pieces. A Giverin free-kick midway through the half found the head of the Hyde forward, who glanced his effort just wide of the far post

On the half-hour mark, Tames got the better of McCone as he ran forwards, but dragged his shot well wide of goal when well placed to test Crane

A spell of pressure from Hyde with seven minutes remaining in the first half saw the hosts go closest to opening the scoring, with Tames again a prominent figure. After forcing successive corner kicks, Hyde then opened up the Pitmen's defence with Tames beating McCone again and driving a shot against the inside of Crane's post and away to safety

A bout of handbags involving several players from both sides saw Campion, McCone and Tames all go into the referee's notebook for their part in the piece

Fired up by the exchange, the Pitmen stole into the lead with the final action of the first period. Osborne picked up the ball fully twenty-five yards out and fired in a low shot that Hyde keeper Christian Thewlis allowed to squirm under his body and into the net

The two sides traded blows at the start of the second half, with Glover firing into the side netting for the Pitmen followed a minute later by a header from Tom Bentham, who headed wide of goal from Giverin's deep cross

Another excellent cross from Giverin five minutes later found midfielder Connor Hughes, whose scuffed effort was hacked off the goal line by Campion as Hyde pressed for an equaliser

Thewlis partially atoned for his earlier howler on the hour mark, making a superb one-handed stop to turn Campion's powerful drive over the crossbar as it looked to be heading for the top corner of the net

Three minutes later, Hyde were denied by the woodwork for the second time in the evening, as Adam Thurston's left-foot shot from long range deceived Crane and came back off the crossbar as it arrowed towards goal

In an attempt to quell the growing pressure Hyde were putting on the Hednesford goal, Smith introduced Jamie Ashmore on seventy minutes, taking off the quiet Taylor and allowing Hurst to play in a more central role

Reece Gray tried his luck with a curling shot on seventy-two minutes, whipping in a shot that dropped just wide of the far post, although Crane appeared to have the shot covered

Hyde introduced two more forwards as the game hit the final ten minutes, with the Pitmen responding by bringing Paul Sullivan on for the hardworking Peers

The hosts forced three successive corner kicks on eighty-seven minutes, but a combination of poor delivery and excellent defending from Bailey meant the Pitmen saw off any imminent danger

In the final minute of normal time, James McQuilkin came on in place of Melbourne to shore up the midfield area

There was still time for Hyde to have a great chance to level matters at the death, as Josh Brizell played a nice one-two with Tames on the edge of the area before firing a shot narrowly wide of Crane's right-hand post in what was the final chance of the match

The Pitmen will be pleased with their battling spirit and togetherness in gaining their first three away points of the season, although they rode their luck on a number of occasions in the second half. A tough encounter awaits Smith's men at the weekend, as much-fancied Guiseley make the trip to Keys Park with the Pitmen looking to extend their unbeaten run to three games

Hyde: Thewlis, Thurston, Brownhill, Brizell , Ball, O’Connor , Hughes, Blakeman (Gray 62), Tames , Benthan, Giverin (Walker 84)      Subs Unused: Mukuna, Conchie, Day

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst , Campion © , McCone , Westwood, Taylor (Ashmore 70), Osborne, Melbourne (McQuilkin 90), Glover, Peers (Sullivan 81), Thorley         Subs Unused: Melvin, Price