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Vanarama Conference North

Hednesford Town

Glover (3), (29), (67) (penalty), Westwood (55)


Hughes (90) (penalty)

(2) 4

(0) 1



Current Form

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Tom Thorley


Bradford (Park Avenue) (H) 18.10.14

The Pitmen produced the perfect reaction to Tuesday night's poor showing against Colwyn Bay this afternoon, as they swept basement side Hyde away with two goals in each half to lift them into eighth place in the Vanarama Conference North table

Tuesday night's horror show, aided by circumstances out of his control, had prompted manager Rob Smith into making changes to his side ahead of kick-off; James Hurst was ruled out due to injury, whilst news had filtered around Keys Park that Paul McCone had agreed to leave the club the previous evening to return to former club Stourbridge. This saw Tom Thorley and Tom Peers return to the starting line-up after both had looked sprightly as second-half substitutes against Colwyn Bay. Archie Love also returned to the squad after turning out for AFC Bridgnorth at the weekend on a dual registration deal

If the players and fans were looking for an immediate response to the midweek defeat, they got one in spectacular circumstances through Danny Glover in the third minute. Thorley won a free-kick twenty-five yards from goal which  allowed Glover to deliver another brilliant swerving, dipping free-kick that beat Billy O'Brien in the Hyde goal by finding the top right-hand corner of the net

Hyde almost produced an immediate response from the restart, as Tom Bentham broke clear of a hesitant Hednesford defence but was heavy with his final touch and allowed Dan Crane to smother the ball low down

 Ben Bailey was guilty of wasting a great chance to double the Pitmen's advantage on seven minutes, as Darren Campion's cross was headed weakly wide by Bailey at the far post, despite the centre back rising unchallenged to the ball

Crane had to be alert to deny Hyde again on twenty minutes, making a swift clearance to deny Steve Tames a clear shot on goal just inside the Hednesford penalty area

Two minutes later, Barrow loanee Jamie Crowther picked up a loose ball and tried his luck with a long-range effort, but failed to test O'Brien with a miscued shot wide of goal

Hyde's tactic of pumping balls in behind the Hednesford defence was basic and uninspiring but was causing the likes of Bailey and Chris Westwood to chase around and deal with several awkward bouncing balls in and around their own penalty area

The Pitmen remained a threat going forwards though, with striker partners Paul Sullivan and Glover linking up well to double the Pitmen's advantage just before the half-hour mark; Sullivan did well to head Melbourne's cross back into the path of Glover, who pounced on the ball to fire home just inside the near post for his sixth goal of the season

Hyde, to their credit, did not allow Glover's second goal to deter them from pushing forwards and hit the post a minute later through Connor Hughes, who nipped in to get on the end of Tames' flick on and turn the ball onto Crane's left-hand post

Crane had been the busier of the two keepers in the first half despite the scoreline and was called upon once again to make another save on thirty-four minutes to turn away an effort from Tames

A Luke Giverin free-kick rippled the roof of Crane's net on thirty-seven minutes, trying his luck from twenty-five yards after Bailey had conceded a free-kick and picked up a yellow card for his part in the piece

Sullivan was presented with two chances to add to Hyde's woes at the end of the first half, with a weak free-kick hitting the wall on forty-three minutes followed by a long-range shot that drifted well wide of goal a minute later

Hyde's spirited first-half showing was as good as it got for the struggling Tameside club, as they allowed Hednesford to dominate large periods of the second half and grab two further goals. The first of these came on fifty-five minutes, as Campion's inswinging corner kick was flapped at by O'Brien, who failed to claim the high ball and instead dropped the ball straight at the feet of Westwood, who had the simple task of tapping the ball home from close range for his first Hednesford goal

The cushion of a third goal allowed the Pitmen to relax and play their more natural game, with the excellent Thorley and Jamey Osborne spending more time on the ball in midfield orchestrating proceedings. It also meant they could afford to make changes without compromising their tactics, with Diggin given an extended run on the pitch on fifty-seven minutes after replacing Sullivan

A neat piece of interplay on the hour mark saw Glover played in by Diggin, with the striker denied a hat-trick by the post and Peers' follow-up shot cleared off the line by Alex McQuade

The Pitmen made their second change in quick succession, with Jamie Ashmore coming on in place of Peers on sixty-two minutes

Defender McQuade went from hero to villain very quickly, however, as he conceded a penalty on sixty-eight minutes as he brought down Thorley to stop the midfielder from running through on goal. Despite calls for the punishment to be a red card for being the last man in the Hyde defence, the referee deemed the penalty and a yellow card to be sufficient punishment for the beleaguered visitors

Glover shrugged off calls from Diggin to allow him the chance to get off the mark for the season to place the ball himself, firing confidently past O'Brien to complete his hat-trick and essentially finish the game as a contest

Glover certainly had the taste for goals, trying his luck once again a minute later with another free-kick from twenty-five yards out. This time, however, he lifted his effort high over the crossbar and into the stand

Jamie Crowther was taken off by the Pitmen on sixty-eight minutes, with the loan man from Barrow replaced by former Burnley youngster Love in midfield

With the Pitmen easing towards all three points in the closing stages, Hyde managed to grab a consolation goal in the final minute of the game from the penalty spot. Campion was adjudged to have brought down Tames just inside the penalty area with a robust challenge. Hughes stepped up to send Crane the wrong way from the spot to bookend the game with another goal

A pleasing, if not totally convincing, reaction then to Tuesday night from the Pitmen, who move within four points of the play-off places after taking advantage of a number of clubs above them playing in the F.A. Cup today. The result still fails to mask some of the issues around the team, ie the lack of balance in the side, defensive communication and a lack of real bite in midfield, but a win next week against Bradford (Park Avenue) would go some way to proving that Smith's side are on their way back to some kind of form

Hednesford Town: Crane, Melbourne, Campion ©, Bailey , Westwood, Crowther (Love 69), Osborne, Peers (Ashmore 62), Glover, Sullivan (Diggin 57), Thorley     Subs Unused: Robinson, Price

Hyde: O’Brien, Brizell ©, Brownhill, Lomax, McQuade , Giverin (Riley 69), Hughes, Blakeman  (O’Connor 45), Bentham, Tames, Gray       Subs Unused: Conchie, West, McNiven

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