Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Wells (8)


Hyde United


(1) 1

(0) 0



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Danny Racchi



Grantham Town (H) 2.3.19

 The Pitmen make it back-to-back victories in the Evo-Stik Premier League for the first time since September tonight as they followed up Saturday's win over Buxton with another fine display to defeat play-off chasers Hyde at Keys Park


Nicky Eaden's men had given themselves a shot in the arm courtesy of the weekend's win at Silverlands, maintaining their three-point gap to the bottom three in the process with all results going against them to maintain the status quo in the bottom seven of the table. Injuries to Jud Ellis and Ben O'Hanlon saw the pair ruled out of tonight's home clash, allowing Nathan Fox and Jack Hallahan return to the squad in their places


Hyde - 2-0 winners over the ten-men Pitmen in November at Ewen Fields - had been hovering around the play-off places in recent weeks after an excellent run of form over the festive period. Recent form had been patchy for Darren Kelly's side, with three wins and three defeats from the last six games leaving them nine points behind fifth-placed Gainsborough Trinity going into tonight's set of fixtures


It was a delightful evening at Keys Park, with the unseasonably mild weather at odds with the cold, frosty conditions that had postponed the original game three weeks earlier. Hyde started on the front foot, with Paddy Lane getting forward in the third minute and crossing for striker Tom Pratt, only for Ben Bailey to make a fine block at the near post to deny Pratt a clear shot at goal


Having struck first at Buxton at the weekend, the Pitmen did the same to Hyde with their first real chance of the game on eight minutes; Bailey intercepted the ball and punted it forwards towards Kieran Wells, who challenged with Brownhill for the ball. Brownhill's header back to keeper Peter Crook lacked sufficient power, allowing the tireless influence of Wells to nip in and poke the ball beyond former Harrogate man Crook and into the far corner of the net for his second goal in two games


A half-volley from Hallahan was easily fielded by Crook three minutes later before the same player flicked a long throw from Bailey well wide of goal from ten yards out on fourteen minutes


An excellent spell of play from the Pitmen saw many players in white have a hand in a move that opened up the Hyde defence on twenty-seven minutes, with Fox driving inside from the wing before stinging the hands of Crook with an angled drive that the experienced stopper turned away from goal for a Hednesford corner kick


From the resultant Alex-Ray Harvey corner kick, Wells powered a header towards goal that was parried away by Crook. The loose ball fell at the feet of Reece King, whose half-volley was deflected onto the underside of the crossbar by Pratt as he managed to get enough of his body in the way of King's goalbound effort. Despite half-hearted appeals from the Hednesford players that the ball had crossed the line, the game continued with Hyde hacking the ball clear


Fox and new boy Danny Racchi linked up well down the left wing on the half-hour mark, with midfield man Racchi testing the reflexes of Crook with a swerving cross into the six-yard box that Crook did well to hold ahead of Wells


The Pitmen were forced into an early injury-forced substitution on thirty-four minutes, as Vidal was forced off after a heavy blow in a challenge and was replaced by Alex Melbourne at right-back


Hyde had struggled to create any openings of any real note during a muted first-half but had a good chance to pull themselves level on thirty-seven minutes as Lane's deep cross was headed just over the crossbar by Oladapo Olarewaju from six yards out


A swerving, dipping cross from Harvey on forty minutes found the head of Wells once more, but the striker's looping effort landed on the roof of Crook's net without troubling the keeper


The excellent Racchi combined well with Harvey a minute later as the Pitmen broke through the centre of the Hyde defence, with Harvey drilling a low shot well wide of goal from twenty-five yards out


The Pitmen can be pleased with their first-half display, having played in much the same way as they had at Buxton and earned the lead in similar circumstances. The second half started well for the hosts with another great chance to put the game beyond Hyde on fifty minutes, as a Bailey long throw was headed goalwards by King, only for Crook to make a flying save to turn the ball away from goal


Successive Harvey corner kicks kept the pressure on the Hyde defence, with the second corner headed goalwards by Bailey towards Courey Grantham, only for Hyde to somehow steal the ball away from goal


A fantastic raking ball forwards form Racchi found Wells once again in behind the Hyde defence on fifty-five minutes, only for Crook to spot the danger early on and make a timely clearance before Wells could get his shot away from the edge of the Hyde penalty area


There was a brief let-off for the Pitmen two minutes later, as a quick break from Hyde saw Pratt pick the ball up down the left before slipping Lane through on goal, only for his shot across the face of goal to drift wide of Preston's far post and away from danger


Another flowing move from the Pitmen saw Wells and Grantham link up well, with Wells playing his team-mate in on goal only for Hyde skipper Jordan Fagbola to make a timely block


Lane had looked Hyde's best bet to get them back into the game, with the midfielder wasting another good chance to level matters once more on sixty-seven minutes as he lifted his shot high over the crossbar from a good position fifteen yards out. Two minutes later, Preston easily held a speculative effort from Olarewaju as Hyde continued to press


With fifteen minutes remaining, Wells was given a well-earned rest by Eaden after once again running himself into the ground and was replaced by Shane Benjamin up front


King received an odd yellow card for his part in a clash with Lane on eighty-one minutes, as Lane collapsed in a heap after pulling King's shirt in midfield, with King mysteriously booked for his part in all of it


Harvey did well to get in behind the Hyde defence with just a minute left on the clock and pulled the ball back into the path of Grantham, whose scuffed effort drifted wide of the far post


The five minutes of added time were seen out in a calm and professional manner by the Pitmen to record their second home in three games, and only their third clean sheet in the league all season long.  What a difference seventy-two hours can make to the club, who can now start to look forward after a very productive last two games that have yielded six points. Another crucial game follows on Saturday when fellow strugglers Grantham Town visit Keys Park, with Hednesford looking to complete the perfect seven days with a third successive win


Hednesford Town: Preston, Vidal (Melbourne 34), Fox, Harvey, Moran, Bailey ©, Racchi, King , Wells (Benjamin 75), Hallahan, Grantham      Subs Unused: Archer, Gatter, Veiga


Hyde United: Crook, Smalley, Brownhill (McConville 65), Daly, McCombe, Fagbola ©, Olarewaju, Lipka, Pratt, Platt (O'Connor 67), Lane      Subs Unused: Haydock, Addai, Longato