Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Durrell (46), (84) (penalty)


(0) 2

(0) 0



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Alex Melbourne


North Ferriby United (A) 1.12.12

Hednesford quickly got back to winning ways this evening, as they moved to within six points of league leaders North Ferriby courtesy of a win over improving Ilkeston at Keys Park

With games coming thick and fast at present, manager Rob Smith again shuffled his pack, making two changes to the side that had lost to Solihull Moors in the F.A. Trophy at the weekend. In came Sean O'Connor and Alex Melbourne, replacing Neil Harvey and Dave MacPherson respectively

Ilson had made great strides in recent weeks, having started the season in wretched form after promotion in the summer. They started with real desire, forcing Hednesford back into their own half during the early exchanges. On ten minutes, a corner kick was floated into the path of loanee midfielder Jack Eades, who scuffed an excellent effort wide of goal

Back came the Pitmen and Francino Francis almost repeated his heroics at Matlock last week with another acrobatic overhead shot that was well held by Ilkeston keeper Chris Martin on nineteen minutes

The big defender tried his luck again four minutes later, volleying over the crossbar after the ball had been played into his path on the edge of the penalty area

Ilkeston went closest to opening the scoring on twenty-seven minutes, as skipper Darren Campion miscued the ball and allowed veteran striker Gary Ricketts in on goal. Fortunately for the Pitmen, keeper Dan Crane was equal to Ricketts' shot as he parried the shot away from goal

With Elliott Durrell in the kind of form of late, the Pitmen have a player who can turn the game in their favour at any point; his superbly flighted cross on twenty-nine minutes found the head of Ben Bailey, but the big defender got underneath the ball and headed over the bar

The away bench was incensed at the referee on thirty-five minutes, as Aaron Hooton was adjudged to have been taken out by Sam Barnes as he bore down on goal. With Barnes seemingly the last man, Ilkeston expected a red card for the big Scouser, only for the match official to show Barnes a yellow card

There was yet more controversy with four minutes of the half remaining, as Greg Tempest's corner kick drifted over the head of Crane and looked as though it had crossed the line, with Melbourne clearing the ball away from danger. The referee continued with the game, despite vociferous protests from the Ilkeston players and management

The final action of the half saw Hednesford have a penalty shout of their own, as Jamey Osborne took a tumble under pressure from Greg Pearson. Again, the referee saw nothing wrong in the challenge and waved play on

The Pitmen were forced into a change at half time, as Sam Barnes suffered an injury and was replaced by Harvey. This saw a change to the formation, with the Pitmen playing with three up front as a result of the substitution

It was also revealed at half time that Ilkeston manager Kevin Wilson had been sent to the stands by the referee after arguing a little too keenly as the sides left the pitch at the end of the first half

The change in formation reaped immediate dividends, as the hosts took the lead just seconds into the half. Durrell's deep, swerving cross from the right was aimed at Harvey and O'Connor, but instead drifted over the head of Martin and into the net - via a deflection off the post - to score a pretty fortuitous goal

 With the goal cushion, Hednesford pressed for more goals to improve their goal difference. A great cross from Campion on fifty-one minutes found the head of O'Connor, but the big man flicked his header inches wide of goal

O'Connor's game ended soon after, as he was replaced on sixty-six minutes by Michael Lennon

The game was scrappy for long periods of the second half, with neither side able to craft a clear-cut chance. Both keepers were under-employed for a twenty-minute spell during the half, only fielding back passes and taking goal kicks

A corner kick to Ilson on seventy-seven minutes saw the game spark back into life, as Laurie Wilson headed wide of goal with a far-post header

MacPherson was brought on in place of Aaron Rey with eleven minutes remaining, with the Pitmen reverting to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation as they looked to close the game out

The Pitmen made the game safe with a second goal on eighty-four minutes. The Pitmen looked to have scored via a scrambled effort, but the referee had seen an earlier infringement and awarded Hednesford a penalty

Durrell stepped up and fired home to Martin's right-hand side, despite the keeper's best attempts to palm the ball away

Another crucial three points earned by the Pitmen then, keeping them within striking distance of Ferriby with two games in hand. The two sides meet on Saturday at Grange Lane, in one of the most eagerly-awaited games of the Evo-Stik League season

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney , Campion © , Bailey, Barnes (Harvey 45), Francis, Osborne, Durrell, O’Connor (Lennon 85), Rey (MacPherson 79), Melbourne ▆        Subs Unused: Craven, Hornby

Ilkeston: Martin, Thompson, Wilson, Pearson , Maguire, Maduako , Eades (Watts 35), Peel (Gardner 77), Ricketts ©, Hocton, Tempest (Cullingworth 65)      Subs Unused: Smith, Partridge