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Vanarama Conference North


Newton (64)

Hednesford Town

Walker (3)

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(1) 1



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Glenn Walker


Gainsborough Trinity (H) 20.12.14

The Pitmen stopped the rot of three successive defeats this afternoon with a point at Leamington's New Windmill Ground - but it could have been all three for Rob Smith's team after a dominant first-half display and a superb late chance for Jamey Osborne to win it at the death

There had been changes to the squad during the week, as Smith looked for a response to last Saturday's F.A. Trophy exit at AFC Fylde. Francino Francis had left the club and returned to Barwell after an indifferent few months at the club. With Francis departing, Paul McCone had returned to the club in his place, having left the club in October to rejoin Stourbridge. There was also the surprise return to the club for striker Mark Danks, who was named amongst the substitutes after agreeing to a third spell at Keys Park. Richard Batchelor was afforded a generous welcome back to the club he had served for nearly five years before his switch to Hednesford

Leamington's season has once again seen the Brakes firmly rooted in the bottom half of the table, with only five wins so far this season. The dangerous Stefan Moore was named amongst the Brakes starters, looking to add to his considerable tally against the Pitmen in recent years

A bright start from the Pitmen saw them force Leamington onto the back foot and march into a third-minute lead through the excellent Glenn Walker; a superb run down the left from Darren Campion saw the Hednesford skipper pull the ball back across the face of goal, finding the onrushing Batchelor eight yards out. The former Leamington man was denied a dream return to the New Windmill by Leamington keeper Connal Trueman, who made a fine save from close range to deny the midfielder. The ball ran kindly to Walker, who turned the rebound home from six yards out

Danny Glover's first sight at goal came from a free-kick on ten minutes, with the striker curling his effort just over the crossbar and into the Hednesford fans gathered in the Harbury Lane End

The Pitmen's defence - much-maligned in recent weeks due to an indifferent run of form - looked far more at ease in dealing with the threat of Moore and Danny Newton, with McCone slotting back into the central defence with ease after two months away

Jamey Osborne showed a glimpse of his undoubted talent on twenty minutes, making a surging run into the Leamington penalty area after shimmying his way past three challenges. His low drive was well saved by Trueman, who turned Osborne's goalbound effort away from goal

Osborne's superb inswinging free-kick on twenty-nine minutes opened up the Leamington defence once more, finding right-back James Hurst lurking eight yards from goal. His flick header looked destined for the far corner of the net until Trueman produced a superb one-handed save at full stretch to deny Hurst his first goal of the season

Campion's long-range effort fizzed wide of goal on thirty-five minutes, followed by a flick header from Glover to minutes later that was turned away by an overworked Trueman

The home side showed a glimpse of what was to come in the second half with a late salvo at the end of the first period, as Lee Chilton's shot rebounded to Newton on forty-two minutes. The striker drove his low shot wide of goal from a good position inside the penalty area, with Moore looking to get in on the act too. A minute later Lee Moore heading Chilton's free-kick just wide of goal as Leamington pressed the Hednesford defence for the first time in the afternoon

Leamington emerged with more purpose at the end of the half time break and turned the tables on the Pitmen with a forceful start to the second period. Dan Crane was called upon to make a great save on fifty minutes, turning away a powerful drive from Chilton that looked on it's way to finding the top corner of the net

From the resultant Chilton corner, Newton somehow turned his close-range effort over the crossbar after bringing down the loose ball and firing over

The Pitmen thought they had doubled their advantage just before the hour mark, as Steve Diggin broke through the Leamington defensive line and turned the ball past Trueman from an angle. His celebrations were brought to a premature end, however, due to a late offside flag on the far side of the ground

Campion's deep corner kick on sixty-two minutes eventually found Ben Bailey lurking inside the six-yard box, with Trueman stealing the ball away from the centre back before he could turn the loose ball home

The Pitmen were made to pay for missing a host of good chances on sixty-four minutes, as Leamington struck an equaliser through Newton. Jamie Tank's left-wing cross found Newton inside the penalty area, with the striker given all the time in the world to bring the ball down and fire beyond Crane

The Pitmen responded by making a change up front on seventy-two minutes, with Marvin Robinson coming on in place of Glover

Lee Moore was again wasteful for the Brakes with a wild effort on seventy-five minutes, with substitute Matt Dodd also firing well wide a minute later as Leamington pressed for a winner

With ten minutes remaining, Danks made his much-anticipated return to the Hednesford side as he came on in place of Alex Melbourne

Another excellent Crane save denied Newton a late winner before Osborne's last-gasp effort went oh-so-close to sealing the three points for Hednesford; picking the ball up on the edge of the Leamington penalty area, Osborne did well to move the ball onto this favoured right foot and hit a swerving effort away from Trueman and off the inside of the left-hand post before the ball was cleared by a Leamington defender

A frustrating end to a largely frustrating game for the Pitmen, who will feel they did enough to win the game on the balance of play. Leamington's approach after the break will mean they will feel they deserved at least a share of the spoils, but Osborne's late effort sums up Hednesford's luck at present - competing keenly, creating chances but ultimately not quite enough to force a win. A rare free week for Hednesford next week gives them time to get over some of the niggling injuries that still plague the squad and time to work on their tactics ahead of the home game against Gainsborough Trinity on 20th December

Leamington: Trueman, Fry, Morley ©, Magunda, Tank, Mace, L. Moore (Dodd 85), Edwards , S. Moore, Newton, Chilton       Subs Unused: Wint, Pierpoint, Connolly, Hill

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst , Campion ©, Bailey, McCone, Melbourne (Danks 80), Osborne , Walker, Glover (Robinson 74), Diggin, Batchelor       Subs Unused: Sullivan, Thorley, Price

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