Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Woolfe (73), Durrell (80), Rey (88)


Chilton (27), S. Moore (35)

(0) 3

(2) 2



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Dave MacPherson


Oxford City (H) 24.8.13

A tremendously entertaining final twenty minutes from Hednesford sees them come from two goals down to beat fellow Skrill North newcomers Leamington this evening at a noisy Keys Park, leaving the Pitmen as one of only four sides with a 100% record just two games into the new season

The Pitmen returned home on the back of a superb 4-0 win at Stalybridge Celtic on the opening day, looking to continue their fine home form from the back end of last season that saw them win their final seven games in a row at Keys Park. Manager Rob Smith kept faith in the side that had dispatched Celtic, with new signing Wayne Riley making his home debut after his recent switch from Airbus UK Broughton

Paul Holleran's Leamington also enjoyed the taste of victory at the weekend with a 2-0 win at home to Bradford (Park Avenue). Ex-Pitmen Tony Breeden and Sam Adkins started for the Brakes, alongside the Pitmen's nemesis from 2009-2010, prolific former Aston Villa, Halesowen Town, and St. Neots Town striker Stefan Moore

Neil Harvey was involved heavily in the first ten minutes, as the big striker went in search of his first goal of the new season. Neat control from the Barbados International on five minutes saw him turn and fire over the crossbar with an off-balance shot

 Five minutes later, Harvey managed to get the better of both Breeden and Paul McCone as he chased down a long ball, lifting it over both Leamington players after the ball had bounced kindly for Harvey. However, covering defenders managed to hack the ball away for a Hednesford corner before Harvey could bring the ball down and shoot

Leamington's response saw them go closest to scoring on fourteen minutes, as Moore sent a warning to the Hednesford defence with a half volley that struck the underside of the crossbar. The rebound fell to Lee Chilton, who blazed over the bar with a rising shot that had Dan Crane beaten

Crane - hero on Saturday with several fine saves - was called into action on eighteen minutes to make a fine save low to his right to palm away a far-post header from the giant Liam Daly and concede a corner. The resultant kick saw McCone head goalwards as he met the ball unmarked at the far post, only for Elliott Durrell to clear the ball off his own goal line

Durrell himself was wasteful with a free-kick from twenty yards out, slicing it horribly wide of goal. Two minutes later, Robbie Thompson-Brown fired narrowly wide of the post after good build-up play down the Hednesford right

The hosts were made to pay for allowing Leamington time on the ball on twenty-seven minutes, as neat play down the left saw the ball slipped into the path of Moore. He laid the ball into the path of Chilton, who fired low past Crane and into the corner of the net

The Pitmen were struggling to deal with the attacking threat of the two Leamington centre-backs at set-pieces, with McCone heading goalwards on the half-hour mark as he was allowed too much space again at the far post. This time, however, Crane was on hand to make a good save

Harvey somehow failed to put the Pitmen back on level terms three minutes later, as Durrell's fine cross found Harvey at the front post. His goalbound header from six yards out was scooped up in the air by McCone, and a desperate scramble for the loose ball saw Breeden eventually tip it over the crossbar as he was put under pressure by Riley

Hednesford were undone again ten minutes before half time, as Thompson-Brown lost out to Matthew Dodd in midfield and allowed Moore to seize upon the through ball down the right. Moore's swerving shot took a deflection off Francino Francis and looped over the head of the stranded Crane and into the far corner of the net

Brakes forward Ricky Johnson somehow failed to take the game away from the Pitmen with a couple of minutes before half time, as he turned Daly's downward header over the crossbar from just a couple of yards out

In the final minute of the half, Thompson-Brown went close to reducing the deficit as he swept a first time shot just wide of the right-hand post

This was to be Thompson-Brown's final contribution to the game, as both he and Kris Taylor were replaced at half time with Smith electing to add pace and steel to his team with the introductions of winger Nathan Woolfe and combative veteran midfielder Dave MacPherson

Woolfe and MacPherson were immediately involved, with Woolfe testing Breeden early on from a free-kick, curling a shot towards goal and requiring Breeden to palm the ball away for a corner. MacPherson's arrival saw him do what he does best - battle for the ball, win the marginal challenges and allow the creative talents of Jamey Osborne to flourish

Three successive corners from the Pitmen got the crowd behind them as they attacked a noisy Heath Hayes end, but more solid defending from Daly and McCone dealt with everything the home side could throw at them

Leamington were relying on the counter-attack to create further chances, with Johnson playing Chilton in on goal on the hour mark, but the midfielder only succeeded in firing wide with an angled shot

The Pitmen gambled with their last substitution on sixty-seven minutes, with Aaron Rey replacing the hard-working Riley

MacPherson wasted a wonderful chance to get the Pitmen back into the game two minutes later, as the ball eventually fell to him after a scramble in the six-yard box. However, his rising shot ended up with the fans in the Heath Hayes terrace behind the goal

The Pitmen finally got a lifeline on seventy-three minutes, with Woolfe striking his first goal of the season; a superb, marauding run from Osborne saw him beat four players as he took the ball down the right-wing. An inch-perfect cross found Woolfe unmarked at the far post, with the winger sidefooting his shot into the corner of the net

Breeden denied Rey with a save three minutes later before the hosts equalised through Saturday's hat-trick hero Durrell with ten minutes remaining. Neat build-up play around the penalty area saw MacPherson, Rey and Harvey link up, playing the ball into the path of Durrell, who was lurking on the edge of the box. His low, powerfully driven shot had too much on it for Breeden, who could do little to stop Durrell's low shot from finding the corner of the net

The comeback was complete with two minutes remaining, as the Pitmen's pressure told on a Leamington defence that had become increasingly nervy and less solid. A cross from the left caused panic in the Brakes ranks, with Breeden missing the ball under pressure from Harvey. The ball dropped at the feet of Rey, who slid a low shot into the far corner of the net from an angle

Cue wild celebrations from the Keys Park crowd, who had witnessed yet another fantastic Hednesford comeback -  a feature of this Rob Smith side, that never seems to understand when it is beaten. It was tough on Leamington, who had looked strong, solid and good value for the win up to seventy minutes, but fell away badly after the home side decided to play football on the floor for the final spell. Smith once again proved himself a master of the substitution, with all three changes having an impact on the result

So, six points out of six, two wins, seven goals scored, second in the table. The Pitmen really could not have wished for a better start back at step two this week and will be looking for more of the same when Oxford City visit Keys Park at the weekend

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©  Bailey, Francis, Taylor (MacPherson 45), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey, Riley (Rey 64), Thompson-Brown ▆ (Woolfe 45 )       Subs Unused: Melbourne, Barnes

Leamington: Breeden, Mace, Morley ©, Magunda, Daly, McCone, Dodd Adkins, S. Moore (Towers 85), Johnson (L. Moore 78), Chilton

Subs Unused: Naylor, Green, Fenney

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