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Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town

S. Williams (35), Thorley (50)

Lowestoft Town

Reed (70)

(1) 2

(0) 1



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Ahmed Obeng


Alfreton Town (H) 10.10.15

The Pitmen get back to winning ways in the Vanarama National League North today as they scored in both halves to defeat Lowestoft Town at Keys Park and give Bernard McNally his first league win since returning to the club last month

After making progress in the F.A. Cup last week courtesy of a 2-0 win over Bedworth United, the Pitmen returned to league duty with a couple of changes to the side up front - McNally had been waxing lyrical in the press during the week about the need to inject pace to his side and was as good as his word, bringing Ahmed Obeng and Nathan Modest back into the side in place of Kyle Perry and Paul Ennis

Lowestoft have started the season in a similar vein to the Pitmen, struggling to find consistency in the league after eleven games. They were knocked out of the F.A. Cup last Saturday, beaten 2-1 at Ryman Premier League side Bognor Regis Town at the second qualifying round stage. The Blues have recently added to their ranks with the signing of  the experienced defender Michael Spillane from Sutton United

The Pitmen were quickly out of the blocks, utilising the pace of Obeng and Modest immediately as they looked to get behind the tall, rangy Lowestoft back line. A ball from Andy Todd was pulled back into the path of Sean Williams in the tenth minute, with the midfielder driving in a shot that was saved by Harry Burgoyne in the Lowestoft goal

The visitors responded three minutes later from a corner kick, with Spillane heading over the crossbar from a great position after rising highest to meet the ball in

This was followed by a real opening for Lowestoft striker Jake Reed on twenty minutes, as the away side broke quickly down the left and left Ben Bailey for dead before firing narrowly wide of goal with a cross-shot

Obeng continued to dictate the pace and tempo of the game, constantly making clever, incisive runs to drag the Lowestoft defence out of position. Another flying run down the right on twenty-two minutes saw the striker play the ball through to John Disney, who fired over the crossbar with an effort from the edge of the penalty area

There were more heart flutters in the shaky Hednesford defence just after the half-hour mark, as Bailey had to put in a timely block to deny Erkan Okay after Dave Parton allowed a free-kick to fall to Jack Ainsley, who crossed for Okay

From the next break though, the Pitmen took the lead spectacularly, as Sean Williams fired home from a free-kick. A brilliant run from Obeng saw him dance past four players and shape to shoot until he was hacked down just to the left-hand side of the penalty area. Williams unleashed a superb shot from the resultant kick and fired an unstoppable shot beyond Burgoyne and into the top far corner of the net

The Pitmen were boosted by their opening goal, with Obeng and Modest continuing to press the overworked Lowestoft defence in search of a second goal. Modest was denied with two minutes of the half remaining, as Lowestoft skipper Rossi Jarvis making a last-ditch tackle to deny the striker a clean shot at goal

Modest was also unlucky to narrowly miss a free header at goal a minute later, as Todd's cross was just inches too high for Modest to head home

The Pitmen made a similarly thrusting start to the second half, with Obeng's turn of pace too much for Adam Smith, who was left standing by the forward. Obeng's powerful shot was well saved by Burgoyne, who also somehow managed to react quickly to deny Modest on the rebound

Nevertheless, the Pitmen did double their lead within five minutes of the restart, as Tom Thorley - who normally rarely troubles the goalscoring charts from midfield - grabbed his second goal in stow games to put the hosts firmly in control. A Sean Williams free-kick was headed goalwards by Phil Trainer, who forced Burgoyne into another flying save to his left to turn the ball onto the crossbar. The rebound fell kindly to Thorley, who volleyed the ball into the roof of the net from six yards out with an instinctive first-time effort

To be fair to Lowestoft, they never allowed themselves to accept the result from this point in and pushed the Pitmen all the way as they looked to once again exploit the home side's soft underbelly at the back

Reed continued to give Bailey and Tyrone Williams the runaround with his pace, impressing in the number nine role up front. He was denied a clear run on goal on the hour mark by Tyrone Williams as the young defender just got a toe to a through ball to deny Reed a chance

A deep cross from Smith from the Lowestoft right on sixty-four minutes saw Dan Gleeson nod the ball into the path of Reed, but more desperate defending from skipper Bailey again denied the lively forward a shot at Dave Parton

The Pitmen were once again their own worst enemies at the back with twenty minutes to goal, as they conceded the latest in a long line of soft, avoidable goals to give Lowestoft a chance of getting back into the game. A long, hopeful ball over the top saw Parton race out of his goal and completely misjudge the bounce of the ball, taking a swipe at it and missing with an air shot. Reed was quickest to the loose ball, holding off the challenge of Bailey and rolling the ball into the empty net to halve the deficit. A silly, needless goal conceded yet again by a naive Hednesford defence and something McNally will have to address in the next few games

This set up a nervy final spell of the game for the Pitmen, who suddenly started to panic on the ball and misplace passes as they looked to defend what was now a slim advantage. Lowestoft made a bold double substitution to try and force an equaliser through Harry Barker and Shaun Bammant. The Pitmen had made a change themselves just after the goal, with Paul Ennis coming on in place of the tiring Modest

 The final minutes saw a run of half-chances for the visitors, as Ryan Jarvis drilled a shot just over the crossbar, whilst Ainsley also cleared Parton's crossbar with a rising shot from long range after the Pitmen had stood off him

The hosts made a late change in an attempt to see the game out, with the more physical presence of Kennedy Digie replacing Sean Williams

The Pitmen held on to earn McNally his first league win since returning to Keys Park, moving them up to the reasonably safe confines of twelfth place in the Vanarama National League North table. Whilst still not entirely convincing, the Pitmen are at least showing signs of character and fight that made them so hard to beat in recent seasons. The re-introduction of Obeng was a major plus for the hosts, who will look to make further progress in this season's F.A. Cup when league rivals Alfreton Town come to Keys Park next weekend

Hednesford Town: Parton, Disney, Regan, Bailey ©, T. Williams, Trainer, S. Williams (Digie 86), Thorley, Modest (Ennis 70), Obeng, Todd,      Subs Unused: James, Perry, McQuilkin

Lowestoft Town: Burgoyne, Ainsley, Smith, Fisk ▆ (Bammant 88), Gleeson, Spillane , Mitchell (Crow 52), Rossi Jarvis © , Reed, Okay (Barker 81), Ryan Jarvis       Subs Unused: Nunn, Jessup

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