Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Short (41), Brewster (59)

Hednesford Town

(1) 2

(0) 0



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Tom Thorley


Marine (H) 17.3.18

The Pitmen's return to action after two weeks off is one to forget for Rob Smith and his side, as they are easily brushed aside by lowly Marine this afternoon at the Marine Travel Arena


The recent cold snap had put paid to Hednesford's last two games, with a trip to Grantham and a home game in midweek against Buxton both called off due to unplayable pitches. Smith's side returned to the pitch without the services of Joe Fitzpatrick as the midfielder starting his suspension following his red card against Warrington Town. Loan forward Jason Law was handed a full debut by Smith, who also handed Louis Harris a first start to replace Fitzpatrick in midfield. James Fitzgibbon was only deemed fit enough to be named amongst the substitutes whilst Ben Bailey made his first league start for some time in defence, replacing the rested Sam Oji


Tommy Lawson's Marine side had spent much of the campaign flirting with the bottom four, with successive defeats to Workington and Mickleover Sports in the past week dropping the Crosby club into the bottom three. New signing from Altrincham Josh Amis was named in the starting line-up alongside prolific skipper Danny Mitchley in an attack-minded set-up


The hosts found their feet the quicker of the two sides on a heavy pitch and forced two early corners with James Wren smartly down in the fifth minute to smother a shot from debutant Amis


A major asset to the team when Bailey is playing is his ability to launch long throws into the penalty area with a deep throw from the defender on nine minutes somehow drifted wide of goal as no-one in a grey shirt on hand to turn the loose ball home


James Lawrie's free-kick into the Marine penalty area a minute later was met by striker Joey Butlin, but the burly striker found his looping header land on the roof of the net


There was a lengthy stoppage in play in the fourteenth minute, as Harris and Michael Brewster clashed in midfield, with both players requiring treatment after a clash of heads


Two minutes later, a neat passage of play from the home side saw Amis play in James Short, whose half-volley flew narrowly wide of Wren's right-hand post


Jordan Graham became the first in a long line of Hednesford players to receive a caution on twenty-two minutes for an innocuous-looking foul when it appeared that the winger had won the ball cleanly


Another long throw from Bailey three minutes later caused momentary panic for the Marine defence, with Harris's flick-on heading towards the bottom corner before Peter Wylie's intervention


Harris was the next Hednesford player to make his way into the book on thirty-four minutes following a foul and then words with the referee afterwards that the match official took exception to


The Mariners took the lead at the perfect time in the match - four minutes before the break - as the Pitmen switched off in defence for the first time in the game. A free kick from Short out on the right-hand side of the area was whipped in towards the far post, with Adam Hughes appearing to glance the ball past Wren from close range. However, on second viewing, it appeared that the ball in from Short went straight into the net without help from his team-mate and he was awarded the goal


The first half ended with youngster Law shown a yellow card for a slightly mistimed challenge out on the left-hand side of the pitch that was worthy of a booking for the on-loan teenager


The Pitmen started the second half brighter with Lawrie's free-kick finding Callam Mendez-Jones with the first attack of the restart, only for the right back to lift his shot over the crossbar with a half-volley from twelve yards out


The ineffective Graham had been on the periphery of the game throughout and missed a great chance to level matters on fifty minutes. A great passage of play down the Hednesford left saw Matt Curley and Tom Thorley combine well, with Thorley's driven cross into Graham's feet embarrassingly mis-kicked by the youngster as he swung at fresh air


Wren made another fine save three minutes later, making a low stop to deny Amis a second goal for Marine after he had been played in by new strike partner Mitchley


A great delivery from Lawrie on fifty-four minutes saw him swing in a free kick that found the head of Charlie Gatter, only for the centre back to glance an effort just wide of goal


Law's full debut for the Pitmen came to an end on fifty-seven minutes, as he was replaced by Danny Glover as the Pitmen brought on another centre-forward to play alongside Butlin


Two minutes later, Marine made the game safe with a killer second goal through Brewster; a great run down the left from Mitchley saw him hold off Gatter's challenge sufficiently to give him time and space to fire in a shot, with Wren making an excellent low stop. However, he could only divert the ball into the path of Brewster, who had the simple task of tapping the rebound home from close range


The Pitmen responded through Lawrie on sixty-seven minutes, who was played in by Butlin's slide-rule pass but drove his shot well wide of Martin Fearon's goal


The visitors made the second and last change of the afternoon on seventy-three minutes, with the lanky figure of Reece King coming on for Harris in the centre of midfield


A well-delivered corner kick from Lawrie on seventy-seven minutes found the head of substitute King, but his knock-down was just out of reach of Butlin, who failed to turn the ball home from close range


Mitchley could have made it 3-0 with ten minutes remaining, as his ambitious chip over Wren from just outside the penalty area was floated narrowly wide of goal


Graham finally called upon Fearon to make a save for the hosts with four minutes remaining, as his low, bobbling shot was well fielded by the Marine keeper down to his right


Mendez-Jones was booked for the Pitmen as the game entered added time, with the drizzly weather that ended the game indicative of the Pitmen's mood at the referee's final whistle. It had been a poor, limp display from the visitors, who lacked a cutting edge throughout and had allowed their hosts to canter to a win. The play-offs are now looking a little distant for the Pitmen, with Smith looking for an immediate response from his shot-shy team when the two sides meet again in the reverse fixture at Keys Park next weekend


Marine: Fearon, Wylie, Short, Hughes, Strickland, Smart, Brewster (McGrath 87), Field (Murray 70), Mitchley ©, Amis (Reid 67), Tongue   Unused Subs: Baker, Watson


Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones , Curley, Bailey, Gatter , Harris (King 73), Law (Glover 57), Thorley ©, Butlin, Graham , Lawrie   Unused Subs: Oji, Fitzgibbon, Veiga

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