Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Lawrie (52), Glover (62), (72)


Bailey (29) (OG), Mitchley (86)

(0) 3

(1) 2



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Sam Oji


Warrington Town (A) 20.3.18

The Pitmen produce a rousing second-half performance to gain revenge on last week's opponents Marine and take all three points and Keys Park this afternoon to end two matches losing run


Having lost to the same opponents this time last week, manager Rob Smith made three changes to his starting line-up. New signing Jack Rea replaced Reece King in midfield whilst Danny Glover replaced Joey Butlin in front. Sam Oji was restored to the starting line-up in place of Louis Harris in the final change


Marine's win over the Pitmen last weekend was their first in three games, with new strike partners Danny Mitchley and Josh Amis impressing in their first outing together. Tommy Lawson named the same XI as last weekend, confident of a similar result to further lift the Mariners up the league table


A bizarre day weather-wise - with drifting snow and bright sunshine competing in South Staffordshire - took a further turn with news of a fire breaking out on Marine's team coach, having stopped outside the Cross Keys pub, just a couple of hundred yards away from Keys Park. Fortunately, all of Marine's players and match officials managed to get off the coach in a timely manner with no concerns


Marine were first to try their luck on a soft, mushy surface, with Michael Brewster driving a fourth-minute effort high over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area


The early exchanges were attritional, to say the least, with both sides struggling to create any real clear-cut chances in the first fifteen minutes. Ben Bailey's long throws appeared to be the Pitmen's best outlet for a chance, but solid defending from the Marine back line, marshalled well by a tall, well-drilled central defensive partnership


A deep, flat throw from Bailey on sixteen minutes found the head of Callam Mendez-Jones, but the right-back nodded his effort well wide of the right-hand post


Marine left-back James Short - who scored Marine's opener in their 2-0 win last week - went close to doing the same on twenty-six minutes, as his dipping shot from range just cleared the crossbar


 The snow that sporadically fallen across the area during the morning hit with aplomb midway through the half, with a blizzard engulfing Keys Park after rolling in over the Hednesford Hills. This made playing - and spectating - a difficult process during the remainder of the first half


Marine, however, made the best of the bad weather to take the lead on twenty-nine minutes. A neat piece of play down the wing saw skipper Mitchley cross for Amis, who was beaten to the ball by Bailey, turning it into his own net from close range to give the visitors the lead


The Pitmen responded through Matt Curley, who made the first meaningful run down the left wing on thirty-one minutes but saw his driven effort blocked by some purposeful Marine defending


A quick break from Marine on thirty-six minutes saw them catch the five-man Hednesford defence cold, requiring a last-ditch challenge from Oji to deny Amis a second goal for the away side


A late challenge by William Smart on Tom Thorley incurred the wrath of the Hednesford players on thirty-eight minutes, resulting in a yellow card for the Marine midfielder after leaving the Hednesford captain in a heap


A great cross from Curley on forty-two minutes was cleared as far as Glover, who was lurking on the edge of the penalty area. The recalled striker fired in a low shot that was turned away from goal by a Marine defender


James Wren denied Marine a certain second goal with the final action of the half, making a brilliant one-handed save - despite appearing to be diving the opposite way - to deny Amis from close range after a cross in from Brewster


The Pitmen were sent out with instructions to compete more in the game, with their competitiveness reaping immediate rewards at the start of the second half. The ball was worked to James Lawrie on the edge of the penalty area on fifty-two minutes, with the midfielder taking a pop at goal from twenty yards out. Lawrie's shot took a slight deflection off a Marine defender, turning it beyond the reach of Marine keeper Martin Fearon to level matters


Marine continued to give the Pitmen problems at the back, with Bailey denying Mitchley with a fine block on fifty-four minutes. A few minutes later, Wren made another one of his brilliant saves to deny Short a second goal for the away side after the full-back had made a run down the wing


This was to cost Marine dearly, as the Pitmen got themselves in front for the first time in the game in controversial circumstances on sixty-two minutes. Another long-range effort, this time from Thorley, was saved by Fearon, who could only palm the ball up into the air. Glover reacted quickest to pounce on the looping ball, heading it home from close range. The Marine players gestured to the referee about the award of the goal, feeling that Glover was offside when the ball was struck. However, their pleas fell on deaf ears and the goal was awarded


The hosts made their first change of the afternoon on sixty-five minutes with Harris coming on for debutant Rea, who will no doubt have been feeling the pace after a long injury lay-off


The dangerous Mitchley drove a shot narrowly wide of goal on sixty-seven minutes after another quick break in behind the Hednesford defence caught the hosts out momentarily


Three minutes later, strike partner Amis forced Wren into another great save, firing in a powerful effort that Wren did well to parry away, with Oji completing the clearance


The Pitmen made their second change on seventy-one minutes, with James Fitzgibbon replacing Bailey. This forced a re-shuffle of the positions, with the defence reverting to a flat back four and Fitzgibbon slotting in on the left wing


The young winger was straight into the action, claiming an assist with his first touch on seventy-two minutes; Neat, incisive one-touch play from the Pitmen opened up the Marine defence with Fitzgibbon doing well to play the ball into Glover, who finished brilliantly from eighteen yards out with a volley after controlling the cross with his chest. A great finish to a great team move


Glover could have claimed a hat-trick on eighty-one minutes, as he was played in on the left-hand side of the penalty area by Lawrie, but his chipped effort from a tight angle was well saved by Fearon


From the resultant corner, the ball found it's way to Glover at the far post, with his chip back across goal somehow headed against the crossbar by Jordan Graham, who was presented with an open goal at the far post but failed to settle the game for the Pitmen


The visitors made the game interesting with four minutes remaining, as they reduced arrears through Mitchley. The Hednesford defence failed to clear their lines down the left which allowed Brewster to pull the ball back to Mitchley, who side-footed the ball past Wren to make it 3-2


Fearon kept his team in contention in the final minute of normal time, making a fine save to deny Fitzgibbon with a save low down after the winger had jinked his way into the Marine penalty area from the left


Marine failed to force home a third goal in added time, earning the Pitmen a hard-fought three points that keep them in ninth place in the league table. A busy week of league action for the Pitmen sees them on their travels twice in five days, with a trip to Warrington Town on Tuesday night followed by a short trip to Derbyshire to visit Buxton next weekend


Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones, Curley, Bailey (Fitzgibbon 71), Oji, Gatter, Rea (Harris 65), Thorley ©, Glover, Graham, Lawrie   Unused Subs: Butlin, King, Veiga


Marine: Fearon, Wylie, Short, Hughes, Strickland, Smart , Brewster, Field (McGrath 75), Mitchley ©, Amis, Tongue (Murray 70)   Unused Subs: Reid, Baker, Watson

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