Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Campion (31), Danks (53), Hay (55), Durrell (75) (penalty), Denny (80), Haynes (90)

Ashton United

O'Connell (86)

(1) 6

(0) 1



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Ben Bailey


Worksop Town (A) 17.12.11

After a disappointing shut-out against Ashton the previous week, Hednesford hit the goal trail in spectacular style as they completed a league double over nine-man Mickleover Sports with a six-goal demolition of the struggling Derbyshire side. In the process, they moved joint top of the league ahead of a busy period in December and January 

With suspensions kicking in all over the pitch, manager Rob Smith was forced into a number of changes to his side; goalkeeper Dan Crane was serving his one-match ban after being sent off at Stocksbridge and was replaced by Kidderminster Harriers man Tony Breeden, who was loaned to the Pitmen for one match only. Pedro Monteiro was also serving his one-match ban, with Ben Bailey coming in in place of the Portuguese centre back. Up front, twin suspensions for Nick Wellecomme and Marvin Robinson meant that the forward line of Mark Danks and Gary Hay pretty much picked itself. Andre Landell - a recent attacking signing from Blue Square Bet South side Bath City - was named amongst the substitutes 

Mickleover started well, looking to earn crucial points after spiralling towards the relegation zone in recent weeks. Danny Martin struck a goalbound free kick on three minutes, with the ball eventually hacked clear after confusion in the Hednesford ranks

Chris Clements, still topping the scoring charts for the Pitmen, tried his luck with a trademark free-kick on eleven minutes, but got his foot under the ball and fired well over the crossbar

The away side thought they had stolen into the lead three minutes later; Tom Kellogg fired home from close range, only to be denied by an earlier offside flag

Sports keeper Damian Clarke was called upon for the first time on nineteen minutes, making a superb save to tip over Darren Campion's shot, hit with venom from a free-kick twenty-five yards out

A flurry of Hednesford corners and free kicks continued to keep Mickleover on their toes, as Campion, Clements and Elliott Durrell all threatened. However, without the height and power of Messrs Wellecomme and Robinson, many of the balls in were competently dealt with by former Stafford Rangers defender Craig McAughtrie

Just after the half-hour mark, Campion scored a fluke goal to put the Pitmen into the lead; picking up the ball on the left-hand edge of the penalty area, his cross to the back post had a little too much on it that was perhaps intended, beating all incoming players and beating Clarke low down at his far post

Hay's aggressive approach to the game almost saw him in serious trouble with the referee ten minutes before half time, as he clashed with McAughtrie and appeared to raise his elbow at the big defender, incurring a yellow card for his crime when a red could have been shown

As half time approached, Jamey Osborne went on a mazy run on the edge of the area, beating two challenges before firing just wide. In the final minute of the half, Alex Steadman fired across the face of the Hednesford goal with a dangerous drive

The Pitmen came flying out of the traps after half time and essentially ended the game as a contest with a quickfire double. On fifty-three minutes, Hay's hard work saw him win the ball out wide, before crossing for Danks, who brilliantly headed past Clarke via a deflection off the post

Two minutes later, Hay planted a firm header past Clarke from eight yards out after Durrell had picked him out with a floated cross

Mickleover's frustrations came to a head just after the hour mark as Martin was sent off for an elbow on Danks, leaving the away side with a mountain to climb. Buoyed by this, Osborne unleashed a shot from range that came back off the crossbar

The Pitmen relaxed, and Smith afforded changes to his front line in the forms of Andre Landell, who came on in place of Hay, and Danny Quinn, who replaced Danks. Ben Jevons was also introduced in midfield as he replaced Clements, who had had a quiet afternoon by his high standards

Landell made an impact within a few minutes of coming on, as his pace saw him surge into the penalty area to get on the end of a Kyle Haynes through ball. Kellogg crudely tripped the youngster as he got on the ball, and having already been booked, was promptly shown another yellow card by the referee, who pointed to the spot. Durrell calmly fired past Clarke

Five minutes later, Quinn played a superb ball over the top of the Mickleover defenders, into the path of Jay Denny. He kept his cool to fire past Clarke from close range and make it five for the Pitmen with ten minutes remaining

Despite cruising to a win, the Pitmen could not keep a clean sheet for Breeden in his one game for the club, as they conceded a soft consolation goal. Keiran O'Connell was allowed a free run straight through the middle of the Hednesford defence before firing low past Breeden

Quinn almost grabbed the goal he craved for so long a minute from time, but his low shot missed the far post by a yard or so

It was left to Haynes to complete the scoring in added time, picking up the loose ball just inside the Mickleover half and advancing on goal, before letting rip with a superb low strike from fully thirty yards that found the bottom corner of the net

It had been a welcome and timely return to goalscoring form for the hosts, who move level on points with both Chester and Northwich Victoria at the top of the table on forty-eight points. The Pitmen are on their travels again next weekend as they make the trip to improving Worksop's Sandy Lane ground looking to build on today's free-scoring display and possibly go top of the table if results go their way elsewhere

Hednesford Town: Breeden, Haynes, Campion ©, Dunkley, Bailey, Denny, Osborne, Clements (Jevons 72), Danks (Quinn 69), Hay (Landell 64), Durrell      Subs Unused: Shaw, Benjamin-McFarlane

Mickleover Sports: Clarke , Grocott (Pawley 69), Nwadike, Walshe © , Kellogg (68), McAughtrie, Graves, Martin (61), Smythe (Strzyzewski 66), O’Connell, Steadman (Hoyle 76)      Sub Unused: Everett-Elliott