Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Nantwich Town

Smith (78)

Hednesford Town 

Durrell (29)

(0) 1

(1) 1



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Elliott Durrell


Grantham Town (A) 20.10.12

Hednesford had to be content with just a point at the Weaver Stadium this evening, as a late goal from Christian Smith rescues a point for the home side after Elliott Durrell had put the Pitmen on the road to all three points with a first-half goal

Successive home defeats in the league had seen the Pitmen drop off the pace slightly in recent weeks, on top of a busy cup schedule for Rob Smith's outfit. He kept his side fresh by making three changes to the side that lost to Ashton United - John Disney, Jamey Osborne and Aaron Rey all returned to the side in place of Ben Watkis, Luke Bottomer and the injured Neil Harvey. Teenager Amani Allen was given a place amongst the substitutes after good form for the U21 side

Nantwich felt they should have been awarded an early penalty, as Josh Lane broke into the area and had a coming together with Disney. The referee was unimpressed with Nantwich's protests, however, and waved play on

Michael Lennon, back at the club where he plundered over 100 goals in recent seasons, had the first sight on goal on six minutes, heading just wide of goal after Nantwich keeper Jon Brain weakly punched a cross into Lennon's path

Five minutes later, another former Dabber - Dave MacPherson - tested Brain's reflexes with a low drive from just outside the area, with Brain holding the shot well at the first attempt

A quick break from Nantwich on fifteen minutes carved open the Hednesford defence, as Fraser McLachlan played in Kyle Wilson. The former FC United of Manchester striker composed himself before chipping the ball over Dan Crane but missed the target by a couple of feet

Durrell got a sighter in on goal midway through the half, unleashing a free-kick that flew over the crossbar. He got it right on twenty-nine minutes, as his swerving daisy-cutter of a free-kick evaded everyone and beat Brain low down at his post to open the scoring

The goal gave Hednesford impetus, and Rey almost put the Pitmen further in front on thirty-three minutes; Woolfe's superb delivery from the left seemed to be dropping onto the head of Rey, but he missed the ball by a matter of inches as he rose to meet the cross

As half time approached, Nantwich had two superb opportunities to level matters going into the half time break. Sean Cooke, Nantwich's top scorer so far this term, got on the end of a through ball from Lewis Short and lifted a shot over Crane, but onto the crossbar

Lane thought he had done enough to score for Nantwich with the final attack of the half, but his header was hacked off the line by Francino Francis

Hednesford started the second half with a bang, and Lennon went close to grabbing a crucial second goal as his goalbound shot was blocked by Mat Bailey. The ball ricocheted to Durrell, who fired high over the crossbar

Nantwich's Bailey was guilty of presenting Rey with a great opportunity two minutes later, gifting the ball to the striker in a dangerous position. Rey's shot from the edge of the area lacked precision however and flew half a yard over the crossbar

Just before the hour mark, Woolfe tried his luck with a free-kick that somehow missed everybody and had to be fielded by a relieved Brain

Rey's presence in front of goal this season has been hit and miss, to say the least, with only one goal to show for his efforts this term. He was guilty of getting it all wrong again on sixty-eight minutes, heading Woolfe's corner kick high and wide of goal

A minute later, big Nantwich centre back Bailey also fluffed his lines with a header from a corner, glancing his effort over the bar

The Pitmen really should have been home and hosed on seventy-five minutes, as another mistake from Mat Bailey saw Durrell seize on the ball and take it past Brain. An almighty scramble followed as Durrell looked to fire home. His eventual shot took a nick of Rey - who was standing in an offside position - and rolled into the net. The referee correctly disallowed the goal due to Rey's offside position

They were made to pay a heavy price for this three minutes later, as Nantwich grabbed an equaliser. Mat Bailey got his head to Cooke's corner, knocking the ball into the path of Christian Smith. His close-range header gave Crane no chance, bringing the Dabbers level

Both sides could have taken the lead as the game became end-to-end in the final ten minutes. Lennon broke clear of the Nantwich defence on eighty minutes, but a superb save from Brain denied Lenny the goal he craved against his former employers

At the other end, Nantwich went even closer to sealing all three points, as McLachlan and Wilson combined again in a move that set Wilson on his way. Wilson's chip looked to have done enough to beat Crane, but a brilliant goal-line clearance from Disney kept the scores level

Sean O'Connor was introduced in place of Rey with five minutes remaining to give the Pitmen a more physical approach. He managed to win a late free-kick, which Woolfe fired high over the crossbar

On balance, a draw was probably a fair result, but it is another two points lost in the race for the top of the league for the Pitmen, who travel to Grantham on Saturday looking for a boost

Nantwich Town: Brain, Moss (Flynn 63), McDonald, Maguire (Hughes 64), M. Bailey ©, Smith , Cooke, McLachlan , Lane (Beesley 78), Wilson, Short      Subs Unused: Foster, Jones

Hednesford Town: Crane, Barnes, Disney , B. Bailey, Francis, MacPherson © , Osborne , Durrell , Rey (O’Connor 84), Lennon, Woolfe       Subs Unused: Bottomer, Melbourne, Allen, Hornby