Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Glover (3)

Nantwich Town

Peers (14), Haynes (55) (OG)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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Dan Crane


Frickley Athletic (A) 4.3.17

The Pitmen's recent winning form ended abruptly this afternoon as play-off contenders Nantwich Town come from behind to record their first-ever win at Keys Park

Back-to-back wins over Skelmersdale United and Ilkeston had lifted Hednesford back into the top half of the Evo-Stik Premier League table ahead of their return to Keys Park today. The Pitmen's interim management team made only one change to the side that had won at the New Manor Ground in midweek as Callum Roberts replaced the injured Darren Campion at left-back. Vinny Mukendi returned to the squad as a substitute after missing the Ilkeston game due to a one-match suspension for the red card he picked up at Buxton 

Nantwich had enjoyed a fine season to date and sat seventh in a congested league table ahead of today's game, but only two points behind second-placed Buxton ahead of this afternoon's round of games. The Dabbers had drawn 1-1 at home to struggling Corby Town last week, further extending their unbeaten league run to six games with manager Phil Parkinson making one change to his side as full-back Andy White coming in for Joel Stair. There was a sprinkling of ex-Hednesford men in the Nantwich ranks as Sam Hall, Wayne Riley and Tom Peers all starting for Parkinson's side

A lively start to the game saw the in-form Dabbers almost take the lead in the very first minute as John Johnston's goalbound effort was hacked off the line by Kyle Haynes after he had tracked back behind Dan Crane

Two minutes later, the Pitmen took the lead with their first attack of the afternoon; David McDermott won the ball from Hall and played Danny Glover through on goal with a fine slide-rule pass. The striker took a touch to take it past Curtis Jones before firing past the despairing dive of on-loan Stoke City goalkeeper Dániel Gyollai

Back came the visitors two minutes later as Jones headed wide of goal at the other end of the pitch after rising highest to meet an inswinging cross from Joe Mwaisle

On-loan Nat Brown did well to deny Matty Bell in the tenth minute of the game, sliding in to take the ball away from the midfielder after Riley had cut in from the right and laid the ball off into his team-mate's path

The growing pressure on the Hednesford goal from Nantwich finally told in the fourteenth minute as a long, searching ball forwards from Hall caught the Hednesford defence ball-watching and allowed Peers to steal in and slot past Crane from fifteen yards out. Dreadful defending from the Pitmen once more and another awful route one goal to concede

It could have got worse for the Pitmen just a minute later as Nantwich went close to turning the game on its head with their next attack; Mwasile's run and cross from the left found Peers once more, who was afforded time and space by the Pitmen to collect the ball and turn. Fortunately for the home side, Peers took too long to decide what to do with the ball and allowed Roberts to clear the danger

A good run from Johnston three minutes later saw him drift past Roberts and send over a low cross that skipped across the face of Crane's goal before Haynes cleared the ball

Tony Clarke did well to out-muscle White down the left flank on nineteen minutes and hold the ball up well to bring McDermott into the game. The former Walsall man's deep cross was headed back across goal by Danny Glover and claimed by Gyollai ahead of both George Washbourne and Tom Thorley

A good clearance from Brown midway through the first half saw off a dangerous Mwasile cross as it drifted towards goal, followed two minutes later by a similarly competent clearance by Dan Brenan to hack a cross from Johnston on the other side away from the clutches of Riley

Glover lifted a free-kick high over Gyollai's crossbar on twenty-seven minutes after Clarke's bustling run towards the Nantwich penalty area was halted by Jones twenty-five yards from goal

Crane made a timely stop to deny Mwasile on thirty-two minutes as he smothered the ball at the winger's feet after he had slightly over-run the ball from cutting in off the flank

Three minutes later, Peers was denied another chance courtesy of an offside flag on the main stand side as over too soon to get on the end of a pass from Hall

A corner kick from Thorley on thirty-nine minutes was partially cleared by the Nantwich back line, dropping kindly to veteran centre-back Brown on the edge of the penalty area who volleyed over the crossbar with a first-time effort

With a couple of minutes of a keenly-contested first half remaining, another fine run from Johnston saw him skip past Roberts and try his luck from the corner of the Hednesford penalty area which sailed high over Crane's crossbar

Nantwich started the second half strongly and almost went ahead for the first time int he afternoon on fifty minutes; Johnston's corner was cleared as far as Mwasile, whose struck a fine goalbound shot from twenty yards out that was deflected into the path of Bell, whose rebound narrowly flew over the crossbar from close-range

The Dabber's early pressure was to pay dividends five minutes later as they took the lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances; Johnston got the better of Roberts once more down the flank and crossed low to the far post, where Haynes inexplicably turned the ball into his own net from close-range under pressure from Peers

The home side made an immediate reaction to falling behind with the introduction of Lewis Wright before the restart in place of Washbourne, who had looked out of his depth against an experienced Nantwich midfield and offered little in the way of an attacking threat

Wright was involved straightaway for the hosts as he took a pass from Haynes forward on fifty-eight minutes and crossed for Glover, only for the striker's looping header to drift over Gyollai's crossbar from ten yards out

Another man struggling to make an impact was McDermott, who had got very little change out of Nantwich full-backs in another flat afternoon from the winger. He was replaced just before the hour mark by Mukendi as the Pitmen went with three men up front in a bid to get themselves back into the game

Mukendi's first involvement saw him head a Wright cross high over the crossbar as the two substitutes linked up on sixty-three minutes to test the Nantwich defence

A quick break from the away side on sixty-seven minutes saw Wright pick up a yellow card as he hauled back Mwaisle after the winger had got on the end of a Hall pass

Peers had spent the afternoon paying off the shoulder of Brenan and threatened to grab another goal at various points in the game. He finally broke through the flimsy Hednesford offside trap on seventy-two minutes as he turned Brenan to meet a Bell pass but was denied by former team-mate Crane, who made a fine save to parry Peers' shot

A minute later, Mukendi really should have levelled the game as he met an inswinging Thorley corner kick at the far post but saw his downward header bounce off the turf and over the crossbar

With the Pitmen playing further forwards, Nantwich were looking to take advantage of the gaps being left at the back by the hosts in the latter stages of the game. A break from Mwasile down the left saw him beat Wright and feed the ball to Peers on seventy-nine minutes, who worked the ball onto his right foot before drilling a shot wide of Crane's left-hand post

Crane denied Mwasile two minutes later, pushing the winger's angled shot wide of goal after the Nantwich man of the match had teased his way past a hapless Haynes once more

The same two players were involved once more with seven minutes of the game remaining as Mwasile cut inside on the corner of the Hednesford penalty area and attempted a curling effort that Crane turned around his post for a corner kick

By this point, the Pitmen had made their final change of the afternoon as Marvin Robinson had come on in place of Glover to make a heavyweight front line three of himself, Clarke and Mukendi

The Pitmen pushed Nantwich back into their third of the pitch in the closing minutes looking for a late equaliser through mainly route-one football. Thorley's deep free-kick on eighty-seven minutes was met by Robinson, whose header towards goal was cleared by Hall before Mukendi could react to the ball

In the final minute of normal time, Mukendi headed a cross from Wright over the crossbar as he rose above Jones to meet the right-back's stood-up cross to the far post from the right

Despite a succession of corners in added time, the hosts could not force home a goal to take a share of the points as the experienced Nantwich players saw off the threat of the Pitmen to claim all three points that moved them up into second place in the table. It's back to the drawing board for the Pitmen and their temporary management team as their players fail to build upon their two wins last week to leave any distant play-off aspirations essentially gone. A trip to Mickleover Sports is next up for the Pitmen in midweek as they look to come away from Derbyshire with a win to get themselves back on track after today's mis-step

Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Roberts, Thorley ©, Brown, Brenan, Washbourne (Wright 55 ), McNaught, Glover (Robinson 80), Clarke, McDermott (Mukendi 59)      Subs Unused: Ransome, Hutton

Nantwich Town: Gyollai, White, Touray, Harrison, Jones, Hall ©, Johnston (Abadaki 82), Riley, Peers (Brooke 77), Bell, Mwasile (Jones 85)      Subs Unused: Stair, Howell