24.2.2015

Vanarama Conference North

North Ferriby United

Hednesford Town

Rushton (48), Thomas (61)

(0) 0

(0) 2

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Adam Thomas

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Bradford (Park Avenue) (A) 28.2.15

The Pitmen made it five successive wins in the league this evening, beating old rivals North Ferriby United at Church Lane to move above Tamworth and into a scarcely-believable third place in the Vanarama Conference North table

Fresh from a battling victory over Brackley Town on Saturday, the Pitmen came up against their old Evo-Stik foes with no further injury worries from the weekend. Andy Todd returned to the side as a stand-in centre back, allowing Darren Campion to return to his usual position at left-back. Nick Rushton was rewarded for his two-goal cameo as a substitute on Saturday with a starting berth alongside another scorer on Saturday, Marvin Robinson. Adam Thomas was also dropped to the bench alongside Steve Diggin and Lloyd Kerry as Richard Batchelor came back into the starting XI to add steel to the midfield

Having drawn 2-2 at Bath City in the first leg of their F.A. Trophy semi-final at the weekend, North Ferriby manager Billy Heath made an astonishing ten changes to his side as they kept one eye on the home second leg this coming week. To have the ability to make ten changes to your side at this level is further evidence of the financial power some sides still wield and highlights the disconnect between a number of clubs at the top of step two and other clubs lower down the table

Ferriby started the game brightly, showing no signs of being disjointed despite all the changes to the side. The prolific Nathan Jarman fired in a shot on goal on seven minutes, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Campion as he raced out to deny the striker a sight on goal

It was Dan Crane who was forced into the first save of the evening in the eleventh minute, as neat build-up play saw midfield man Adam Bolder drive a shot in on goal that Crane turned over the crossbar for a Ferriby corner

Ferriby were enjoying much the better of the opening quarter of the game, pressing high up the pitch and denying the Pitmen space in midfield

Robinson created himself an opportunity on twenty-two minutes for the Pitmen, beating Ferriby's debutant keeper Tom Nicholson to a high ball but being pulled back for an alleged foul on the youngster as he shaped to shoot

Nicholson made his first save of the evening a minute later, turning Todd's low drive away from goal after the tall midfielder had driven himself into a shooting position just outside the penalty area

Rushton was using his pace and movement to good use, dragging the Ferriby defence across the pitch and out of position to create space for the likes of Jamey Osborne and Tom Thorley to run into. A great run from the Wrexham loanee on thirty-five minutes saw him create a yard of space and fire a shot in across goal, only to be denied by a block by Ferriby defender Jon D'Laryea

The game swung the Pitmen's way just before the half time break, as Ferriby left-back Nathan Peat was rightly shown a straight red card for a ridiculous late challenge on Thorley that left the midfielder in a heap on the pitch

In an attempt to take advantage of their numerical superiority, the Pitmen made an attacking change at half time, bringing on the pacy Thomas in place of Todd

This was to prove another Rob Smith substitution masterstroke, as Thomas ripped Ferriby apart in the second half with his raw pace and direct running

Thomas was involved in the approach play that led to the Pitmen's opener just three minutes after the restart, as the ball was slipped into the path of Rushton, who fired past Nicholson from an angle with a confident finish

A brilliant run from Thomas saw the winger ghost past two Ferriby challenges on fifty-three minutes and force Nicholson into a superb stop, driving a shot in at goal and forcing the Ferriby keeper into a great stop

Another Thomas run down the right four minutes later saw the Stoke City loanee cut inside and hit a curling shot that was turned over the crossbar by Nicholson

Despite the pressure building on the ten men of Ferriby, the Villagers went close to equalising on sixty-two minutes through Ryan Kendall, who crashed a shot against the crossbar after a cross from Miles Bateson had found the centre forward in the Hednesford penalty area

This was to prove to be the decisive moment of the game, as with the next attack the Pitmen sealed the win through that man Thomas. In a very similar vein to the goal he scored at Guiseley ten days ago, Thomas committed the Ferriby defence with his direct running, cutting inside and firing an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Nicholson and into the top corner of the net

With the game seemingly won for the Pitmen, big Marvin Robinson was given a well-earned rest on sixty-six minutes, as he was replaced by Diggin up front

Tom Thorley had Nicholson scrambling across his goal on seventy-two minutes, firing a free-kick narrowly wide of goal with a well-hit drive

With eleven minutes remaining, Thomas Strain was given his Hednesford debut after joining the club on loan from Aston Villa - he replaced scorer Rushton up top alongside Diggin

With the Pitmen running the clock down and seeing the game out as a contest, Osborne made a darting run into Ferriby territory and pulled the ball back into the path of Glenn Walker, whose effort was blocked by a covering Ferriby defender

The Pitmen will be delighted at another win on the road, especially against traditionally difficult opponents in the form of Ferriby. Thomas was once again the difference in the game, using his pace and direct nature to cause the ten men of Ferriby issues. Rob Smith will hope to stretch the Pitmen's winning run to six games as they travel to the rapidly-improving Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday

North Ferriby United: Nicholson, Bruce, Peat (44), D’Laryea, Anderson, Wilson, Taylor (Wilde 50), Bolder (Fry 71), Jarman, Kendall, Bateson      Subs Unused: Denton, Gray, Douglas 

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion ©, Bailey, Todd (Thomas 45), Thorley, Osborne, Walker, Robinson (Diggin 66), Rushton (Strain 79), Batchelor      Sub Unused: Kerry