16.3.2013

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Harvey (60), Durrell (87) (penalty)

North Ferriby United

Kendall (8), Wilson (52), (79)

(0) 2

(1) 3

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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906

Francino Francis

L W W W D W D W D L

Kendal Town (A) 26.3.13

In what could be the pivotal day in the race for the Evo-Stik Premier League title, the Pitmen fluffed their lines when it mattered most as North Ferriby extended their lead at the top of the table with an impressive showing at Keys Park to underline their championship credentials

Having seen the midweek trip to Kendal postponed and missing suspended duo Jamey Osborne and Darren Campion, Hednesford manager Rob Smith was forced to shuffle his pack for this most crucial of games. In came recent signing Kris Taylor, who impressed greatly after coming on last week against Matlock. John Disney also returned to the team at right-back, meaning Alex Melbourne switched to left-back to deputise for Campion. Taylor was given the anchor role in midfield, playing alongside the newly-skinhead Dave MacPherson. Nathan Woolfe was also restored to the side, with Kyle Patterson moved to the substitute's bench

A big crowd greeted the teams at kick-off, anticipating a classic top of the table clash. Twenty-five hardy souls from North Ferriby had made the long journey down from Humberside and were first to celebrate as their side made the perfect start to the game

Anthony Wilson fired in a warning shot after just two minutes, beating the Hednesford backline for pace before lifting a shot wide of goal

The Pitmen failed to heed the warning signs and fell behind on eight minutes to a typically quick, powerful and clinical move from the away side. Woolfe lost the ball on halfway to Danny Clarke, who quickly played Wilson in down the right-wing. The striker pulled the ball across the face of goal to his strike partner Ryan Kendall, who sidefooted past Dan Crane from close range

Shocked into action, the Pitmen pushed forward and forced a corner kick within a minute of falling behind. Woolfe picked up the ball after his initial corner was cleared, finding Neil Harvey with his cross. However, the big striker scuffed his shot and fired well wide

A minute later, Taylor tried his luck from twenty yards out after Aaron Rey had laid the ball back to him. The former Walsall man got a little too much on his effort however and lofted his shot over the crossbar

The Pitmen's best chance of the half came on twenty minutes, as Ben Bailey's shot looped up into the air and was headed goalwards by Harvey, who watched as his dipping effort crashed off the top of the crossbar

Six minutes later, Ferriby should have moved further into the lead as Russell Fry's cross was flicked goalwards by Wilson, requiring Crane to make a save

Hednesford were their own worst enemies from set-pieces throughout the half, with Elliott Durrell and Woolfe both guilty of over hitting corner kicks to the far post

Wilson found himself in the referee's notebook for a late challenge on Crane on thirty-six minutes, kicking the Hednesford keeper as he claimed the ball ahead of the Ferriby striker

The final chance of the half fell to Rey, who turned on the ball twelve yards out and hit a bobbled shot straight at Ferriby keeper Adam Nicklin

The early stages of the second half saw Ferriby continue to impress with their pace and enthusiasm going forwards, with substitute Chris Bolder on the end of another swashbuckling move but having his shot blocked by the excellent Francino Francis

Another flowing move down the Ferriby left on fifty-two minutes saw them strike again, as Ryan Williams sent over a cross to the far post that Wilson powerfully headed home

Hednesford were in desperate need of a pick-me-up and duly got one through Harvey on the hour mark. A ball through the Ferriby defence caused confusion in the ranks, with Nicklin and Gregg Anderson leaving the ball to each other. Harvey seized upon the loose ball, lobbing it into the far corner of the unguarded net

Roared on by the Hednesford faithful, the Pitmen sensed an equaliser was in the offing. On sixty-eight minutes they very nearly got their wish, as Woolfe cut inside from the right and fired in a curling shot that looked destined for the far corner of the net, only for Nicklin to deny the winger with a brilliant one-handed save

The Pitmen made a swift double change as they searched for their second goal, with Michael Lennon and Patterson introduced in place of Harvey and MacPherson respectively

Nicklin's save was to be the turning point in the game, as it was Ferriby who scored the crucial fourth goal of the game on seventy-eight minutes; Wilson broke quickly down the right-wing, outpacing Francis before firing low past Crane from an angle

This goal deflated the Pitmen, as their attacking threat dissipated in the final ten minutes. They were presented with a glimmer of hope on eighty-seven minutes when Bolder tripped Rey just inside the penalty area as the striker jinked his way into spaceAfter the referee had awarded the Pitmen a penalty, Durrell converted the spot-kick to reduce arrears with a couple of minutes remaining

It was Durrell who very nearly snatched an unlikely equaliser in added time, as a desperate Hednesford attack saw a corner kick partially cleared to the midfielder. His snapshot almost zipped over Nicklin's head, but the keeper got enough on the ball to turn it away from goal

The Pitmen now lie nine points behind Ferriby, still with three games in hand. There is still much to play for in what remains of the season, but there is no doubt that this win will put the Villagers in the driving seat for the top honour come May

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Francis, MacPherson © (Patterson 75), Melbourne, Durrell, Harvey (Lennon 70), Rey, Woolfe

Subs not used: Barnes, Wright, Fincher

North Ferriby United: Nicklin, Robson, Peat, King © (Bolder 41), Anderson, Foot, Clarke, Fry, Wilson, Kendall (Bradshaw 90), Williams (Ridley 70)      Subs Unused: Youhill, Pecora

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