Vanarama Conference North

Hednesford Town

Bailey (8)

North Ferriby United

Clarke (23), Bolder (66) (penalty), Jarman (78)

(1) 1

(1) 3



Current Form

Next Match


Ben Bailey


Tamworth (A) 21.3.15

Hednesford's play-off ambitions took a further blow this afternoon after the ten-man Pitmen recorded back-to-back home defeats to leave them hanging on to the final play-off place with six games remaining

Last week's defeat to Boston United saw Rob Smith make changes to his side as he looked to arrest a slide that started with the narrow defeat to Bradford (Park Avenue) two weeks previously. Chris Westwood made a long-overdue return to the starting line-up after months of niggling injuries for the 37-year-old. Nick Rushton came back into the side at the expense of the suspended Richard Batchelor, with Andy Todd moving to the substitute's bench to accommodate the return of Westwood

Old foes Ferriby had been boosted in the last two weeks by their two-legged victory over Bath City in the F.A. Trophy semi-final, meaning the Villagers would be making their first-ever trip to Wembley to face Wrexham in the final on Sunday 29th March. Billy Heath once again rotated his highly-paid squad, with Ryan Kendall returning to the starting XI and recalling Nathan Jarman to the squad as a substitute

High on confidence after their Trophy heroics and a win over Stalybridge in midweek, Ferriby started brightly and won a free kick on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area in the second minute. Adam Bolder's initial effort was blocked by the wall which stood firm a second time to turn Bolder's rebounded shot away from goal 

Despite this, it was Hednesford who were first to strike a blow in the game, as they opened the scoring with their first meaningful chance on eight minutes. Glenn Walker's inswinging corner from the right was headed firmly home by the centre back, who rose highest to powerfully head past former Telford keeper Jonathan Hedge from close range

Ferriby continued to have the better of the possession and chances despite falling behind, with Danny Clarke's goalbound shot blocked by Bailey on eleven minutes, followed a few moments later by a save from Dan Crane to turn away a long-range effort by Josh Wilde

Superb wing play from Adam Thomas almost set up Marvin Robinson for yet another Keys Park goal for the big striker on twenty minutes, as the Stoke City loanee made a darting run down the right-wing and whipped in a cross that was nicked off the boot of Robinson by Wilde at the last moment

This was to prove a crucial moment in the game, as Ferriby brought themselves level again two minutes later; a pass from Sam Topliss into Kendall saw the striker slip the ball into the path of Clarke, who turned Westwood and fired across Crane and into the far corner of the net

Another pivotal point in the game came five minutes later, as the red mist once again descended for skipper Darren Campion, who received his marching orders for the second time in eight games as he nearly kicked Clarke in the head with a flying tackle in front of the two benches. Campion will now serve a four-game ban for his misdemeanour, which will surely bring his status as club captain under serious scrutiny

Ferriby looked to take advantage of their numerical superiority with a number of promising moves, with Kendall and the giant Tom Denton working Bailey and the barely-fit Westwood hard as they dragged the centre backs around the pitch. They somehow failed to take the lead on thirty-one minutes as the impressive Clarke forced Crane into a flying save, tipping the midfielder's effort onto the crossbar. The rebound fell to Denton, who somehow headed the loose ball wide of goal when it looked easier to score

In an attempt to reshuffle his side and give it more balance, Lloyd Kerry was brought on in place of Robinson on thirty-six minutes to add to the midfield ranks after Walker had moved to left-back to compensate for Campion's loss

A firm effort from Thomas saw his fierce shot from range on forty minutes blocked by Danny Hone, who was treated for a head injury after being knocked to the floor by Thomas's shot

Crane had to be alert early in the second half to deny Ferriby a second goal, making a smothering save to deny Kendall after spotting the danger before it unfolded in front of him

Ferriby's weight of numbers eventually told as the half wore on, although they were given a helping hand on sixty-six minutes after Tom Thorley tripped the dangerous Bolder just inside the penalty area

Bolder got to his feet and placed the penalty beyond the reach of Crane to give Ferriby a deserved lead

From the restart, Thomas made a mazy run from the right and tested Hedge's reflexes with a bobbling shot that the former England C keeper saved with ease

The Pitmen's problems grew some more on sixty-eight minutes, as Thorley was forced off due to injury, and was replaced by Steve Diggin

Diggin nearly made a dramatic introduction to the game with his first touch of the ball two minutes later, as the ball fell to the burly striker ten yards from goal. After taking a touch to steady himself, Diggin picked his spot and fired towards goal, only to be denied by a save from Hedge at a comfortable height to his left-hand side

Three minutes later, Diggin went close again to equalising for the hosts as his half volley from fifteen yards out flew inches wide of Hedge's post with the Ferriby stopper beaten

It was another good spell that the Pitmen were to regret not taking advantage of, as Ferriby came back at the Pitmen in the final fifteen minutes. On seventy-seven minutes, a superb long-range effort from Bolder beat Crane all ends up, but came crashing off the crossbar and back into play

A minute later, Ferriby sealed the win from a corner kick as Bolder's kick was flicked into Jarman's path by James Hurst, with the Ferriby substitute volleying the ball past Crane from twelve yards out

Thomas Strain was introduced to the game with nine minutes remaining, coming on in place of Rushton, who, in reality, had struggled against the giant Ferriby centre backs all game following Robinson's withdrawal

Jamey Osborne - a peripheral figure for much of the game - tested Hedge once more on eighty-seven minutes, hitting a long-range shot that Hedge held at the second attempt

Thomas also tested Hedge a minute later with a similar low drive but found the former Grimsby man in commanding form

Diggin's late cameo almost earned the Pitmen a consolation in the final minute, as Hurst's driven cross was poked inches wide of the left-hand post by the Hednesford substitute, who reacted quickest to the ball

Ferriby, much like Boston the week before, came with a game plan and the Pitmen cannot really have any complaints about being beaten by a better side. Campion's red card was undoubtedly the turning point, with Ferriby too good to a side to play against with only ten men. Next week's A5 derby with Tamworth now becomes a must-win for both sides, with Tamworth also losing valuable ground with a shock defeat at struggling Colwyn Bay

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion © (28), Bailey, Westwood, Thorley (Diggin 68), Osborne, Thomas, Robinson (Kerry 36), Rushton (Strain 81), Walker      Sub Unused: Todd

North Ferriby United: Hedge, Topliss, Wilde (Bruce 50), D’Laryea, Wilson (Anderson 50), Hone, Clarke, Bolder, Denton, Kendall, Bateson (Jarman 69)      Subs Unused: Gray, Nicholson

Images © copyright Pitmenweb