Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Rushall Olympic

Reid (48), Mugisha (88)

Hednesford Town

Carline (18)

(0) 2

(1) 1



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Tom Thorley


Corby Town (H) 10.10.16

Dales Lane has rarely proved a happy hunting ground for the Pitmen over the years, with today's local derby further adding to this fact as Hednesford once again suffer late heartache against Rushall

Tuesday night's convincing win over Sutton Coldfield Town had put the Pitmen back on the front foot after last weekend's narrow defeat to league leaders Buxton. Calum Flanagan missed out as he served a one-match ban for his red card against the Bucks, with Kyle Rowley making only his second start for the club in his place. Otherwise, it was 'as you were' for Liam McDonald's side, with first team player/coach Dave Bridgwater named amongst the substitutes to fill in for Michael Williams, who was unavailable

John Allen has overseen an upturn in fortunes at Rushall since taking over from Richard Sneekes in the summer, with the former Hednesford assistant manager chalking up four successive victories to lift the Pics into third place ahead of today's game. Former Pitmen Zak Martin and Marlon Walters were both involved in the Pics squad, alongside former Walsall captain Dean Keates. Former Hednesford triallist Stan Mugisha was also included amongst the Pics substitutes

Kicking down the Dales Lane slope in the first half, the all-red clad Pitmen made a typically physical start to the game, settling into their neat passing style. Joel Logan was first to get a sight of goal on seven minutes, picking the ball up outside the penalty area and firing high over the crossbar

The hosts responded two minutes later with former Hereford United midfielder Jordan Fitzpatrick firing narrowly over Dan Crane's crossbar from twenty yards out after picking up the ball on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area

Neat play from Logan created a chance for the in-form George Carline on sixteen minutes, crossing from the right to find the midfielder, who knocked the ball over the crossbar at the far post

A minute later, Lewis Wright had to be alert to divert a Mikael Partodikromo's cross away from goal with Serigne Mor Diop breathing down his neck at the far post


Carline was guilty of a poor miss in the seventeenth minute as he shot wide of goal from close-range after being played in by skipper Tom Thorley when he really should have tested Veiga

The Pitmen took the lead with the next attack of the game, as a superb cross from Danny Glover - tight to the right touchline - found the head of Carline at the far post, who firmly put the ball past veteran keeper Jose Veiga with a rocket of a header for his sixth Hednesford goal


The visitors could have doubled their advantage three minutes later as Glover was played through on goal by Carline, only for ex-Cape Verde international Veiga to make a timely save down at the striker's feet


Defender Joel Kettle headed wide of the hosts on twenty-seven minutes after an inswinging free-kick from Martin on the left touchline found the centre-back unmarked at the far post

Diop got his angles all wrong for the home side on the half-hour mark, scuffing a low shot well wide of Crane's goal after outmuscling Jimmy Mutton on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area

The game became quite stagnated for a spell, with both midfields on top as the game became scrappy in typical derby day fashion. Simeon Maye's wild effort from thirty yards out was the closest either side came to a goal ahead of the break

Crane made a rare foray from his goal-line to make a confident punch away on forty minutes, denying Rushall a chance from a left-wing corner kick with a fist to the ball that sent it away form the head of Diop

The Pitmen will have been happy with their first-half offering, matching the physicality of Rushall but maintaining their passing game, with Thorley once again a standout performer in midfield

However, McDonald's half-time team talk was not heeded by his side as Rushall wasted little time in levelling matters early in the second half; a deep cross from Keates was headed back across the face of goal by Diop, allowing the in-form Alex Reid to tap the ball home from close range

The Pitmen were wasteful in possession during the early stages of the second half, failing to find the same rhythm of the first period with several lazy passes that failed to find a red shirt. Keates seized upon a loose pass from Rowley on fifty-three minutes and played in the dangerous Diop, only for a late covering challenge from Mutton to deny the burly striker clean shot at goal

In an attempt to change the swing of the game back in their favour, Logan was sacrificed by McDonald in favour of the ball-playing Ashley Sammons on fifty-nine minutes

Pics captain Kettle had a great chance to put Rushall in front on the hour mark, heading over the crossbar from a Keates free-kick after getting goal side of Mutton at the far post

Sammons looked to test Veiga's reflexes on sixty-two minutes, firing in a long-range shot that looked destined for the bottom corner until is was deflected wide by the leg of Sam Whittall

Another chance fell to Sammons five minutes later, as Carline played the midfielder in behind the Rushall defence. Veiga was alert to the danger and made a good save low down to his left to deny Sammons a clear shot on target

Danny Glover's game came to a close on seventy-two minutes, as he was replaced by Tristian Dunkley up front - a player in real need of minutes after his recent injury lay-off

A superb deep cross from Cohen Bramall found the head of Carline on seventy-three minutes, with the Pitmen's goalscorer heading over the bar as he stretched to reach the deep cross ahead of Kettle

 Gurjit Singh had been quiet throughout proceedings, well shackled by the Rushall midfield who had stopped him playing his natural, unpredictable game. He got a sight at goal on eighty minutes, picking up a free-kick and lifting a shot over the Rushall defence and into the arms of Veiga

Veiga was on the spot once again to deal with a Sammons free-kick two minutes later, comfortable handing the substitute's free-kick from twenty-five yards out

The game was decided as a contest with two minutes remaining, as Crane was guilty of a heinous error of judgment as he looked to clear his lines; chasing down a loose ball to the left-hand side of his penalty area, he hesitated slightly and allowed substitute Mugisha to beat him to the ball, with the winger lifting a shot over Crane and into the empty net from out wide on the Rushall right, despite Mutton'
s best attempts to track back and attempt to hook the ball off the line

Jamie Matthews came on in place of Simeon Maye with two minutes remaining but had no opportunity to affect the result as Rushall saw out the remaining minutes with relative ease to record another home win over their local rivals in front of a fine 804 strong crowd


Rushall's fifth successive win lifts them up to second place, leaving Hednesford with the same scenario as last week - needing a 'pick-me-up' from a midweek game to get themselves back on track - struggling former Natioal League North opponents Corby Town provide the opposition at Keys Park on Monday night

Rushall Olympic: Veiga, Christophorou, Martin, Forde, Whittall, Kettle ©, Keates, Partodikromo (Eze 72), Diop (Mugisha 77), Fitzpatrick (Walters 77), Reid       Subs Unused: Jeys, Antonio

Hednesford Town: Crane, Wright, Bramall, Maye (Matthews 88), Mutton, Rowley, Logan (Sammons 59), Thorley ©, Glover (Dunkley 72), Singh, Carline       Subs Unused: Ransome, Bridgwater

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