Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Scarborough Athletic

Coulson (18), Walshaw (40), Watson (45), (65),           Lofts (75)

Hednesford Town

King (55), Archer (73), Dodd (90)

(3) 5

(0) 3



Current Form

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Osebi Abadaki


 D W L D L L L L L L


Stalybridge Celtic (A) 12.1.19

Nicky Eaden's Pitmen were handed a lesson in clinical finishing by home side Scarborough Athletic this afternoon, as a first-half blitz from the hosts essentially handed them all three points and left the away side staring at a second successive defeat under their new manager in a week


Defeat to Farsley Celtic on New Year's Day had given Eaden much to ponder about his new side, having spent the past three days handling a number of moves in and out of the club. The loans of Michael Howard and Josef Bursik had expired following the Farsley game, with the pair returning to their parent clubs following the game. Bursik's return to Stoke had triggered a new loanee from the Pitmen's Staffordshire neighbours, with Bursik's U23 team-mate Mate Deczki moving to Keys Park on loan until the end of the season between the sticks. Eaden had also brought in the notable name of Alex-Ray Harvey, with the former Barrow and Guiseley midfielder agreeing a contract with the Pitmen until the end of the season. Both players started today's game, with Osebi Abadaki also returning to the side alongside Isaac Cooper in the four changes made by Eaden from the encounter on Tuesday. Eaden was yet again unable to call upon Josh Craddock and Jed Davies, with Nathan Fox also ruled out after picking up a knock at the end of the Farsley game


Scarborough had looked good for a shot at the title following a blistering start to their season that had seen Steve Kittrick's experienced side top the table early on. However, their recent form had been patchy over the festive period, with both South Shields and local rivals Whitby Town claiming wins over the Seadogs in the past few days to leave them eleven points behind league leaders Nantwich going into today's round of games


It was the Pitmen's first-ever visit to the Flamingo Land Stadium, having played the former Scarborough Football Club at the McCain Stadium three times around the turn of the century when both clubs were in the Nationwide Conference. A large crowd of just under a thousand - roughly Athletic's average crowd this term in the Evo-Stik Premier League - greeted the two sides at kick-off on a grey January day in North Yorkshire


Deczki was into the action in the seventh minute, fielding a James Walshaw knock-down from a deep corner kick from the right-hand side as the experienced striker beat Charlie Gatter to the ball


The Pitmen created an opening for themselves on thirteen minutes through a monstrous long throw from Cooper, whose deep, flat throw from the right bounced across the Scarborough six-yard box and through to Andre Johnson, who hooked the ball back across goal and clipped the crossbar with his effort that drifted away from goal


Good wing play from Seadogs right-back Jack Johnson saw him create an opening for former York man Michael Coulson two minutes later, with the striker heading wide at the near post as he beat Alex Melbourne to the cross


The pressure had been growing on the Hednesford defence throughout the opening quarter of the game, with the hosts finally making their experience pay on eighteen minutes with the opening goal of the afternoon; a through ball from Luke Lofts found Coulson racing in behind the Hednesford defence, with the striker bringing the ball inside before unleashing a shot from the edge of the penalty that took a wicked deflection off the boot of gather and looped over the head of Deczki before finding the back of the net. A cruel blow for the visitors and indicative of the luck that has deserted them in recent games


Another long throw from Cooper was only partially cleared by the Scarborough defence on twenty-six minutes, with Abadaki picking up the loose ball and driving a low shot well wide of goal from just outside the Scarborough penalty area


Strong play from Lewis Archer two minutes later saw him outmuscle Ross Killock and take the ball towards goal, only for his cross towards Johnson to be cut out by a low stop from Scarborough keeper Tom Taylor at his near post


Scarborough midfielder Ryan Watson had Deczki scrambling across his goal on thirty-eight minutes, as his long-range effort whistled just past the Hungarian's left-hand post with the youngster clutching at air


Gatter had endured a tough half so far as he had struggled to contain the busy Coulson on the right side of central defence, and almost handed the hosts a second goal a minute later as he narrowly turned a cross from Nathan Valentine over his own crossbar from a few yards out


From the resultant Coulson corner kick, the prolific Walshaw rose highest to beat Gatter to the ball and head firmly past Deczki from six yards out to score Scarborough's second of the afternoon and his fifteenth league goal of the season so far


The Pitmen created another half-chance for themselves just before half-time, as another bullet-like throw from Cooper was played back to him, with his cross from the right bouncing around the Scarborough penalty area before Reece King headed the ball goalwards. The away side were to be denied, again, however, by a goal-line clearance from Valentine, who hacked the loose ball clear of goal. This was to cost the Pitmen dearly once more, as Scarborough showed their clinical nature in front of goal with a killer third on the counter-attack; Lofts broke away down the left-wing and laid the ball into the path of Watson, who sidefooted past the horribly exposed Deczki from twelve yards out to put the game beyond the visitors


The Pitmen made a tactical change to their side at half-time, possibly to counter the Scarborough formation that had overrun the Pitmen in the first period; Jack Hallahan came on in midfield to add more numbers to the centre of the pitch, replacing striker Johnson. This saw Archer playing as a lone striker, with Abadaki and Matt Dodd pushing further up on each flank to support the out-of-form forward


This appeared to have the desired effect for Eaden's side, who looked more at ease with this formation and gave themselves a small chance of getting back into the game with a goal on fifty-three minutes. For the first time in the game, Dodd got the better of Josh Lacey down the right and sent over a low cross that King turned past Taylor from close range for his second goal of the season


The visitors sensed an unlikely comeback and went agonisingly close to reducing arrears further on fifty-nine minutes as Dodd played Melbourne through on goal after the right-back had offered himself on the overlap, only for his toe-poked effort across goal to drift just wide of the far post with Taylor beaten


Two minutes later, Hallahan did well to win the ball in midfield and slip it through to Archer, who in turn found Abadaki on the overlap. The winger took two touches before driving in a low shot that was saved by Taylor at his near post


Once again, the difference in quality in front of goal was cost the Pitmen dearly, as Scarborough restored their three-goal advantage on sixty-five minutes. A long ball from Taylor was flicked on by Walshaw to strike partner Coulson, who in turn played Watson in on goal. The midfielder confidently blasting the ball past Deczki from twelve yards out after taking a touch to find the top corner of the net and score his second goal of the afternoon


Archer wasted a good chance to get the Pitmen back into the game on sixty-eight minutes but lifted his shot high over the crossbar after he had turned Kevin Burgess and got in behind the Scarborough back line


A fine run from Abadaki on seventy-four minutes created an opening for the Pitmen down the left, with Scarborough grateful to Lacey as he stretched to cut out the low cross before Dodd could tap the ball home at the far post


From Hallahan's corner kick, Walshaw did well to partially clear his lines for the hosts, only for Abadaki to recycle the ball well and find Melbourne. The right-back's pinpoint cross found the head of Archer, who glanced the ball beyond the reach of Taylor and give the Pitmen another glimmer of hope once more


However, any lingering hope of the away side getting anything out of the game was finally extinguished by the hosts straight from the restart; Lofts played Walshaw through on goal, with Deczki making a good save at his near post to deny Walshaw another goal to add to his tally. However, the ball rolled kindly into the path of Lofts, who had the simple task of tapping home from close range to grab Scarborough's fifth goal of the afternoon


With the possibility of another comeback now gone, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon straightaway as Cooper was perhaps a little surprisingly taken off at left-back and was replaced by on-loan Joel Logan


And yet, the Pitmen were still not done just yet, as they continued to plug away despite the scoreline. Abadaki sent over a deep cross on eighty-three minutes that dipped just wide of goal before King was denied a second goal of the afternoon as his sidefooted effort towards goal was deflected away by Burgess


As the game cantered to a finish, the Pitmen gave their supporters a late consolation goal to cheer. The impressive Abadaki played a quick one-two with Logan before sending over a fine cross that was headed home by Dodd at the far post


Despite plundering three goals away from home, this was another tough afternoon for the Pitmen on their travels, as Scarborough's experience and clinical finishing - particularly in the first period - put the poor Pitmen to the sword. It will be another week of tough decisions for Eaden and Gary Hayward as they look to reshape their squad and raise standards on the poor squad they have inherited ahead of another challenging away game at Staybridge Celtic next weekend


Scarborough Athletic: Taylor, Johnson, Lacey, Dixon (McGuire 74), Burgess ©, Killock , Valentine, Watson (Bowman 90), Walshaw, Coulson, Lofts      Subs Unused: Morgan, Morris, Walmsley


Hednesford Town: Deczki, Melbourne, Cooper (Logan 75), Harvey , Gatter, Bailey ©, Dodd, King, Johnson (Hallahan 45 ), Archer, Abadaki    Subs Unused: Misambo, Cockerline, Veiga

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