6.4.2015

Vanarama Conference North

Solihull Moors

Bogle (64) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

Diggin (83) (penalty)

(0) 1

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

522

Dan Crane

W W W L W L L L L D

Lowestoft Town (A) 11.4.15

It was a tale of two penalties at Damson Park this Bank Holiday Monday afternoon, as the two sides traded second-half spot-kicks to take their share of the points in today's Conference North derby game

Looking to put an end to their horrible run of recent form, Hednesford manager Rob Smith made three changes to the side that had been well beaten by Oxford City on Saturday as on-loan Lloyd Kerry replaced Tom Thorley in midfield, whilst striker Paul Sullivan returned to the side after nearly three months out injured as he came in for Nick Rushton, whilst Adam Thomas was restored to the team in place of Chris Westwood

Having beaten struggling Brackley Town 1-0 at Damson Park on Saturday, mid-table Moors were looking to make it back-to-back home wins over the Easter period against their out-of-form visitors. Manager Marcus Bignot made one change to the side that had started against Brackley as Joe Ballinger came in at left-back in place of the injured Jordan Gough

It was a glorious Bank Holiday Monday afternoon, with bright sunshine glistening on the superb Damson Park pitch. The Moors' first chance fell to centre-back Liam Daly in the second minute of the game as Reece Fleet's free-kick from the left was met by the head of the former Leamington man, only for ex-Solihull goalkeeper Dan Crane to make the save down to his left

Crane's opposite number Tony Breeden denied Marvin Robinson the game's opening goal three minutes later as he pushed the veteran striker's effort away from goal after good play from Jamey Osborne to set up the former Derby County man

The tricky Thomas - looking to impress after a neat cameo late on against Oxford - made progress down the left flank for the visitors in the eighth minute as he escaped the attentions of Junior English before turning into the Moors penalty area. He held onto the ball a little too long, however, and allowed Ballinger to come across and make the challenge to block his shot at goal

Thomas was involved again for the Pitmen four minutes later, picking up Kerry's slide-rule pass and drifting into the Solihull penalty area before shooting low to Breeden's right, forcing the former Leamington man into a good save down by his post to turn the ball away for a Hednesford corner kick

The lively Osborne was denied by former Hednesford loanee Breeden in the sixteenth minute as Kerry's corner kick was headed down by Tunnicliffe at the far post and into the path of Osborne, who was denied by a smart save from the home stopper

On twenty minutes, Crane pushed a Michael Nottingham cross over his own crossbar as Stefan Moore looked to get on the end of the drifting ball from the right-hand corner of the Hednesford penalty area

The league's top scorer Omar Bogle had been well shackled by Ben Bailey and Jordan Tunnicliffe so far but got himself into a shooting position in the twenty-four minutes as Darryl Knights' pass found him in space just inside the Hednesford penalty area - his well-struck effort was well held by Crane, standing on his goal line

The game continued to move from end to end, with Breeden matching Crane's save count with a smothering save to deny Thomas once more two minutes later as he punched on the winger's daisy-cutter of a shot from twenty yards out

Solihull's Ryan Beswick was the first player to be shown a yellow card in what was to become a busy afternoon for referee Mr Meeson on twenty-eight minutes as the former Kettering Town man was booked for a foul on Kerry in the centre circle

On the half-hour mark, neat approach play from the Moors saw Knights and Moore link up on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area to lay the ball off to Beswick, only for the midfielder to lift his first-time shot over Crane's crossbar

Right-back James Hurst made a move into the Solihull half on thirty-two minutes before threading a ball through the legs of Ballinger and into the path of Robinson, whose low right-footed cross skipped across the face of Breeden's goal and just out of reach of Sullivan, who arrived a touch too late at the far post to tuck the ball away for what would have been a simple tap-in

Nottingham was crowded out by some stoic Hednesford defending sixty seconds later as the right-back was played into the penalty area by a Knights free-kick but found Tunnicliffe in his way and the ball was cleared by the away side

Thomas was denied the game's opening goal by Daly's quick-thinking on thirty-six minutes; drifting in from the left once more, Thomas beat English and Nottingham before beating Breeden with a low angled shot that looked destined for the far corner of the net, only for Daly to make a timely block on the line to clear the danger

On forty minutes, Osborne's trickery saw him take the ball past no fewer than four players as he went on one of his long, slalom-like runs from midfield and all the way to the byeline, cutting the ball back into the danger zone but a couple of feet too far in front of both Sullivan and Kerry as they made their way into the Solihull penalty area

In the final minute of a highly entertaining first half, Knights picked Daly out at the far post with a well-delivered corner kick that the big centre-back headed just wide of goal, under pressure from Tunnicliffe

It had been a pulsating local derby, with both sides having numerous chances to take the lead but had found the opposition goalkeeper in inspired form to keep the game goalless at the break

Within seconds of the restart, a quick break from the Pitmen saw Osborne play in Sullivan through the centre of the Solihull defence, only for the former Chasetown man to pull his shot slightly and allow Breeden to make a one-handed save down to his right to turn the ball behind for a corner kick

Tunnicliffe followed Beswick into the book on fifty minutes as the on-loan Kidderminster Harriers defender brought Moore down in mid-flight to halt his progress into the Hednesford penalty area and was cautioned for the challenge. Knights took the resultant free-kick but drilled his effort straight into the Hednesford wall

Crane was earning his man of the match nomination and made another fine save to deny his former club two minutes later as Fleet made an unchallenged run into the Hednesford half before playing Bogle in on goal, only for the striker's shot to be turned away from goal but the legs of the onrushing Crane

Sixty seconds later, the Moors had the game's best chance so far as Moore seized upon a loose pass out of defence from Bailey and took the ball back into the eighteen-yard box before unleashing one of his trademark screamers - on this occasion, however, Crane was equal to the prolific striker's well-struck effort and brilliantly turned the ball away from goal. A great save from the in-form stopper

Solihull were having their best spell of the game at this point and Fleet drilled a shot in at goal on fifty-five minutes from twenty-five yards out that drifted just over Crane's crossbar from nearly thirty yards out

More good approach play from the Moors a minute later saw Knights and Nottingham link up to play English in beyond them down the right, only for Crane to spot the danger and dived bravely at the former Leamington man's feet before he could get his shot away

The men in sky blue made their first change of the afternoon on fifty-seven minutes as Rushton replaced Sullivan up front; it had been a good return to action for the young striker, although he had understandably looked a little rusty and lacking in match sharpness against an experienced Solihull back line

The Moors were certainly knocking on the door at this point and hit the woodwork on fifty-eight minutes as Knights' reverse pass put Fleet through down the left, only for the midfielder's angled drive to strike the crossbar from just outside the penalty area

 

Bogle was wasteful from a good position on sixty-one minutes as he won a free-kick from Bailey just to the right of the Hednesford penalty area, with the striker taking the kick himself but skying his kick high over the crossbar

A superb advert for Conference North football took another turn on sixty-four minutes as the Pitmen were reduced to ten men and handed the hosts penalty kick as Bogle was played into the penalty by English before being crudely brought down by Bailey before he could shoot. Mr Meeson deemed Bailey to be the last man and promptly showed the centre-back a straight red card as well as awarding the Moors a spot-kick. Bogle took the penalty and sent Crane the wrong way from twelve yards out to grab his twenty-sixth league goal of the season

The Pitmen's response to going a goal - and a man - down was to make a double change two minutes later as Thorley replaced Kerry at the base of midfield and Steve Diggin came on in place of Robinson up front

Osborne was booked for the Pitmen on sixty-eight minutes for taking a comical dive just outside the Moors penalty area in a bid to earn a free-kick and was rightly shown a yellow card for simulation, much to the glee of the home supporters who had felt that the midfielder had been taking liberties for much of the afternoon with the officials

On seventy minutes, Hurst played an angled pass into the path of Rushton, who shrugged off a challenge from Dominic Langdon but carried a heavy touch into the Moors penalty area and allowed Breeden to make a save at his feet

The hosts were content to sit on their goal lead and control the pace of the game with the man advantage, looking to catch the Pitmen on the counter-attack through the lively pairing of Moore and Bogle. A fine pass from Nottingham sent Moore away down the right flank on seventy-one minutes, with the striker tricking his way past Glenn Walker but shooting straight at Crane with a shot from the corner of the penalty area

Walker was involved at the opposite end of the pitch with fifteen minutes remaining as his cross was flicked on by Rushton and into the path of Thomas, who saw the ball late and shanked his first-time shot high over the crossbar from ten yards out

The Pitmen were handed a lifeline, however, as Mr Meeson 'evening things up' on seventy-eight minutes by awarding the visitors a penalty and sending off Langdon in the process. Ballinger - looking in some discomfort after picking up a knock a couple of minutes earlier - played a pas back towards Langdon that lacked distance, allowing Osborne to nip in and pick up the loose ball before taking it into the penalty area, where he was unceremoniously brought down by the retreating Langdon. Mr Meeson once again had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and showing Langdon a straight red card for the foul. Diggin spotted the ball up and fired past Breeden to level the game once more

Both teams pressed in the closing ten minutes in search of an equaliser, with Diggin and Richard Batchelor linking up well on eighty-one minutes to play Thomas in down the left, only for the winger to run out of pitch before he could cut the ball back to Rushton

Tunnicliffe was the final player to receive a booking from Mr Meeson on eighty-three minutes as he floored Bogle with a mistimed tackle that sent the striker sprawling on his way towards the Hednesford penalty area

Osborne seized upon another loose pass out of defence from Fleet on eighty-five minutes and attempted a curling shot from twenty yards out that was tipped over the crossbar for a Hednesford corner kick

Breeden made another fine save to keep his side in the game with two minutes remaining as the stopper parried Rushton's stabbed effort away from goal after Walker's cross had been deflected into the path of the on-loan Wrexham man

With the game drifting into added time, Moors had two excellent chances to win the game as substitute Darren Byfield picked up a pass from Knights to drift past Thorley and into the penalty area but struck a low effort wide of Crane's right-hand post

A minute later, Bogle was also off-target as he scuffed a close-range shot into the ground and wide of the post after getting goal side of Tunnicliffe to reach Nottingham's low cross

It had been a fine ninety minutes of entertainment for the 522-strong crowd, in a game that had had everything - goals, action at both ends, superb goalkeeping and controversy. A draw was most likely a fair result, with neither side able to claim they were in control of the game for more than short spells. The Pitmen also bring to end their rotten run of recent form and will make the longest journey of the season to Lowestoft Town next week for the first time ever looking to get back to winning ways once more

Solihull Moors: Breeden, Nottingham, Ballinger, Fleet, Daly ©, Langdon ▆ (78), English , Moore (Byfield 80), Bogle, Beswick , Knights      Subs Unused: Delfouneso, Hayden, Gueyes, Nesbitt

Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Walker, Bailey © ▆ (64), Tunnicliffe , Kerry (Thorley 66), Osborne , Thomas, Robinson (Diggin 66), Sullivan (Rushton 57), Batchelor       Subs Unused: Todd, Westwood