29.8.2011

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Robinson (55), (84), (90), Clements (76) (penalty), Quinn (90)

Stafford Rangers

Kinsella (5), Street (15), Shotton (20), Budrys (77)

(1) 5

(3) 4

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

1,086

Jay Denny

W W W W L W

Stocksbridge Park Steels (H) 3.9.11

Stunning. Truly stunning. Today's Bank Holiday Monday derby clash left most of the 1,086 lucky souls who turned up at Keys Park this afternoon simply speechless as deadly rivals Hednesford and Stafford produced one of the greatest derby games in the long historic rivalry between the clubs

The big derby day saw manager Rob Smith make one change to the side that had lost to Kendal Town two days previously, with Jamey Osborne rewarded for his impressive cameos in the last three games by earning the number eleven shirt ahead of Phil Clarke

In front of the largest crowd so far this season at the Keys, the Pitmen made a nervy start as Stafford pushed forward from the off. A fifth-minute free-kick was won on the right-hand edge of the Hednesford penalty area, with former Plymouth Argyle man Sean Kinsella curling the ball around the wall and past Dan Crane into the bottom corner of the net; questions should be asked of both the quality of the wall and Crane's position

The Pitmen were struggling to get a foothold in the game, with the midfield being dictated by the know-how of Rangers veteran Kevin Street and his fellow midfield men. Street was to inflict further damage on the hosts on fifteen minutes, as yet another free-kick caused havoc in the Hednesford ranks. Kinsella's left-wing kick was floated to the far post and was headed into the path of Street, who had the simple task of nodding the ball over the line from a yard out. Terrible defending, shocking scoreline

But it was to get a lot worse for the Pitmen just five minutes later, as Stafford ripped the hesitant Hednesford defence apart once again. Dan Skelton's run and cross was allowed to find Liam Shotton, who fired past Crane from ten yards out to send the Stafford supporters into delirium. The Pitmen were staring an embarrassing defeat in the face at 3-0 down and possibly more to come

The fourth could have arrived two minutes later when Cheyenne Dunkley deflected the ball onto his own post as Stafford attacked at will. Up front, Shotton and Neville Thompson were giving Pedro Monteiro, Chris Shaw and Dunkley the runaround in an impressive opening salvo

After a torrid half-hour, Hednesford started to get their game together, with Chris Clements striking a powerful free-kick that Stafford's on-loan keeper Sam Johnson turned away to his right for a corner kick

Jay Denny was also finding his bite, making a number of excellent well-timed challenges to break up Stafford's play. To some, though, it was perhaps looked on as too little, too late as Hednesford huffed and puffed their way through towards half time

They did steal back a glimmer of hope just before the half time whistle, as Darren Campion's long throw found Robinson lurking at the near post, with his back header beating Johnson at his near post to reduce arrears

Despite what was likely to have been a rather colourful half time team talk from Smith and Larry Chambers, Stafford continued to have the better of the game in the opening stages of the second half. Kinsella was still a threat from set-pieces, curling a shot just over the crossbar ten minutes after the restart. Thompson's power and pace saw him create enough space to turn and fire over the bar two minutes later

Smith had seen enough by the hour mark and made two attacking changes. Bohan Dixon came on for Kyle Haynes, who had been wasteful on the right flank, and Clarke came on for Campion. This saw Shaw move to left-back and Denny take over the captaincy as the shape of the team changed

Smith seems to have a real knack of knowing when to change things and whom to introduce, as the Pitmen started to press Rangers as they searched for an unlikely comeback. Dixon's pace, added to Clarke and the tricky Osborne, tested Stafford's resolve as they tired in defence

On seventy-eight minutes, Clements' deep free-kick from the centre circle dropped into the Stafford penalty area, with Mike Douglas handling the ball as he challenged with Robinson. The referee awarded the Pitmen a penalty immediately, with Clements firing past Johnson to make it 3-2

Despite doing all the hard work to get back into the game, Hednesford then proceeded to press the self-destruct button once again a minute later, as Shaw's long throw out of defence was played back into the danger area. Stafford substitute Chris Budrys out muscled Monteiro on the edge of the area before firing past Crane

Game over? No way! The final ten minutes will no doubt go down in Hednesford Town folklore in the coming years, as the Pitmen came roaring back in memorable circumstances. On eighty-four minutes, Clarke's raking ball forward found Dixon, who powered into the area and hit a shot that deflected kindly into the path of Robinson, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net. Game on

The Stafford defence looked as though it was treading water at this point, as the Pitmen streamed forward in search of an unlikely equaliser. As the game entered added time, Clements beat Skelton easily and crossed from the right, finding Quinn unmarked in the six-yard box; the striker headed firmly past Johnson to make it 4-4

Added time seemed to be played in slow motion, as the hosts piled the pressure on a Stafford defence that was completely out on its feet at this point. Quinn could have finished them off after darting in behind the defence but dragged his half volley wide of goal. He went even closer a minute later as he headed inches wide of the post from an Osborne cross

Just as it looked as though a memorable draw was on the cards, a last-ditch run by Osborne saw him float a ball into the box, where he found Robinson lurking. The big striker executed a perfect scissor kick to divert the ball through the legs of Johnson and into the net to send Keys Park into ecstasy

Through all of the cheers and celebrations, it was later confirmed that the Pitmen had gone top of the table as a result of this win and favourable results elsewhere. There have been few days in recent years that Hednesford and their supporters will have felt so proud. It has been a highly impressive and fruitful first month of the season from Hednesford going into a tough-looking September's schedule. It's a first-ever meeting with Stocksbridge Park Steels at the weekend as the Yorkshire side make the journey down to Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Crane, Monteiro, Campion © (Clarke 62), Shaw, Dunkley, Denny, Haynes (Dixon 62 (Bailey 90)), Clements, Robinson, Quinn, Osborne       Subs Unused: Bailey, Grice, Gomes

Stafford Rangers: Johnson, George , Skelton, Donnelly ©, Dicker , Douglas , Heler , Street (McAnulty 82), Shotton (Budrys 77), Thompson, Kinsella      Subs Unused: Nagington, Stephenson, Wood

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