14.1.2014

Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Harvey (15), (55), Osborne (50)

Stockport County

Dennis (66)

(1) 3

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

585

Dan Crane

L W W D D L L L W W

Bradford (Park Avenue) (A) 18.1.14

Hednesford Town made it back-to-back victories over former Football League opposition in four days, as the Pitmen moved back to second in the Skrill North table courtesy of a win over the fallen Stockport County at a windswept Keys Park this evening

Following Saturday's confident win over Boston United, manager Rob Smith was forced into making one change to his winning side after striker Marvin Robinson was ruled out due to an injury picked up early in that game. This meant a recall for Neil Harvey, who ended his recent goal drought after notching as a substitute against Boston. Midfielder Ümit Eminoğlu also returned to the squad as a substitute after spending much of the last month playing for Southern Premier League side Redditch United

Stockport's spectacular fall from grace has been well documented in recent times - a Championship side as recently as 2002 and a League One side in 2010 - with manager Alan Lord overseeing a tumultuous time on and off the pitch as the Hatters look for some much-needed stability. Despite finding form over Christmas, Stockport still sat in an uncomfortable position in the Skrill North table, just six points above the drop zone

Despite starting the game as underdogs, it was Stockport who had the first chance to open the scoring with a great double chance on four minutes; Kristian Dennis was denied by Dan Crane twice in quick succession, with the Hednesford stopper eventually managing to claim the loose ball

Elliott Durrell - struggling to add to his prolific early season tally - got his angles all wrong with Hednesford's best chance of the first ten minutes, blazing well over the bar after being slipped in on the edge of the penalty area

Four minutes later, Harvey wasted a great chance to open the scoring as he managed to out-muscle Scott Duxbury inside the penalty area but fired horribly wide from close range when it seemed easier to hit the target

It mattered little though, as Harvey made amends five minutes later with a simple goal - Durrell's low cross was not cleared by a hesitant Stockport defence, allowing Harvey to slot home at the far post from close range

The dangerous Dennis forced the Hednesford defence into drastic measures on nineteen minutes, as his low shot beyond Crane was hacked off the goal line by Darren Campion, who had the foresight of mind to follow the play back into his own six-yard box

Just as it looked as though Stockport were finding their way back into the game, they were struck a real blow on nineteen minutes as midfielder Tunji Moses was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Durrell. The two players went for a loose ball just in front of the two dugouts, with Moses over-aggressively taking Durrell down with a wild challenge after Durrell had nicked the ball away. The referee had little option but to show Moses a straight red card for a dangerous tackle

Hednesford pressed off the back of this decision, with a number of set-pieces testing Stockport's resolve and organisational skills. And yet the home side had to wait until five minutes before half time to register another effort at goal, as Campion's deep cross just evaded the head of the tall Nathan Blissett at the far post

Another cross from Campion two minutes later created an opening for defensive partner Francino Francis, who headed his skipper's curling cross wide of goal from a decent position

The Pitmen made their numerical advantage tell within five minutes of the restart, as a quickfire double essentially ended the game as a contest and set the Pitmen up for another three points at Keys Park

On fifty minutes, a cross from Paul McCone was flicked on by the big man Francis, who managed to find Osborne lurking at the far post. The talented midfielder steadied himself before confidently volleying the ball home from close range for his sixth goal of the season

It should have been 3-0 three minutes later, as a neat interchange between Harvey and Durrell saw Hednesford's top scorer get in behind the Stockport defence. Durrell's toe-poked effort clattered the Stockport woodwork, with keeper Ian Ormson beaten at his near post

Ormson denied Harvey with a fine stop a minute later, doing well to hold the ball after the big striker had headed towards goal

Harvey was giving Stockport nightmares with his movement and skill, getting on the end of another flowing move involving Osborne and Tom Thorley before firing in a shot that Ormson beat away for a Hednesford corner

From the resultant Durrell corner, Harvey rose highest to powerfully head the ball beyond Ormson and in off the post, although McCone was on hand to make absolutely sure that the ball had crossed the line

The 3-0 scoreline certainly looked a one-sided affair, but Crane had been much the busier of the two keepers over the duration of the game, with the home keeper making yet another excellent save on sixty-two minutes to deny Dennis with his feet after he had been played in by Nicky Platt

Harvey's hard-working shift was brought to a halt on sixty-three minutes, with Nathan Woolfe coming on in his place to offer the Pitmen more pace and width

Stockport did eventually beat Crane and deny him a well-earned clean sheet on sixty-six minutes as Phil Jevons' cross from the right found Dennis lurking in the area, with the striker turning well and firing beyond the reach of Crane to reduce the deficit

Having only just returned from an injury that had kept him out for a fortnight, Osborne was given a well-earned rest on seventy minutes as Kris Taylor came on to shore up the midfield area

On-loan Blissett almost added to his goal tally since joining the Pitmen from Kidderminster Harriers last month, as he broke clear of the tiring Stockport defence and prodded the ball beyond the onrushing Ormson. However, the boggy Keys Park goalmouth had the final say, as Blissett's goalbound shot got caught in the mud and slowed sufficiently for Ormson to recover and recover the ball

The Pitmen made their final change of the evening on seventy-eight minutes, as Dave MacPherson came on to add the steel in midfield in place of the more attack-minded Robbie Thompson-Brown

Stockport, to their credit, continued to plug away as they looked to set up a tense finale, with Dennis continuing to offer County options up front. On eighty minutes, he fired narrowly wide of goal with a miscued effort from range, followed by a great chance three minutes later that forced Crane into another great save to turn his goalbound shot away for a corner kick

Victory moves the Pitmen back into second place in the table after this evening's set of fixtures, sitting in a position they have found themselves in so many months of the last fourteen months - just below their nemesis North Ferriby United, who claimed a comfortable win over Leamington this evening. The Pitmen go to Bradford (Park Avenue) this weekend buoyed by a welcome return to form, looking to overhaul Ferriby at the top and realise their own growing ambitions of promotion to the Skrill Premier

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, McCone, Francis, Thorley, Osborne (Taylor 70), Durrell, Harvey (Woolfe 63), Blissett, Thompson-Brown (MacPherson 78)       Subs not used: Bailey, Eminoğlu

Stockport County: Ormson, Jacobs, Duxbury (O’Halloran 79), Platt, Fagbola, Cowen (Lees 26 ), Moses (19), Churchman , Dennis, Jevons, Howard (Dickinson 55)      Subs Unused: Charnock, Lofthouse

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