19.3.2016

Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town

Bailey (72)

Stockport County

Anorou (90), Odejayi (90)

(0) 1

(0) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

572

Sean Williams

L L D L D L L D D L

Corby Town (A) 26.3.16

A late salvo from visitors Stockport left the Pitmen and their manager Frank Sinclair humiliated this afternoon as the Hatters turned today's Vanarama National League North game on its head with two goals in added time to claim all three points, leaving the Pitmen staring down the barrel of relegation after recording a tenth consecutive game without a win

Last weekend had seen the Pitmen tamely throw away a two-goal lead against the ten men of Alfreton Town, drawing 3-3 with the Reds at Keys Park to extend their winless run in the league to nine games and leave them rock bottom of the league table. Sinclair had once again drawn significant criticism from the terraces for his perceived lack of tactical nous, making what appeared to be an unnecessary switch up front with allowed Alfreton to get back into the game. The under-pressure Hednesford boss made one change to his side from the one that had started against Alfreton as Francino Francis - returning to the club this week from Chasetown - replaced Jack Truelove in defence. Tom Thorley was still ruled out due to injury and Sinclair's other singing in midweek, Wrexham loanee Jonathan Royle, was denied a debut as his International Clearance was yet to come through from the FA

The quickly-improving Hatters made the trip down the M6 in fine recent form, having beaten the Pitmen 3-0 at Edgeley Park only eighteen days ago in the reverse fixture. Jim Gannon made three changes to his in-form XI from the one that had beaten Gloucester City 3-0 last weekend as Joe Garvin, Chris Smalley and Wade Joyce replaced Gareth Roberts, Sean O'Hanlon and Karl Ledsham respectively

It was a cool pre-Easter afternoon at Keys Park, with a cold wind blowing across the pitch intermittently during the game. The men in black and white made a good start to the game as on-loan Modou Cham made a weaving run through two challenges in the third minute of the game, cutting inside from the right flank but overrunning the ball at the crucial moment and allowing skipper for the day Paul Connolly to clear the danger

The prolific Richard Brodie had Stockport's first sight at goal a minute later, picking up a pass from John Marsden after the midfielder had seized upon a loose pass from Phil Trainer, but fired well wide of Dan Crane's left-hand post

Tom Peers was also looking to take the game to the men in sky blue and created an opening for himself in the eighth minute as won the ball from Danny Morton and drove into the Stockport penalty area, only to rifle his right-footed shot wide of goalkeeper Ian Ormson's near post

Crane's first contribution of the afternoon saw him make a smart save to deny Marsden in the tenth minute of a pacy game thus far, latching onto Brodie's flick-on but saw his low shot easily fielded by the experienced stopper

Neat footwork from Lewis Montrose saw the former Gillingham man play Marsden into space down the right-wing for the Hatters on thirteen minutes, with his low cross skipping across the face of the Hednesford goal and just out of reach of the incoming Brodie, who just couldn't get a toe to the ball

Joyce was unlucky with a first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area a minute later after being set up by Montrose but pulled his right-footed effort just wide of the target

A good chance for the Pitmen was crafted by the excellent Sean Williams on nineteen minutes as the midfielder's free-kick was cleared back to him on the left by Chris Smalley, allowing the midfielder to change the angle of approach and swing the ball back into the box, where Ben Bailey met the ball with his head but headed straight into the arms of Ormson from close-range

Midway through the first half, Adam Thomas picked up a Williams pass and drifted infield before playing the ball into the feet of Peers, who turned quickly to deceive Connolly and drove a low shot in at goal that Ormson was equal to down to his left

Ormson had to be alert to deny Williams a chance from close-range two minutes later, punching the ball away from danger as Shelton Payne's inswinging cross went close to dropping into the path of the incoming Hednesford midfielder

Stockport had the ball in the net on twenty-seven minutes as Morton's run and cross was headed down at the far post by the vastly experienced Odekjayi into the path of Marsden, who turned the ball home from close range. However, an offside flag against Odejayi in the build-up from the assistant on the main stand side ruled the goal out by referee Mr Massey-Ellis

On thirty-one minutes, Bailey's long throw from the right was flicked on by Kennedy Digie and into the path of the burly Francis, who chested the ball down but struggled to get the ball under control and scuffed the ball well, well wide of goal

With ten minutes of the first half remaining, an inswinging free-kick from Tom Field was headed away by Digie but straight into the path of Brodie, whose follow-up shot was charged down by Francis before falling to Morton, whose shot flew into the Heath Hayes terrace from twelve yards out

Two minutes later, Crane was called upon once more to turn Brodie's right-footed shot from fifteen yards out around the post for a corner kick to the away side

With four minutes of the first period remaining, a long throw from Garvin was headed away by Digie and into the path of Marsden, who worked the ball onto his right foot but saw his follow-up shot deflected away by the wall of black and white in front of him

In the final minute of the first half, Brodie - wound up by some of the terrace humour handed to him from the home supporters - talked himself into Mr Massey-Ellis's book for dissent after having one opinion too many for the referee's liking

The Pitmen had looked impotent as an attacking force in the first period, and perhaps it came as no surprise that Sinclair made an attacking half-time change as Danny Glover came on in place of Digie with the hosts reverting to a 4-4-2 formation for the second half

Former Stockport man Glover almost had an immediate impact as he forced Ormson into a good save with the first opportunity of the second half on forty-eight minutes; a Williams pass towards the striker saw Glover get the better of the dawdling Morton just inside the Stockport half, escaping the attentions of the full-back before striking a firm shot from twenty yards out that Ormson did well to turn away from goal

Field created a response for the visitors three minutes later, scuffing his shot wide of Crane's left-hand post after good approach play from Brodie and Odejayi set the midfielder up on the edge of the penalty area

Ormson made his best save of the afternoon so far to deny Payne on fifty-six minutes, diving full-length to his left to push the winger's curling shot away from goal after the winger had cut into the penalty area from the left flank and left Morton behind

Crane matched his opposite number's heroics with a fine save at the other end of the pitch to deny Field two minutes later, getting both hands behind the midfielder's curling free-kick from twenty yards out to push the ball away from goal

Good defending from Bailey denied Brodie a certain goal for Stockport on fifty-nine minutes, getting across to divert the ball away for a corner kick as Brodie got on the end of a cross from Marsden and looked to turn the ball home from eight yards out

Odejayi showed a rare lack of composure in front of goal three minutes later as he was left unmarked to meet Field's free-kick from the opposite side of the penalty area but tamely turned the ball wide at the far post when he probably should have made the net bulge

Williams joined Brodie in Mr Massey-Ellis's notebook on sixty-five minutes as he brought Odejayi down in full flight and was deservedly booked for the foul

Cham was also booked by Mr Massey-Ellis as he chased Morton down as the full-back broke down the flank and mistimed his challenge on the Stockport man, earning him a yellow card for his efforts

Glover's prowess from deal ball situations came into play for the Pitmen on seventy-one minutes as Garvin was penalised for pulling Payne back just outside the Stockport penalty area. Glover's resultant free-kick was struck with plenty of venom and Ormson did well to turn the ball away for a corner kick with an instinctive save down to his right

Williams took the resultant corner kick from the right and found the head of Bailey, who got in front of Smalley to head beyond the reach of the diving Ormson from ten yards out and into the net. A crucial goal in the Pitmen's season perhaps?

A double attacking change from the visitors saw Ryan Ellison replace Joyce and the tricky Obi Anorou - scorer of the opening goal in Stockport's 3-0 win at Edgeley Park two and a half weeks ago - come on up front in place of Marsden

Payne could have doubled the Pitmen's advantage with fourteen minutes remaining as he dragged a left-footed shot wide of the post from a good position inside the Stockport penalty area after good play from Williams to play him in

Anorou's pace saw him get away from Trainer and into the Hednesford penalty area on eighty-two minutes, pulling the ball back into the direction of Odejayi but Francis managed to clear the danger before the former Tranmere Rovers striker could get his shot away

Three minutes later, Peers exchanged passes with Glover and got away from Montrose as he entered the penalty area, but the Chester loanee elected to shoot from an angle rather than look to play Thomas in and slashed his effort well wide of goal

With Stockport committing more and more players forwards in search of a late equaliser, the Pitmen broke quickly on the counter-attack through Payne on eighty-seven minutes, scampering away down the left wing but again choosing to shoot rather than pass, lifting his left-footed effort into the Heath Hayes terrace when Glover was unmarked just inside the penalty area

Sinclair had spent much of the second-period trading banter with the large away following to his left, winding up the Hatters' support once more as he raised a '1-0' hand gesture towards them with the game moving into added time, clearly confident that his side would be able to hold on. However, what was to transpire in the four added minutes pretty much summed up the Pitmen's season and Sinclair's terrible spell as manager....

In the ninety-first minute, a period of pressure from the away side saw the ball worked to Field, whose cross was headed onto the post by Odejayi and away from goal. With the ball still loose, Anorou picked the ball up and turned past Francis in an instant before gleefully firing low past Crane from ten yards out

The Pitmen were completely out on their feet at this point and promptly gave the ball away straight from the kick-off to Connolly, whose long ball forwards found Odejayi, reacting quickest to seize upon the ball ahead of a backtracking Hednesford defence before calmly lobbing the ball over the head of the advancing Crane and into the unguarded net from twenty yards out

The Stockport fans took great delight in giving Sinclair the bird after his earlier gestures, with the Hednesford manager standing motionless with his hands in his pocket as the final ninety seconds were played out without incident. A grandstand finish from the visitors and three points they had probably earned over the course of the game on the balance of play. For the Pitmen, a humiliating end to proceedings and another good example of why they are in the mess they are currently in at the foot of the table. Their winless run has been extended to ten games, with a trip to rock-bottom Corby Town next up on Saturday in the offing; anything less than three points and it's looking somewhat unlikely that it will be National League North football for Hednesford next term

Hednesford Town: Crane, Fitzwater (Robinson 90), Trainer, Bailey ©, Digie (Glover 45), Francis, Thomas, Williams , Peers, Cham , Payne       Subs Unused: Ransome, Truelove, Ennis

Stockport County: Ormson, Morton, Garvin, Montrose, Connolly ©, Smalley, Joyce (Ellison 73), Field, Brodie ▆ (West 82), Marsden (Anoruo 73), Odejayi       Subs Unused: Todd, Smith