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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Brown (17)

Hednesford Town

Dunkley (32), Carline (90)

(1) 1

(1) 2



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George Carline


Ashton United (A) 20.8.16

Hednesford maintained their 100% start to the new season after leaving it late to defeat the much-fancied Stourbridge at the Amblecote Ground this evening

The hard-fought 3-1 victory over Spennymoor Town at the weekend had come at a cost for some members of the Hednesford squad, with Francino Francis and Lewis Wright both missing out this evening. In came Rhys Thompson at right-back for his full debut, with Cohen Bramall starting at left-back to allow Calum Flanagan to slot into the centre back role alongside James Mutton. Michael McGrath was dropped to the bench in favour of captain Tom Thorley in the third change to the side from Saturday's win

Stourbridge had made a losing start to the new season at the weekend, going down to a 2-0 defeat at newly-promoted Warrington Town. Former Hednesford triallist Luke Benbow was the man to watch after a superb season at neighbours Rushall Olympic last season, making his Stour debut after his summer switch from the Pics, with two of last season's Hednesford squad also named in the Stour team in the forms of Jon Adams and Jake Heath

A warm, comfortable evening in the Black Country saw the Pitmen start the game on the up, continuing to play their neat, tidy football that had been so impressive in pre-season. Simeon Maye tried his luck in the third minute of the game, cutting in from the right flank and firing a shot in across goal, which required Stourbridge keeper Matt Gould to turn the ball away for a corner kick

The in-form Tristian Dunkley went even closer to breaking the deadlock a minute later, as he turned the ball against the base of the post with a scuffed, hurried effort

A nasty-looking clash involving Dan Scarr and Dunkley in the eleventh minute saw Scarr coming off worst and requiring attention for a bloody nose. Dunkley's shirt was changed after the Stourbridge man had bled on the Hednesford striker's shirt

Despite being on top in the opening fifteen minutes the Pitmen somehow found themselves a goal behind, as they had done on Saturday; A cross from Chris Lait found Benbow, whose shot was blocked by Mutton. Benbow won the ball back and squared it to Kayleden Brown, who had the simple task of knocking the ball home from close range

Benbow went close to doubling the home side's advantage just a minute later, as Brown turned provider to set up strike partner Benbow, who fired just wide of Dan Crane's goal

The Pitmen almost came up with an equaliser midway through the half, as a deep cross from Dunkley found Ashley Sammons, who in turn played the ball into the danger zone. However, the tempting ball across the face of the Stourbridge goal was just too far in front of the onrushing Maye, who couldn't turn the ball home

The Pitmen did get back on terms just after the half-hour mark, with Dunkley again the man on target to register his fourth goal in the last four games. A partially cleared header from Stourbridge dropped to Dunkley, who fired home from twenty yards out with a superb, powerfully struck effort to beat Gould

Skipper Thorley went close to opening his account for the season just before half time, firing in a low shot that was deflected away for a Hednesford corner

The Pitmen made a bright start to the second period, with Sammons firing high over the crossbar just seconds after the restart with a wild effort from twenty yards out

The ever-dangerous Benbow was denied a goalscoring opportunity on fifty-six minutes, as the excellent Flanagan blacked the striker's shot after Lait had played Benbow in down the left-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area

Sammons responded immediately with a long-range shot that was well held by Gould on his goal line after Thorley had played a neat pass into the forward's path

The Pitmen were dealt a blow on fifty-seven minutes, as Dunkley limped off holding his hamstring. He was replaced by Danny Glover, who made his first appearance of the season up front

Sean Geddes - playing against the team where he made his name - fired well wide of goal on the hour mark after a corner kick was cleared to him on the edge of the penalty area

Gould came to Stourbridge's rescue again four minutes later, as Maye's through ball found Sammons, whose shot was turned away by the Stourbridge keeper

This was to be the final action for Sammons in the evening, as the influential midfielder was taken off after picking up a knock and was replaced by McGrath

Crane was called upon to keep the scores level with fifteen minutes remaining, turning Benbow's deflected shot away for a Stourbridge corner kick with a strong left-handed save

The games was ebbing and flowing from one end to the other as the game entered the final ten minutes, with both sides having chances to win the game and pick up all three points. Benbow tried his luck with a dipping free-kick that cleared the crossbar before Flanagan fired well wide with a typical centre back's wild shot from distance

By this point, Geddes had departed the pitch and had been replaced by striker Gurjit Singh, himself a loanee at Stourbridge at the back end of last season

A competitive affair looked to be heading for a point apiece until one final attack from the Pitmen in added time earned them all three points; a superb run and cross from Bramall down the left found George Carline lurking, twelve yards from goal. The midfielder showed superb technique to control his volley and fire past Gould with virtually the last kick of the game to earn his team the win with his first goal of the season

Two wins from two is a welcome and confident start to the new campaign for the new-look Pitmen, who face the tricky trip to perennial play-off hopefuls Ashton United on Saturday as they look for a third successive win. So far, so good

Stourbridge: Gould, Green (Heath 74), Probert (Canavan 73), Tonks, Hull, Scarr, Birch, Broadhurst ©, Benbow (Hague 89), Lait, Brown      Sub Unused: Adams

Hednesford Town: Crane, Thompson, Bramall, Thorley ©Mutton, Flanagan , Maye, Geddes ▆ (Singh 78), Dunkley (Glover 57), Sammons (McGrath 27 ), Carline      Subs Unused: Ransome, Francis

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