Vanarama National League North

Hednesford Town

Peers (70), (76)


Mohammed (60)

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(0) 1



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Tom Peers


Worcester City (H) 12.4.16

Finally! After twelve winless games that had dumped Hednesford into the relegation mire, the Pitmen finally record their first win of 2016 as they defeated local rivals Tamworth at a wet and grey Keys Park this afternoon

Another depressing late defeat at the hands of Curzon Ashton last weekend had left Frank Sinclair's struggling side a full eight points from safety and with games running out to save their step two status. Sinclair made three changes to his side from the one that had started at the Tameside Stadium as Jack Truelove replaced Phil Trainer, Adam Thomas was restored to the side in place of Shelton Payne and Jack Fitzwater came in for Francino Francis. The club had also confirmed that striker Kyle Perry had departed the club in midweek, with the striker electing to join league rivals Worcester City after an approach from the Blues. Modou Cham and Jack Fitzwater would also remain at Keys Park until the end of the season after their loans from Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion were both extended until the end of April

The play-off chasing Lambs made the short journey across the A5 to Keys Park off the back of a 2-1 win over Chorley last weekend, with player/manager Andy Morrell electing to stick with the same XI that had started last Saturday's win. This meant a return to Keys Park for a couple of notable names as both Ross Dyer and Elliott Durrell started the game for the visitors against their former employers

The rain and grey skies had hung over South Staffordshire for much of the day, with the Keys Park pitch slick and dug-up in places at kick-off. Despite the close proximity of the two sides, the attendance for today's derby was perhaps a little disappointing as only just over 600 braved the woeful conditions

The hosts got to grips with the slippery underfoot conditions the quickest of the two sides and created a good opening for themselves in the second minute of the game as a cross from Fitzwater out on the right was aimed at Thomas, only for Tamworth's Ellis Deeney to show his experience to jockey the ball away from the winger's clutches at the far post as Thomas looked to poke the ball home from six yards out

Tamworth responded through the dangerous Danny Newton - scorer against the Pitmen for Leamington last season - in the fifth minute, picking the ball up from Dyer to the left-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area and attempting a curling shot at goal that dipped just wide of Dan Crane's left-hand post from eighteen yards out

Four minutes later, Hednesford forward Paul Ennis looked to add to his wonder strike at Curzon Ashton last week with another long-range effort, seizing upon a loose pass from centre-back Dan Preston before lifting his shot from twenty yards out over the crossbar as he looked to catch Lambs goalkeeper James Belshaw off guard

The game had been end-to-end in the first ten minutes of a keenly-fought Staffordshire derby, with Newton escaping the attention of Ben Bailey in the eleventh minute to latch onto a searching forward pass from Durrell. His first-time shot at goal beat Crane but drifted wide of the near post from ten yards out

Sixty seconds later, a cross from Thomas out on the left found Danny Glover inside the Tamworth penalty area, with the striker turning well past Preston and striking his shot well wide of the target from fifteen yards out

Durrell's first sight at goal came in the seventeenth minute as Deeney and Dyer exchanged passes before laying the ball back to the diminutive playmaker, whose powerfully-struck effort from the edge of the penalty area flew just wide of Crane's right-hand post

A mazy run from Thomas in the twentieth minute saw the former Stoke City winger drift past Lee Smith's challenge as he cut inside from the right, trying his luck with a speculative effort from long-range that Belshaw watched over his crossbar

Crane made a fine save to deny Newton five minutes later after Durrell's initial shot was deflected into his path by Kennedy Digie's attempted block, forcing the Hednesford stopper into a smothering save down to his right to push the ball away from danger

The burly Preston headed over the crossbar for the Lambs on the half-hour mark, rising highest to meet an inswinging Durrell free-kick just outside the six-yard box but nodding his effort over Crane's crossbar

Newton went close to opening the scoring for the away side two minutes later, nipping in ahead of Digie to get on the end of a Durrell flick-on from Andy Burns' cross but seeing Crane making a save down to his left

The combative Stephane Ngamvoulou had been quiet thus far for the hosts, irking referee Mr Wooton in the thirty-fifth minute as he brought down Kaid Mohamed but escaped with only a ticking-off

A typically bustling run from Durrell five minutes before the break saw the former Wrexham man make space for himself twenty-five yards from goal, working the ball onto his right foot but firing high over the crossbar and into the Heath Hayes terrace in the process

Burns was the first player to earn himself a booking on forty-two minutes as he mistimed his tackle on the free-running Thomas down the Hednesford right and was shown a yellow card by Mr Wooton. Burns was unhappy with the booking and had to be calmed down by Preston as he let the referee know what he thought of the decision

Sean Williams took the resultant free-kick and whipped in a curling ball to the far post, where Belshaw was on hand to make a timely punch away from danger as Bailey challenged him for the ball six yards from goal

On the stroke of half-time, Newton was once again denied by the reflexes of Crane after a quick break from the visitors saw Dyer slip the ball through to the striker once more, only for Newton's low driven shot to be turned away by Crane for a corner kick to the Lambs

It had been a brisk and lively first half from both sides, with Tamworth perhaps shading the opening forty-five minutes through the impressive movement of Newton, Durrell and Dyer. The Pitmen had shown some good defensive resilience, however, something that had been lacking in so many of their recent games

The Pitmen adopted a more aggressive approach at the start of the second half, pumping plenty of high balls into the penalty area looking for the likes of Glover and Ngamvoulou. Preston did well to steer a cross from Fitzwater behind for a corner kick at the far post on forty-eight minutes, under pressure from Glover as the striker battled with the former Telford man for the cross

Durrell struck another powerful effort just wide of the target on fifty minutes, taking the ball past Jonathan Royle's challenge but curling his shot just wide of former team-mate Crane's left-hand post from twenty yards out

Ennis earned his side a free-kick in a dangerous position on fifty-three minutes after being brought down by Steve Tommassen to the left-hand side of the Tamworth penalty area; Williams took the resultant kick and struck a firm effort over the wall but just wide of Belshaw's right-hand post

Two minutes later, the Pitmen really should have taken the lead as Glover did well to escape the attentions of Burns down the right and crossed low into the box for Ennis, who horribly skewed his first-time shot wide of goal with the net at his mercy from eight yards out

Newton did well to create a chance from nothing for the visitors on fifty-eight minutes as he picked the ball up on the left-wing and drifted past Fitzwater before cutting into the penalty area, laying the ball off to Durrell on the edge of the box whose first-time effort had Crane scrambling across his line to watch the ball wide of his right-hand post

The Lambs took the lead on the hour mark as the Pitmen's flaky confidence in defence returned with aplomb; a long throw from Deeney caused issues for the home defence as they struggled to clear their lines, only succeeding in playing the ball into the path of Mohamed, whose low driven shot back across goal found the far corner of the net from fifteen yards out

Before play could restart, Sinclair opted to make an attacking change to his side as they chased yet another game with Peers coming on in place of the disappointingly inconsistent Ennis. This saw a shift in formation as the hosts went to a more direct 4-4-2 formation, with Peers playing up front with Glover

It was prove something of an inspired substitution for the Pitmen, with Peers involved immediately on sixty-three minutes as he latched onto Ngamvoulou's flick-on from a Crane kick forwards but saw his snap-shot from eighteen yards out deflected behind for a corner by Deeney

Three corner kicks in a row from the Pitmen tested Tamworth's much-vaunted defensive solidity, with Bailey heading Williams' inswinging ball in just over the upright on sixty-six minutes as he arrived late at the far post

Two minutes later, the hosts made their second attacking change of the game as winger Shelton Payne was brought on to add more pace and urgency down the left flank as he replaced Ngamvoulou

The Pitmen's more direct approach bore fruit on seventy minutes as they pulled level with the two substitutes linking up to make it 1-1; a brilliant run from Payne down the left flank saw the former Skelmersdale man leave Burns in his wake before pulling the ball back from the byeline and into the path of Peers, who fired past Belshaw from twelve yards out with a well-taken effort

With the momentum behind them, the Pitmen pressed high up the pitch as they looked to force home that all-important winner. Preston's sliding challenge on Glover on seventy-three minutes diverted the striker's low effort behind for a corner kick after Glover had given Deeney the slip to reach a Williams pass inside the Tamworth penalty area

The hosts completed their comeback three minutes later as superb hold-up play from Glover saw the forward control a pass from Royle and lay it off into the path of Peers, whose drive a low shot beyond the reach of Belshaw from twelve yards out to turn the game on its head in just six minutes

Durrell and Smith combined well on eighty minutes to create space inside the Hednesford half, playing Newton in behind Fitzwater down the left. The striker controlled the ball well and picked out Curtis Strong at the far post, only for the former Stoke City youngster to tamely turn the ball wide at the far post

Connor Taylor came on for the visitors to add more craft to their attack and lifted a shot over Crane's crossbar with six minutes of the game remaining after Dyer's jinking run had set up the former Aston Villa man thirty yards from goal

Player/manager Morrell also made a late appearance off the bench as the away side desperately looked for an equaliser in the closing stages of the game. The Lambs spent five solid minutes camped inside the Hednesford third of the pitch, winning a host of corner kicks in the process but failing to really test Crane and his defenders with the minutes ticking away

In the final minute of normal time, a deep cross from Strong was met by the head of the rangy Dyer, who beat Digie to the ball but diverted his effort wide of Crane's post from six yards out

The Pitmen looked to catch Tamworth on the counter-attack and were awarded a late penalty in added time after Royle's long clearance found Peers racing away from Preston, who could only succeed in bringing the youngster down just inside the penalty area. Preston was booked for his challenge but spared a red card as Peers was running away from goal. Peers was handed the chance to complete his hat-trick from the spot but saw Belshaw guess right and turned his spot-kick over the crossbar with a spectacular one-handed save

Belshaw nearly made all of the headlines for himself as he went agonisingly close to levelling matters at the other end of the pitch deep into added time; the goalkeeper was sent forwards to add his presence to a Durrell corner kick and met the inswinging ball with his head, only to divert it inches over the crossbar from eight yards out

The Pitmen held on to record a much-needed and long-awaited three points, giving them a glimmer of hope in avoiding the drop in the four remaining games this season as they move within six points of safety. They face struggling Worcester City at Keys Park on Tuesday night looking to make it back-to-back wins that would bring them ever-closer to the clubs above them in the table and potentially pull Worcester into the mire with only three games remaining

Hednesford Town: Crane, Thomas, Truelove, Bailey ©, Digie, Fitzwater, Ennis (Peers 60), Williams, Glover, Ngamvoulou (Payne 68), Royle      Subs Unused: Ransome, Trainer, Robinson

Tamworth: Belshaw, Burns ▆, Dyer, Deeney, Tommassen, Preston , Durrell, Smith (Morrell 85), Newton, Mohamed (Taylor 80), Strong      Subs Unused: Hubbins, Carter, Ezewele