Skrill North

Hednesford Town

Durrell (15), (28)

Vauxhall Motors

(2) 2

(0) 0



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Elliott Durrell


Histon (A) 17.9.13

Hednesford swiftly got back to winning ways this afternoon, wiping away any lingering memories of last week's defeat at North Ferriby to confidently dispatch ten-man Vauxhall Motors at Keys Park

Manager Rob Smith had spent the week sweating on the fitness of several key players ahead of today's Skrill North clash, with Darren Campion, Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey all passed fit to start following fitness concerns. Francino Francis's back troubles saw him only named amongst the substitutes, whilst Wayne Riley missed out completely after failing to recover from a groin injury

There was a new face in the side to replace Francis in central defence, with young Tamworth centre back Matt Regan put straight into the side alongside Ben Bailey. He arrived at the club on Thursday following the departure of Sam Barnes to Marine

Vauxhall arrived at Keys Park off the back of an impressive 2-2 draw against the much-fancied Boston United. Despite their limited budget and low gates, Motors boss Carl Macauley had once again put together a competitive, footballing side that is celebrating a tenth season at step two

Before kick-off, Smith was recognised for his side's flying start to the new campaign as he was crowned the Skrill North manager of the month for August after steering his side to thirteen points in their first four games back at step two

Having conceded first-minute goals to Worcester and North Ferriby in recent games, the Pitmen almost allowed Motors to snatch a similarly early lead with the first attack of the game, as Jordan Rudd tried his luck with a lob from the right-hand side of the penalty area that drifted over the head of Dan Crane and dropped narrowly wide of the far post

This close call from Motors shocked the home side into life, with the Pitmen forcing successive corner kicks from the left. Kris Taylor's deep corner kick on seven minutes to the back post was headed back across goal by new boy Regan, who managed to play it back into the path of Harvey. His attempt at a goalbound volley saw him slice his shot over the crossbar as he stretched to get to the ball

The Pitmen were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards out on fifteen minutes, as Jamey Osborne's trickery was crudely brought to a halt by Louis Barnes - twin brother of the recently departed Sam - to the left of the penalty area. The Skrill North's top scorer Elliott Durrell took ownership of it and struck a delightful swerving shot beyond the reach of Vauxhall keeper and former Hednesford triallist Zac Jones to find the far corner of the net and register his ninth goal of the season

A rare foray into the Hednesford half on twenty minutes saw Motors' number ten Lloyd Ellams fire at Crane with a low drive that the Hednesford stopper turned away for a corner kick

Two minutes later, Osborne tested the reflexes of Jones with a driven shot from just outside the penalty area that the Motors keeper made a simple stop from

Durrell doubled his, and Hednesford's advantage from another set-piece on twenty-eight minutes, as Taylor's left-footed corner kick fell perfectly for the midfielder, who headed past Jones from six yards out to move into double figures for the season

Dave MacPherson was the first man into the book on the half-hour mark, booked for a slightly over-zealous challenge in midfield

Good link-up play involving John Disney and Durrell a minute later saw Durrell scamper away from the challenge of Barnes as he cut in from the right flank, but his fierce drive from ten yards out could only find the side netting from a tight angle

With both sides looking towards a well-earned half time break, the game exploded into life once again in added time at the end of the first half. An ugly, studs-up challenge from Ellams caught Ben Bailey very late as the defender reached a loose ball first, with the midfielder shown a straight red card by the referee without a second thought. Cue a bout of handbags involving most of the players on the pitch, with players from both sides wading in on each other. After restoring calm, the referee booked Andy Nicholas and Chris Noone for Motors and Bailey for the hosts for their part in the melee

The final action of the half saw Harvey turn away from his marker with a marvellous piece of skill, but fired wide with a miscued shot from the edge of the penalty area

Motors made a double change at half time as a reaction to the sending off of Ellams, bringing on the nippy Matthew Kosylo out on the left-wing as they looked to play on the counter-attack. The substitute was straight into the action as Motors made a bright start to the second half, making a run in behind Disney and shaping to shoot until his progress was checked by Regan

Ben Bailey and Regan had struck up an immediate rapport in central defence since being thrown together before kick-off, with the tall pair heading successive Vauxhall corners away from danger as the away side continued to press early in the half

MacPherson, who had continued his aggressive approach to the game despite his first-half booking, was sensibly withdrawn by Smith on fifty-three minutes, as Nathan Woolfe came on to give the home side more width

A quick break from the Pitmen on fifty-five minutes saw Harvey link up well with strike partner Rey, with Rey jinking his way around Nicholas and forcing Jones into a save at his near post

Jones made another save to deny Rey two minutes later, after Bailey's long throw to Regan saw the ball bobble inside the six-yard box after the defender had headed the ball back into the danger zone. Rey eventually managed to seize upon the ball, and fire a low shot straight at Jones

A further change followed five minutes later, as Campion was not risked any further and was replaced by Francis. This move saw a reshuffle at the back for the Pitmen, with Regan moving to left-back to allow Francis to partner Bailey at centre back

Woolfe was guilty of wasting a great chance for the Pitmen on sixty-six minutes, as Hednesford caught Vauxhall on the counter-attack with Rey, Harvey and Francis all running off the substitute in support. Rather than play the simple ball to his right and into the unmarked Rey, Woolfe attempted to play Francis in on the left but scuffed his ball straight to a Motors defender

The Pitmen were now well on top of the game and looked like extending their advantage every time they attacked. Jones had to be alert to clear the ball as Rey headed a long ball into the path of Harvey, followed by a shot from Harvey that was deflected away off a defender's leg for a corner kick

Osborne got all of his angles wrong on seventy-one minutes, blasting high over the crossbar from a tight angle as he picked up a through ball at the far post

Another precautionary substitution for the Pitmen came on seventy-two minutes, as Charlie Anagho-Ntamark replaced Harvey up front

It was to be a bright eighteen-minute cameo from the teenager, who gave the Motors defence problems with his direct running and persistence. On two occasions, he very nearly succeeded in stealing the ball off Jones as he kicked awkward back passes away from his goal

The over-worked Jones made another save from Rey with eight minutes remaining, holding Rey's close-range header from Durrell's cross

Another excellent delivery from Durrell with five minutes remaining saw him send over a corner to Francis, who headed just wide with a powerful downward header

In the final minute, Rey was denied once more by Jones, after Durrell had slipped the ball through to Rey, who had beaten the offside trap and fired goalwards at the near post

A solid, confident win for Hednesford then, putting them back into third place in the Skrill North table. His player's positive reaction to last week's defeat will have pleased Smith, although he will have felt they should have taken at least one of the numerous chances that fell their way in the second half. Attention now turns to Tuesday night's trip to Histon, with the Pitmen hoping that the numerous niggles in the playing squad can be shaken off in the next seventy-two hours

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion © (Francis 58), Bailey , Regan, MacPherson (Woolfe 53), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (Anagho-Ntamark 75), Rey, Taylor      Subs Unused: Melbourne, Thompson-Brown

Vauxhall Motors: Jones, Wainwright, Barnes , Hannigan ©, Nicholas , Noone, Noon, Williams, Rugg, Ellams (45), Fearnehough      Subs Unused: Davies, Ellison

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