10.11.2018

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Cockerline (69)

Warrington Town

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Dan Sweeney

 

L L W L D D D L D W

 

Hyde United (A) 17.11.18

The Pitmen register their first home win in the league in five games today, as they edge out play-off chasing Warrington Town at Keys Park to remain in touch with the top half of the table

 

Last weekend's disappointing draw with Bamber Bridge had left the side feeling flat, with spirits lifted slightly in midweek courtesy of a win over Birmingham City in the Birmingham Senior Cup. Manager Rob Smith had used the Blues game to cast his eye over a couple of new faces that had arrived at the club, with one of them - French Guiana International Jules Haabo - added to the squad for today's clash with the fifth-placed Yellows. Joe Fitzpatrick and Lewis Archer missed out on the game, with new signing Rudy Misambo coming in for his league debut and Reece King returning to the side in midfield. Youth team player Carter Lycett, who has been training with the first team recently, was also added to the squad as a substitute

 

Warrington - now an established force in the league off the back of two successful seasons in the Evo-Stik Premier League - arrived at Keys Park having struggled for form in recent weeks. Paul Carden's side had won only once in their previous seven games - a 2-0 win over Grantham Town last weekend - having been knocked out of the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy in successive games, with the bad news continuing for Carden this week as both Tony McMillan and Dominic Reid had been ruled out due to injuries suffered in the last few days. Carden did name former Hednesford striker Bohan Dixon in his starting XI, however, with the familiar face of another ex-Hednesford striker in the form of Mark Beesley standing alongside Carden on the bench as his assistant manager

 

The combative Josh Craddock left his mark on Warrington defender Ben Garrity in the fifth minute of the game, clattering into the Warrington man with a mistimed challenge that Craddock somehow managed to escape a yellow card for. From the resultant free-kick, Dixon's attempted effort from fully thirty yards drifted well wide of Josef Bursik's left-hand post

 

The dangerous Tony Gray created an opening for himself on fourteen minutes, dribbling the ball past Sam Griffiths on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area and firing at goal, forcing Bursik into a fine save at his near post. Gray lashed the resultant corner kick high over the crossbar with a wild effort at the far post

 

The Pitmen slowly came back into the game as the half progressed, with Matt Curley's deep cross just evading the head of King on twenty minutes, before King headed a low cross from Warrington-born Dan Cockerline just wide from six yards out a minute later

 

Bursik did well to snuff out a chance for Dixon on twenty-four minutes, smothering a through ball from Adam Carden that was played towards Dixon ten yards from goal

Dan Sweeney had looked the most likely player to open up the visitors' defence thus far, with the Solihull loanee lashing a shot just wide of goal on twenty-six minutes via a deflection following good build-up play by Cockerline and Craddock

 

Cockerline took advantage of confusion in the Warrington ranks a minute later, pouncing on a loose ball after skipper David Raven and Adam Hughes had got in each other's way as they challenged for a Nathan Fox ball. With only a split-second to think about it, Cockerline took a shot at goal first time and was denied an opening goal by a fine save from keeper Charles Albinson

 

Sweeney's resultant corner kick found the head of King at the far post, who nodded down into the path of new-boy Misambo; his shot on the turn was well-saved by Albinson once more, denying the defender a debut goal after seeing the shot late through a crowd of players

 

Craddock - still to notch this season from midfield - remained goalless for the campaign on thirty-four minutes, firing wide of goal after Cockerline had headed the ball back into the midfielder's path

 

Dixon rose to meet a cross from Carden on thirty-nine minutes, rising highest and beating Bursik to the ball before heading against the crossbar, only to be denied a second chance to turn the ball home after the assistant referee had put his flag up for an earlier offside

 

The Pitmen could be reasonably happy with their first-half display, but yet again had failed to take the good chances that had fallen to them, just as in many recent games that had ultimately cost them points

 

The hosts were quickly back into the action at the start of the second half, with Sweeney's run checked thirty yards from goal. His free-kick found the head of Cockerline at the far post, but the lanky striker headed just wide of goal

 

A fantastic run from Sweeney almost opened up the Warrington defence on fifty-five minutes, sprinting away to latch onto Curley's through ball before outmuscling Hughes and driving the ball towards goal, only for Raven to scuff the ball away from his own goal from a couple of yards out. Sweeney did well to recycle the ball after Curley's back-heel, leaving Hughes on his backside as he jinked past him before being denied a shot on goal by a Garrity

 

Dixon lashed his long-range effort high over the crossbar on fifty-eight minutes, before Warrington made their first change of the afternoon six minutes later, with Dylan Vassallo coming on in place of Jake Kirby

 

A game that had gone a little scrappy sparked into life with eighteen minutes remaining, as the Pitmen felt that they should have been awarded a penalty; an amazing run from the excellent Sweeney saw him take the ball all the way from his own half and into the Warrington penalty area. After getting to the bye-line, Sweeney sent over a cross that was quite clearly handled by Hughes, only for both referee and assistant on the near side to somehow fail to award the hosts a spot-kick and only hand the Pitmen a corner kick

 

From the disputed corner kick, Sweeney sent over a fine out swinging ball that found Misambo, whose goalbound header was blocked. The ball bounced kindly for Cockerline, who had the simple task of tapping the ball home from close range for his second goal of the week

 

There was a significant break in play on seventy-five minutes, as Misambo and Raven went down in the Hednesford penalty area after a clash of heads, requiring both players to receive a few minutes of treatment before they could be cleared to carry on

 

Warrington upped the tempo as the game entered the final ten minutes, with Vassallo's deep free-kick headed straight into the arms of Bursik by Garrity, who had managed to sneak into the penalty area at the far post unchallenged

 

Cutley and Charlie Gatter were both booked for the Pitmen in quick succession before a simmering feud between Carden and Sweeney finally boiled over with nine minutes left. Carden appeared to raise his arm to Sweeney as the pair challenged for the ball. The pair clashed right in front of the two benches, with Warrington manager Carden - the older brother of the player - got involved by trespassing in the Hednesford technical area to get his message across. After careful consideration, the referee consulted with his assistant before showing Carden a red card for violent conduct. Sweeney was still seeking retribution, and was booked for his part in the scuffle as he continued to argue with the Warrington bench

 

Perhaps wisely, Smith saw this as the perfect opportunity to make his one and only change of the afternoon as he took Sweeney off before he was sent off, replacing him with new boy Haabo up front

 

Cockerline followed his team-mates into the book for kicking the ball away needlessly on eighty-four minutes, before Dixon headed a cross from Alex Whittle wide of Bursik's far post on eighty-eight minutes

 

The eight minutes of added time saw the Pitmen do well to hold the ten men of Warrington at arm's length, earning themselves a hard-fought three points over an out-of-form Yellows side who still remain in the top five despite their recent run of indifferent form. The Pitmen finally have a week free of midweek action, and can prepare for next weekend's trip to fellow mid-table side Hyde United without the distraction of a Tuesday night game for the only the second time so far this term

 

Hednesford Town: Bursik, Curley Fox, Mendez-Jones, Misambo, Griffiths, Gatter , Craddock ©, Cockerline , Sweeney  (Haabo 82), King    Subs Unused: Abadaki, Howard, Lycett, Veiga

 

Warrington Town: Albinson, Carden  (81), Whittle, Garrity, Hughes, Raven ©, Mackreth, Beeley (Evans 90), Gray (Amis 71), Dixon, Kirby (Vassallo 64)   Subs Unused: Duggan, Roberts

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