Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Sammons (42) (penalty)

Warrington Town

(1) 1

(0) 0



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Dan Crane


Grantham Town (A) 17.12.16

The Pitmen make it back-to-back wins in the Evo-Stik Premier League this afternoon, with Ashley Sammons' penalty enough to earn them all three points over Warrington Town and subsequently move them up to fourth place in the table


It had been another week of change for the Pitmen's squad, as Paul Casey had once again been active in the transfer market in a bid to re-shape his squad. Simeon Maye and Tristian Dunkley had left the club on loan to get valuable game time, with new signings Spencer Weir-Daley from Kettering and Stuart McNaught from Sutton Coldfield Town replacing the pair in the ever-expanding squad


Warrington arrived at Keys Park just behind the Pitmen in the league table, after an impressive start to life at step three level for the Yellows. New man at the helm Paul Carden had continued the good work started by previous managers Stuart Mellish, Lee Smith and previous to them Shaun Reid. Warrington had won their past two league games, convincingly beating Frickley 3-0 and defeating Sutton Coldfield Town 2-1 the previous week to leave the Yellows in sixth place in the league table ahead of today's clash


A murky, overcast afternoon at Keys Park, with the pitch heavy after on-off rain all week, started well for the Pitmen, who created a great opening in the fifth minute; a great cross from Jamie Sheldon on the right found new boy Weir-Daley, who fired wide with a first time shot at the near post as he beat James McCarten to the ball


Warrington's response was swift, with Samuel Ilesamni rattling the Hednesford crossbar just a minute later as he headed a deep cross from Mitchell Duggan onto the woodwork. In the mass scramble to force the ball home, Danny Hattersley's rebound was forced away by Gavin Caines with Dan Crane still getting to his feet from the initial shot from Ilesamni

Neat midfield play from the hosts in the eleventh minute saw Eddie Toner pick the ball up down the right flank and send over a cross to Hattersley, who was denied a clear header at goal by a late intervention from Caines


The visitors set up as many had done at Keys Park this term - big, strong and difficult to play through - but were also adept at delivering set-pieces. On nineteen minutes, a clever free kick down the left saw Toner send over a drifting cross/shot that fell on the top of Dan Crane's net


Neat play from Warrington midway through the half saw Lewis Codling make his way forwards, slipping the ball into the path of Ilesamni. His subsequent cross was inches away from the boot of Scott Harries, who would have had the simple task of tapping home at the far post


Tony Clarke was making himself a nuisance of himself against the tall, powerful Warrington defence, forcing Daniel Ventre into a late clearance on twenty-six minutes after he had forced his way to the byeline

A quick piece of thinking from skipper Tom Thorley on the half hour mark saw the midfield man play a slide-rule pass into the Warrington penalty area with a quickly-taken free-kick to find Weir-Daley, whose forst-time shot was blocked by a recovering Ventre


The tricky Ilesamni was causing the Pitmen problems with his movement up front for the away side, with the striker firing just over the crossbar on thirty-three minutes after being fed by Harries


Crane made the first of a clutch of fine saves this afternoon on thirty-six minutes, making a brilliant one handed save to his left to deny Rory McKeown after the Warrington man had broken through he flimsy-looking offside trap to get on the end of a pass from Toner


A superb last-ditch challenge from Calum Flanagan on thirty-nine minutes denied Ilesamni a clear run in on goal after a goal kick found it's way all the way through to the striker in behind the Hednesford defence and into the feet of the Tranemere Rovers loanee


This was to prove a crucial moment in the game, as with the next attack the Pitmen were awarded a penalty on forty-two minutes. David McDermott's trickery was too much for Codling, who tripped the winger inches inside the penalty area. Ashley Sammons stepped up and fired into the net from the resultant kick, via a deflection from goalkeeper Anthony McMillan


There was further bad news for Warrington on the cusp of half time, as Duggan was shown a straight red card for a very high and very late challenge on Clarke that left the striker floored out on the left-wing. Av deserving red card to the player, who can have no complaints about the referee's decision

This late goal at the very end of the first half will have changed both manager's half-time team talks, with the Pitmen perhaps a little fortunate to be ahead after being second best for much of the first period


 At the start of the second half, neat build-up play from the Pitmen on forty-seven minutes saw the ball fed to Sammons whose long-range effort was turned away by McMillan for a corner

The hosts continued to press through Clarke's wayward header from a McDermott cross on fifty-two minutes, followed two minutes later by a weak Thorley effort that was easily fielded by McMillan 


Both sides traded substitutions as the game reached the hour mark without further incident; Jamie Matthews came on for McDermott out wide, with Sheldon changing position slightly to accommodate Matthews' introduction


Thorley's deep corner kick on sixty-one minutes was met firmly by the head of former Rushall Olympic centre-back Caines, whose effort cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches


Warrington hit the woodwork for the second time in the afternoon on sixty-three minutes, as a curling shot from Gerard Kinsella came back off the post, before Dan Brenan did well to divert Craig Robinson's rebound wide for a corner


With nineteen minutes remaining, McNaught was handed his Hednesford debut as he came on for Clarke thus moving Matthews into a centre-forward position


A Sammons corner kick on seventy-four minutes found the head of Caines once more, but once again the experienced centre-back was off target with his header that skipped wide of goal


A great run from Harries on seventy-eight minutes saw him pick out Warrington substitute Scott Metcalfe, but got his shot all wrong as he blazed high over the crossbar from a promising position fifteen yards from Crane's goal


Another long-range effort from Sammons tested McMillan on eighty-one minutes, with the keeper doing well to hold the ball on an increasingly greasy, wet surface as the rain fell heavily once more on the Keys Park pitch


With three minutes of the game remaining, Reece Leek came on for Weir-Daley to add to the numbers in midfield as ten-man Warrington looked for a strong finish to the game and an equaliser to take a point back to Canteliver Park


Adam Carden - on as a half time substitute - was to have Warrington's best chance in added time, but his cross-cum-shot comes to nothing as the Pitmen were able to see out the four minutes of added time with relative ease after another strong display of discipline in defence


So, it's looking a lot better for the Pitmen seven days on from their win over Workington, with two clean sheets in the bag and six points won. Casey will be pleased with the defensive solidity of his side in the past two games and the quality of their work against two of the more attacking sides in the Evo-Stik Premier League Another mid-table side offer a pre-Christmas challenge to the Pitmen's progress next weekend when Casey's team make the trip to Grantham Town looking for some festive cheer ahead of their Christmas programme


Hednesford Town:  Crane, Rowley , Flanagan, Thorley © , Brenan, Caines, Sheldon , Sammons, Clarke (McNaught 71), Weir-Daley (Leek 87), McDermott (Matthews 60)        Subs Unused: Mutton, Shearer


Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan  (45), McKeown, Ventre, Robinson, McCarten, Codling (Carden 45), Toner (Kinsella 58), Hattersley, Ilesamni (Metcalfe 77), Harries      Subs Unused: Shaw, Kilheeney