1.9.2018

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Whitby Town

Parnaby (83)

Hednesford Town

Cockerline (29), Archer (76)

(0) 1

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(1) 2

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

318

Matt Curley

L W L W W

 

Stafford Rangers (H) 4.9.18

The Pitmen maintain their 100% away record in the league this afternoon, as they earn themselves an impressive three points at Whitby Town to move up to fourth place in the Evo-Stik Premier League

 

High in confidence following Monday's win at Farsley Celtic, Rob Smith's Hednesford side arrived back in Yorkshire with a new face in the ranks, having snapped up highly-regarded Rushall Olympic youngster Lewis Archer in midweek from their local rivals after allowing Romario Martin to leave the club. As expected, Smith kept faith in the same side that had started at Farsley, with Sam Griffiths passed fit to take his place amongst the substitutes after pulling up in the warm-up at Throstle Nest

 

Whitby's began proceedings in fifth place in the table, having won two, drawn one and lost one of their first four games. Bank Holiday Monday had seen Chris Hardy's men come away from local rivals Scarborough Athletic with a 1-1 draw, adding to wins over Buxton and North Ferriby United to put them in a strong early position in the league table ahead of kick-off

 

A beautiful, warm day in North Yorkshire was the backdrop to an exciting game, as both clubs threw caution to the wind and went looking for the points from the off. The Pitmen registered the first effort of any note in the fifth minute of the game, as defender Callam Mendez-Jones volleyed the ball just wide of the left-hand post after Whitby had failed to clear their lines

 

The on-loan Michael Howard - winner of the August player of the month after an impressive spell for his new club - somehow failed to open the scoring on two separate occasions on nine minutes. A deep, swinging cross from Mendez-Jones found the Preston forward, who somehow failed to turn the ball home at the far post as his touch eluded him at the crucial moment. The Pitmen recycled the ball and Nathan Fox swung the ball back in to Howard, who found himself unmarked at the far post; his header towards goal lacked power however, and allowed Whitby keeper Jack Norton to make a fine stop low to his left-hand side

 

Whitby responded with a great chance of their own in the eighteenth minute, as Greg Rutherford broke clear of the Hednesford defence and fired goalwards, only to be denied on the goal line by a superb last-ditch block from Stefan Galinski

 

Three minutes later the imperious Matt Curley played Jed Davies through with a clever pass; however, the playmaker scuffing his long-range effort straight into the arms of Norton

 

Whitby's Junior Mondal was well wide of the target on twenty-four minutes, driving wide of goal after the ball had made it's way back to him after his initial corner was only partially cleared by the Hednesford defence

 

The Pitmen got their noses in front just before the half-hour mark, as Cockerline finally notched that all-important first goal of the season. Good play from Davies saw him slip the ball into the path of Howard who in turn swung in a deep, swerving cross towards the big striker. Cockerline did well to hold off the attentions of Whitby defender Kieran Weledji and poke the ball past Norton from close-range

 

Whitby's response to going behind saw them win three successive corner kicks as well as two questionable free-kicks, which were impressively dealt with by the growing presence of Josef Bursik in the Hednesford goal

 

Cockerline's confidence was underlined on forty-four minutes, as he went on a mazy run past three players before being dispossessed on the edge of the penalty area. The ball found it's way to Davies, whose cross was turned wide by the impressive Jermain Hollis

 

Half-time saw the Pitmen making a defensive change, as skipper Galinski was brought off and replaced by Griffiths, who slotted in on the right side of defence in an unfamiliar central role for the full-back

 

Despite Whitby coming out strongly at the start of the second half, it was the Pitmen who had the first opening of the period through Davies as he picked up Howard's ball and looped a shot over the head of Norton from the edge of the penalty area but just over the crossbar

 

 A bout of handbags ensued in midfield after a clash between Hollis and Mondal on fifty-five minutes, with Davies somehow coming off worst from the scuffle with a yellow card for his part

 

Davies - growing into his role as a major influence in the team - tested the reflexes of Norton once again on the hour mark, driving in a shot from twenty yards out that was easily fielded by the Whitby number one

 

Archer was handed his Hednesford debut on sixty-seven minutes, with the youngster brought on up front in place of Howard, who had had another fine game running the channels up front for the Pitmen

 

The debutant was straight into the action just two minutes later, doing brilliantly to outmuscle fellow substitute Josh Nearney just seconds after he had come on and win the ball back. After cutting inside and holding off Nearney, Archer got his angles all wrong and unleashed a shot that flew well wide of goal

 

There were vague cries for a penalty for the hosts on seventy-two minutes, as Charlie Gatter and Bursik left a through ball to each other, culminating in a challenge on Dominic Furness by Bursik which was deemed legal. Play continued despite the calls, with Mendez-Jones turning Nearney's cross away from goal at the near post for a corner kick. From the resultant corner, Weledji headed wide of the far post with a glancing header

 

Whitby continued to press for an equaliser, pressing the Hednesford defence with a string of set-pieces. However, following a Whitby free-kick that was cleared by the Pitmen, the visitors grabbed the all-important second goal on seventy-six minutes - and in quite spectacular style too. Gatter headed an Adam Gell cross away, with Archer dropping deep to pick the ball up twenty yards inside his own half. The youngster showed a breathtaking turn of pace to motor past Daniel McWilliams as he took the ball down the left touchline. With little other option in the centre, Archer cut inside after leaving McWilliams in his wake, outpacing Gell and cheekily turning the ball past Norton from a tight angle with the outside of his boot. Another great, great goal to add to the two already witnessed this season (Howard v Basford, Davies v Farsley)

 

In an attempt to shut the game down, Smith made his final change of the afternoon a minute later, bringing on the defensive-minded Josh Craddock in place of the tiring Davies, who is still working his way back to full fitness

 

However, Whitby were not done just yet, and gave themselves a way back into the game with a goal of their own on eighty-three minutes; a deep, drifting cross from Gell seemed to catch the Pitmen out, allowing substitute Kieron Parnaby to head home at the far post unchallenged

 

The game seemed to shift back towards Whitby at this point, as they laid siege to the Hednesford goal in the final minutes in search of a leveller. With four minutes remaining, a cross from Mondal found the head of Weledji, who could only glance the ball straight into the grateful arms of Bursik

 

A minute later, the same two players were involved once more, as Weledji was denied by a brave stop from the young keeper at his feet as he raced onto a through ball over the top of the Hednesford defence

 

More confident fielding from Bursik was enough to see the Pitmen over the line in added time, in a game that they fully deserved the three points to take back to Staffordshire. The tough, high-profile games continue to come thick and fast for Smith's troops, as they look to address their Dr. Jekyll away form against their Mr. Hyde home form when they face their old foes from across the Chase on Tuesday night at Keys Park before another local rival in the form of Tamworth make the trip down the A5 on Saturday in the F.A. Cup

 

Whitby Town: Norton, McWilliams, Gell , Monkhouse, Weledji, Sukar, Hopson ©, Mondal (Parnaby 58), Rutherford (Nearney 69), Wilson (Furness 58)   Subs Unused: Dixon, Vaulks

 

Hednesford Town: Bursik, Mendez-Jones, Fitzpatrick, Hollis, Galinski ©  (Griffiths 45), Gatter, Howard (Archer 67), Curley, Cockerline , Davies  (Craddock 77), Fox   Subs Unused: Dodd, Grimshaw

 

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