3.11.2012

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Whitby Town

Hednesford Town

Woolfe (18), Osborne (63)

(0) 0

(1) 2

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Sam Barnes

W D L L D W W W W W

Romulus (A) 11.11.12

The Pitmen completed an excellent week on the pitch with a fifth win in a row at Whitby Town to move up to second place in the Evo-Stik Premier League

Following Tuesday's impressive win over fellow promotion chasers Marine, Hednesford gaffer Rob Smith made the rare decision to stick with his starting XI. Club skipper Dave MacPherson returning from suspension to take his place amongst the substitutes on a strong-looking bench

Whitby came into the game off the back of an impressive recent run of four wins from five games, having made a difficult start to the campaign. A man central to their recent upturn in form, top scorer Nathan Mulligan, was missing due to suspension

Sam Barnes set a precedent for the game after just two minutes, making the first of a number of excellent last-ditch tackles to stop Steve Snaith from getting a clear run in on goal

After making a great goalscoring start to the season, winger Nathan Woolfe had gone seven games without a goal for the Pitmen. He tried his luck with a swerving free-kick on eight minutes after Jamey Osborne was fouled twenty-five yards out. However, his venomous free-kick touched the top of the crossbar as it flew narrowly over

Good link-up play between Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey saw the former Marine men exchange passes on sixteen minutes, with Rey playing the ball into Harvey. However, the big striker got his shot all wrong and skewed it wide of the post from ten yards out

Two minutes later, the Pitmen did take the lead, although there was initially some confusion as to whether they had or not. John Disney fired the ball across goal, beating Whitby keeper Nick Liversedge in the process. Woolfe was on hand to divert the ball goalwards, with a covering Whitby defender hacking the ball away from goal. The ball looked a good yard over the line, and after waiting for a reaction from his assistant on the far side, the referee eventually awarded the goal

Whitby's best chance of getting into the game seemed to be limited to set-pieces, as two corner kicks tested the Hednesford defence. Dan Crane was equal to the first ball, with Barnes commanding in the air to head the second one clear

Midway through the half, Elliott Durrell should have added to his considerable goal haul for the season with a great opportunity. Neat build-up play saw Harvey slip the ball square to Durrell, who chose to shoot from the edge of the area rather than play Rey in, who was unmarked to his right. His low, swerving effort looked destined for the bottom corner of the net, but an excellent diving stop from Liversedge turned the ball away for a corner kick

Snaith went close to putting Whitby back on level terms on twenty-six minutes, firing wide of Crane's goal after a quick break caught the Hednesford defence napping

Three minutes later, another outstanding stop from Barnes denied Jordan Hugill a shot on goal, as the big centre back slid in to take the ball off the toe of the Whitby striker as he shaped to shoot

Another Harvey - Durrell link-up saw Hednesford's top scorer test Liversedge again on thirty-four minutes, this time at a more comfortable height for the giant keeper who turned it away for a corner. the resultant kick eventually fell to Osborne, but his weak header was well wide of goal at the far post

Snaith and Hugill, both working hard to compensate for the loss of Mulligan, were presented with a real chance from a Mark Robinson cross five minutes before the break, but both strikers failed to get their heads to a wicked cross from the Whitby left-back

Added time at the end of the half saw midfielder Shane Henry get a free header in at the Hednesford goal from a corner kick, but Darren Campion was alert to head the ball away from danger

A corner kick from Durrell early in the second half gave Whitby a real headache, as Barnes came forward to meet the ball. He lost the flight of the ball on the way down however and fired wide of goal after trying to get his bearings again

Another wasted opportunity befell Durrell on fifty-five minutes, as he took a free-kick out on the right-hand side, but drifted the ball over the heads of Harvey, Rey and Ben Bailey at the far post

The Pitmen got a firm grip on the game just after the hour mark, grabbing a killer second goal to give Whitby a mountain to climb. Woolfe's brilliant, incisive through ball played Osborne in on the left-hand side goal, with the midfielder scoring his second goal of the week with a low drive past Liversedge

The second goal enabled the Pitmen the luxury of making a couple of changes to rest players, with MacPherson coming on for Alex Melbourne and Michael Lennon replacing Harvey

Hednesford were now free to play with a bit of expression having a two-goal cushion. Another flowing move from the midfield played Rey in on goal, but Liversedge went down low to make two smothering stops to deny the striker

Lennon's first action in the game almost got him the goal he craves the most, as he broke clear of a Whitby back line that had pushed up. It looked as though the former Nantwich man had taken the ball past the diving Liversedge, but a last-ditch outstretched hand saw the Whitby stopper claw the ball back from the feet of Lennon as he looked to slot into the empty net

Whitby simply had no answer to the waves of Hednesford pressure, as the Pitmen attacked at will in search of more goals. A Woolfe corner on seventy-eight minutes was headed goalwards by Rey, only for Robinson to head the ball off the line as he stood on the far post

This was to be Rey's final involvement in the game, as he was replaced by Luke Bottomer with nine minutes remaining

Five minutes later, another excellent delivery from Woolfe from the right saw Bailey sneak in at the back post and toe-poke the ball inches wide of the post

The final minute of the game saw Bottomer presented with a chance to open his account for the Pitmen after his recent move, but he failed to get his shot away from close range. The ball fell to Durrell on the edge of the area and rather than elect to shoot, he tried to tee up Lennon and only succeeded in playing the ball behind the striker

All in all, a very competent and satisfying performance from the Pitmen, who move to within four points of early league leaders North Ferriby United. They take a break from league action next weekend with a short trip to Romulus in the next round of the F.A. Trophy

Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson ©, White (Tait 73), James, McTiernan, Portas, Henry, Snaith, Hugill (Armstrong 59), Corker      Subs Unused: Williams, Burgess, Campbell

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion ©, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (MacPherson 66), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (Lennon 69), Rey (Bottomer 81), Woolfe      Subs Unused: Francis, O’Connor

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