Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Logan (82)

Whitby Town

Blythway (90)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Tom Thorley


Halesowen Town (A) 29.8.16

IIt's successive frustrating home draws for Hednesford Town this afternoon, as a late, late goal from Whitby's Luke Blythway earned unbeaten Whitby a point to take back north with them

Monday night's draw with Marine offered little in terms of any progress for Liam McDonald and his team, with the Hednesford manager adding to his squad this week with the signing of former Walsall defender Kyle Rowley. He lined up amongst the substitutes, with Tristian Dunkley returning to the starting XI after recovering from a hamstring injury in place of the suspended Jamie Matthews

Whitby had made an encouraging start to the season, beating Warrington Town on Tuesday night to move into sixth place in the table, just above the Pitmen in the table

 On a cool afternoon at Keys Park and in front of a disappointing sub-400 crowd, the returning Dunkley was to set the tone for the first half in the sixth minute, forcing Whitby keeper Shane Bland into an early save down low to his right as he unleashed a low effort from eighteen yards out after Ashley Sammons had played the ball to him

Whitby's best chance of the half came in the eighth minute, as Dale Hopson somehow headed over the crossbar from a goalscoring position after a cross in from the left-hand side

Bland was called upon a minute later to make another stop for the visitors, making a smart stop to claim a driven shot by Geddes after the attacking midfielder had found a pocket of space on the edge of the Whitby penalty area

The pacy Cohen Bramall was getting plenty of joy down the left for Hednesford, taking every opportunity to get forwards from left-back. A tricky run and cross on fourteen minutes saw Bramall's cross find George Carline, whose header was narrowly wide of goal

It was all Hednesford in the opening half-hour period, with Dunkley next to try his luck with a scuffed shot wide of the near post from twelve yards out in the eighteenth minute of the game

 Bland came to Whitby's rescue with a breathtaking save to deny Tom Thorley on twenty-seven minutes, making a brilliant stop at point-blank range to foil the Hednesford skipper after Thorley's initial looping header had been headed off the line and back into his path

 Carline should have done better with another header on thirty-seven minutes, heading weakly into the arms of Bland when he should have worked the Whitby stopper more from close range

Neat build-up play down the Hednesford left on forty minutes saw the ball worked across to Ashley Sammons, who crashed a long-range shot against Bland's right-hand post with his trademark powerful drive

Despite going closest to scoring in a dominant display, the Pitmen almost found themselves a goal down at the break as Hopson found himself in behind the Hednesford defence on forty-three minutes, only to be denied by a sliding stop by Crane just inside his penalty area

 A breathless first half ended with a quick Hednesford break and another effort from Sammons, whose rising shot from long range was turned over the crossbar by Bland

The second half kicked off in the midst of a torrential downpour, as a powerful weather front crossed the Midlands, prompting the Corby-Coalville game to be abandoned in the East Midlands. Sammons continued his one-man quest for a goal with another long-range effort that was deflected behind for a Hednesford corner on forty-eight minutes

Bramall was wasteful with a free kick in a positive position on fifty-three minutes, electing to lift his shot over the crossbar rather than clip the ball into the far post

More last-ditch defending from Whitby denied Dunkley and Sammons in quick succession on sixty-eight minutes, as the Pitmen started to get a little desperate in their approach as they searched for an opener

Two minutes later, James Mutton turned a Geddes corner into the net from eight yards out but was denied a first Hednesford goal by the referee's whistle for an earlier foul

A double change for the Pitmen on seventy-two minutes saw a step change for the home side as Gurjit Singh replaced Dunkley and Joel Logan came on in place of Sammons

Carline tried his luck with a deft effort on seventy-seven minutes, coming in from the left-hand side and curling a shot narrowly over the crossbar with. a rising effort from twenty yards out

The Pitmen finally broke Whitby's brave resistance on eighty-two minutes, with Logan justifying his inclusion with a first Hednesford goal. Carline was the orchestrator of the piece, not giving up on a bouncing ball before pulling it back from the goal line. Logan took two touches just inside the penalty area to set himself before firing home

The tricky Singh almost put the game to bed two minutes later, firing just wide of goal with a drive across the face after going on one of his typically mazy runs past two Whitby players

The real drama was reserved for the final few moments, as Whitby somehow rescued a point after a backs-to-the-wall display; on eighty-seven minutes, Matty Tymon drove a low shot across Dan Crane's goal, clipping the outside of the post in the process

As the game entered added time, the familiar defensive woes that have sadly become a highlight of recent seasons reared it's ugly head once more. Despite having two chances to hack the loose ball clear, the Pitmen allowed Whitby substitute Blythway to turn the ball home from close range to level matters once more

Another hugely frustrating ninety minutes for this Hednesford side, highlighting the good and bad of their game all in one performance. The lack of a genuine poacher in the side may be the undoing of a bright, vibrant attacking side who appear to have no-one capable to turn the many chances they create home. McDonald may have to be willing to compromise on his formation to win 'ugly' against sides in the NPL if the Pitmen are to sustain any sort of title challenge. Next up - a short trip to Halesowen Town on Bank Holiday Monday

Hednesford Town: Crane, Thompson, Bramall, Thorley ©, Mutton, Flanagan, Maye, Geddes, Dunkley (Singh 72), Sammons (Logan 72), Carline      Subs Unused: Ransome, Francis, Rowley

Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, Weledji, Poole, May, Gell (Round 46), Hopson (Roberts 83), Park (Bythway 75), Tymon, Snaith

Subs Unused: Hume, Dawson

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