7.10.2017

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Weir (78)

Witton Albion

(0) 1

.

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

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457

Reece King

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Halesowen Town (A) 10.10.17

Tyler Weir's late strike continues the Pitmen's forwards momentum at Keys Park this afternoon, as Rob Smith's side won their third game on the spin to move themselves into the top half of the league table in the process

 

Buoyed by an excellent win in midweek over Matlock Town, Smith was able to introduce three new faces into his threadbare squad ahead of the game, with Mansfield Town duo Lewis Collins and Jordan Graham joining the returning Joey Butlin in the matchday squad

 

Witton's great start to the season had dissipated somewhat in recent games, with Carl Macauley's side dropping from the top spot after a run of four winless games. Macauley had spent the summer putting together an experienced squad following promotion back to step three, calling on the likes of Rob Hopley, Will Jones and Chris Noone from his ranks in a bid to make Albion competitive at this level once more

 

Reverting to a 5-3-2 formation, Witton started the game well, with Hopley firing wide of goal in the second minute after Anthony Gardner's long throw was headed on by Nick Ryan

 

Jim Mutton was on hand to deny Steve Tames a clear shot on goal in the tenth minute, blocking the striker's shot after Tom Owens had set up the former Stalybridge man

 

The busy Edji Mbunga - looking to pick up where he left off against Matlock - got in behind the Witton defence two minutes later, but his shot lacked power and was easily fielded by Witton keeper Calvin Hare

 

After Tames had had a goal disallowed for an earlier offside, Mutton made another superb block to deny Hopley a clear shot at goal on twenty-two minutes

 

The Pitmen were struggling to create clear-cut chances of their own, with Danny Glover's only contribution to the first half a booking for a late challenge on the half hour mark

 

James Wren had been in superb form for the Pitmen in recent weeks, with the Hednesford stopper palming away a shot from Tames on forty minutes to add to his goal-saving antics in recent games

 

Mutton went closest to scoring for the Pitmen in the final minute of the first half, forcing Hare into a good save with a driven shot, following Ben Bailey's long throw

 

The Pitmen showed more drive and determination at the start of the second half, with skipper Tom Thorley at the heart of the team's attacking intent. On forty-seven minutes, a long throw from Bailey found Thorley, whose rising shot cleared the crossbar from eighteen yards out

 

Four minutes later, it was Thorley again that was presented with the chance after a flowing move from the Pitmen found the midfielder, whose low drive was turned away by Hare

 

The excellent Reece King - playing well in the defensive midfield role that had proved problematic for the Pitmen this term - blotted his copybook somewhat on fifty-three minutes by picking up a yellow card for a flailing arm

 

Debutant Collins - slotting into a central midfield role - shanked his first effort for the Pitmen well wide of goal on fifty-five minutes after he seized upon another long throw from Bailey

 

The Pitmen were growing in confidence as the half wore on, and went agonisingly close to opening the scoring on the hour mark; a Thorley corner was headed up in the air and fell to Mbunga, whose header was cleared off the line by Jones

 

Thorley again went close to opening the team's account for the afternoon on sixty-one minutes, as his neat cut inside and fired in an angled drive that Hare saved well

 

Collins' game came to an end at this point, as he was taken off in place of his Mansfield colleague Graham

 

Top scorer Glover wasted a good chance to end his mini-drought on sixty-five minutes, firing over the bar after Mutton had headed the ball into his path following yet another long throw from Bailey

 

Sam Oji was forced off the pitch on seventy-one minutes after the big centre-back had over-stretched to clear a ball. Clutching his hamstring, Oji made his way off and was replaced by Joe Fitzpatrick

 

The Pitmen made their final change of the afternoon on seventy-four minutes, with Butlin coming on in place of the luckless Mbunga up front

 

Graham's first real contribution to the game came on seventy-six minutes, with the winger firing on a shot that came crashing off the post and back into play, via a deflection off a Witton defender

 

With twelve minutes remaining, the one genuine moment of quality from either side settled the game as a contest, as a great flowing piece of play from the Pitmen aw Graham feed Thorley, whose inch-perfect lay-off found Tyler Weir, who had gambled and made a run into the penalty area. without breaking stride, the left back calmly slotted past Hare with a first-time shot

 

Witton threw everything at the Pitmen in the final ten minutes, but, as befitting a side without a goal in over four hours of play, luck was not on their side as the Pitmen held firm. James Foley went closest to levelling matters in the final minute of the game, but his cross-shot was deflected wide of Wren's goal

 

Another win, and another clean sheet, that lifts the Pitmen up into eleventh place in the Evo-Stik League Premier table. Bottom side Halesowen Town are next up on Tuesday night, although the Yeltz will no doubt be tough opponents after they upset the odds this afternoon by beating local rivals Stourbridge in the No. 9 derby

 

Hednesford Town: Wren, Melbourne , Weir, Bailey , Mutton, Oji (Fitzpatrick 71), King , Thorley ©, Glover , Mbunga (Butlin 74), Collins (Graham 61)     Subs Unused: Steele, Veiga

 

Witton Albion: Hare, Gardner, McKenna (Devine 57), Wilson, Brown , Ryan (Jones 50), Foley, Owens, Hopley, Tames (Haywood 67), Williams      Subs Unused: Hedley, Reid

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