15.9.2018

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Archer (53), Davies (65) (penalty)

Workington

(0) 2

.

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

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Stefan Galinski

 

L W L W W L W L W

 

Rugby Town (A) 22.9.18

The Pitmen finally chalk up their first three points at home this season today as they ease to a win over Workington at Keys Park courtesy of a second-half double from Lewis Archer and Jed Davies

 

Hednesford's Jekyll and Hyde campaign was best summed up by the last seven days' activity - a fine 2-0 win over Tamworth in the F.A. Cup last weekend, followed up by a poor display to lose at Mickleover Sports in midweek. Manager Rob Smith was shorn of three key defensive options ahead of the game, with Callam Mendez-Jones, Charlie Gatter and Matt Curley all ruled out due to injury. On the plus side, Smith could call upon Jed Davies once more after the playmaker had pulled up just before the start of the game at Mickleover. Left midfielder Charley Edge was also passed fit to take his place amongst the substitutes, whilst Josh Craddock was restored to the side after missing out in midweek. On-loan keeper Josef Bursik had returned to the club this week having started for England U19s in their 4-1 win over Holland last week

 

Workington - play-off semi-finalists last term - had had a very mixed start to the new campaign, languishing in seventeenth place at the start of play. The Reds had enjoyed a brief break from league action with progress in the F.A. Cup in midweek, beating Newcastle Benfield 5-3 in their first qualifying round replay to set up a home tie with Prescot Cables next weekend. Joint Managers Lee Andrews and Dave Hewson brought Jason Walker back into the side at the expense of Samuel Joel and handed a debut to Carlisle youngster Kieran Olsen for Lewis Tidy in two changes to the side that had triumphed in midweek

 

In truth, the first half was about as uneventful as any first half you will experience anywhere, with neither willing or able to create many clear-cut openings in what was a very poor forty-five minutes of football. Workington edged it on efforts, creating the first half-chance on ten minutes as a Conor Tinnion corner was headed wide of the post by defender Matty Douglas

 

The prolific former Barrow striker Walker - an F.A.Trophy winner in 2010 and former England 'C' man - wasted a good chance to open the scoring four minutes later as Douglas's through ball played Walker clear of the Hednesford defender. Under pressure from Sam Griffiths, Walker elected to take the shot early but fluffed his chance wide from twenty yards out

 

Bursik was called upon to make an easy save on twenty minutes, making a regulation stop low down to field a bobbling effort from Tinnion on the edge of the penalty area

 

Walker was the first player to end up with his name in the book midway through the half, catching Stefan Galinski with his arm as the pair challenged for the ball to earn himself a yellow card for his actions

 

Fox - playing in an unfamiliar right-back role following the injuries to Curley and Mendez-Jones - made a bold run forward on twenty-eight minutes, driving his low shot well wide of goal. A sad reflection on the Pitmen's opening quarter of the game that it had been their best chance so far

 

Bursik was again equal to the Workington threat on thirty-five minutes, making a fine low stop to deny Tinnion at his near post after neat play from Olsen and Josh Walker had opened up the Hednesford defence

 

Jamie Mellen did well to create a half-chance for the visitors on thirty-eight minutes, rescuing a lost cause on the right following a Tinnion corner that was partially cleared by the Pitmen and sending over a cross that was headed wide by Daniel Wordsworth

 

With half-time looming, Bursik made two more saves to ensure the Pitmen remained on level terms, firstly making an easy save to deny Douglas, then blocking an Allison shot after the striker had sidestepped Griffiths and got his shot away

 

It had been a poor, poor game of football, with the Hednesford supporters unimpressed with what they had seen from their side, who had offered little-to-nothing going forward

 

Fortunately for the hosts and their fans, half-time was a blessing to them as Smith sent his troops out with ore purpose int he second half, with immediate results. Dan Cockerline - again struggling with the presence of a tough, uncompromising backline - got a shot away on forty-eight minutes that as saved by Aaran Taylor in the Workington goal, before Wordsworth did well to block a follow-up shot

 

The follow-up corner from Joe Fitzpatrick was not cleared effectively by the visitors, allowing Davies to seize upon the loose ball and feed it to Craddock; his powerful drive from just inside the penalty area stung the hands of Taylor, with Cockerline dithering on the rebound and allowing covering defenders to block the ball as he shaped to shoot

 

It was all Hednesford at this point, as the hosts attacked at will as they sensed a goal. Craddock again wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring on fifty minutes, as he miscued Fox's superb cross away from goal, rather than head into the net. Archer followed up and saw his side-footed effort saved by Taylor

 

Craddock again found himself in a great position two minutes later, electing to try his luck with a shot from the edge of the penalty area with the side of his boot after Douglas headed the ball into his path. Craddock's shot lacked power, however, and Taylor made a comfortable save to his left

 

The Pitmen finally got the goal their second-half efforts deserved on fifty-three minutes, as the first move of any quality from the home side opened up the Workington defence. Cockerline's fine ball to Dodd was flicked into the path of Davies, who returned it to Dodd. With Workington stretched by the swift nature of the Pitmen's play, Dodd clipped the ball to the far post and found Archer, who slid the ball home with a low first-time shot beyond Taylor for his second goal of the season

 

Workington responded through Tinnion two minutes later, who did well to control Mellen's cross inside the penalty area, twisting and turning before firing into the side-netting from a tight angle

 

Taylor had to be alert to deny the Pitmen a second goal on fifty-seven minutes, smothering the ball at Dodd's feet after the winger had sized upon a short backpass from Olsen to force the keeper into diving onto the ball

 

The game was now a far better spectacle, with Workington now having to come out of their shell if they were to rescue at least a point. Tinnion fired just wide of goal on fifty-eight minutes, drilling his effort inches past Bursik's right-hand post

 

Davies's inswinging free-kick earned the Pitmen a great chance to double their lead on sixty-five minutes, as the midfielder's deep ball was handled in the penalty area by Rowntree as he challenged Cockerline. The referee had a great view of the play and immediately awarded the home side a penalty kick, with Rowntree and his team-mates offering no competition

 

Penalty taker Davies stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot-kick, driving the ball into the left-hand corner of the net to double the Pitmen's lead, despite Taylor's best attempts to get his hand of the shot

 

Workington were still working hard in an attempt to get back into the game despite the scoreline, with Walker forced Bursik into another fine save down by his left-hand post a minute later after Jordan Holt had headed the ball into his path

 

Hednesford made a double change on sixty-eight minutes in an attempt to protect their two-goal advantage, with Jermain Hollis replacing Fitzpatrick in midfield and Edge coming on to play down the left wing in place of goalscorer Archer

 

Craddock was destined not to find the net this afternoon, despite getting into plenty of good positions in the second half. His final effort of the half came on seventy minutes, driving the ball goalwards after Cockerline had played him in but finding Taylor in the way once again

 

The Pitmen's final substitution came on seventy-three minutes with the introduction of Reece King, who came on in the centre of midfield to replace the tiring Craddock

 

The final twenty minutes turned into a training game of sorts, as Workington appeared to accept their fate and the Pitmen eased themselves through the final moments. Douglas headed the ball onto the roof of the net with three minutes to go with the Reds' final effort on target, but Galinski and co. at the back earned themselves their first clean sheet in the Evo-Stik Premier League this term with excellent game management in the latter stages

 

A first home win, no goals conceded and up into the top ten once more for the Pitmen, who will be pleased with the win but less impressed with the overall performance. Next weekend sees a return to F.A.Cup action, with Hednesford facing United Counties League side Rugby Town in the second qualifying round looking to move into the third qualifying round and earn themselves £9,000 in the process

Hednesford Town: Bursik, Fox, Grimshaw, Griffiths, Galinski ©, Craddock (King 73), Fitzpatrick (Hollis 68), Archer (Edge 68), Cockerline, Davies, Dodd    Subs Unused: Howard, Veiga

 

Workington: Taylor, Olsen , Rowntree ©, Wordsworth, Douglas, Mellen, Maguire  (Joel 64), Holt, Allison, Walker , Tinnion    Subs Unused: Casson, Hubbold, Brown, Tidy

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