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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Worksop Town

Hudson (55) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

(0) 1

(0) 0



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Ben Bailey


Chasetown (H) 26.12.11

Hednesford blew a fantastic opportunity to go into the Christmas period joint top of the table, as in-form Worksop come out on top in this Evo-Stik encounter

The Tigers had been arguably the league's form team in recent weeks, storming up the table and beating Blue Square Premier side Tamworth in the F.A. Trophy last week. the Pitmen's 2011 away campaign was certainly going to end with a stern test

Following the 6-1 hammering of Mickleover last week, changes were kept to a minimum by manager Rob Smith. Goalkeeper Dan Crane returned to the side after his one-match suspension, with stand-in Tony Breeden returning to parent club Kidderminster Harriers. Teenager Lewis Suckling was given another chance to impress after being named amongst the substitutes

The newfound confidence Worksop had found in recent games was in evidence at the start, as they knocked the ball around with confidence in the early stages of the game. Midfielder Luke Sharry went close to opening the scoring with the first chance of the game, firing wide of goal when well placed

Pedro Monteiro forced Jon Worsnop in the Worksop goal into a good save on eight minutes, heading weakly towards goal after a good move involving Jamey Osborne and Chris Clements

 A minute later, Mark Danks raced onto a Gary Hay flick-on and forced Worsnop into a fine save, only to be denied by a late offside flag

Ben Bailey - impressive in recent games since returning to the side - played a great ball into Danks on fifteen minutes, with the little striker again testing Worsnop's reflexes with a low drive towards goal

Elliott Durrell was wasteful with his effort on eighteen minutes, lifting his shot high over the crossbar after Clements had found him with a free-kick

Worksop's Jamie Jackson was causing the Pitmen's defence problems with his pace and movement, forcing Crane into a save with a deflected shot midway through the half

Cheyenne Dunkley failed to add to his goal tally for the season on twenty-three minutes, heading a Clements cross narrowly over the crossbar

After Monteiro had headed straight at Worsnop on the half-hour mark, the hosts went closest to breaking the deadlock as a break down the left saw Ashley Bearbury play in Chris Wood; his miscued cross sailed towards goal, only for Darren Campion to hack the ball off the line and away

 After Durrell had wasted another opportunity from range, Osborne was presented with a great chance to send the Pitmen into the break ahead. James Cotterill failed to deal with a bouncing ball, allowing Osborne to pick up possession on the edge of the Worksop penalty area. However, he dragged his shot wide of goal when it seemed easier to hit the target

Jackson was to have the last word in the half, beating Monteiro for pace on the left-hand side of the area before dangerously firing across the face of goal

The second half started as a scrappy affair, with both sides struggling to match the pace of the first half. Danks should have given the Pitmen the lead four minutes after the restart, scampering through the Worksop defence and taking the ball around the dive of Worsnop. However, at the crucial moment, Danks lost his footing and allowed the Worksop defence to get back and clear the ball

This was to prove costly, as the Tigers took the lead in controversial circumstances on fifty-five minutes. Jackson's pace took him into the area on the left-wing, coming up against the challenge of Campion. After initially putting his leg out to make a tackle, Campion thought better of it and pulled out, only for Jackson to take a tumble over the now non-existent challenge. The referee seemed unimpressed and continued with the game, only for the assistant referee on that side to raise his flag. After a lengthy discussion, the referee awarded Worksop a penalty kick, much to the amazement of the Hednesford players and supporters. After lengthy protests, Mark Hudson finally put the ball on the spot and sent Crane the wrong way

Stung into action, the Pitmen pressed in search of an equaliser immediately, and Durrell forced Worsnop into a fingertip save with a fierce drive five minutes later. However, the match officials further infuriated the Hednesford contingent by awarding a goal kick when it was clear to anyone in the ground that the Worksop keeper had turned the ball away from goal

Jackson looked to take advantage of the Pitmen's pressing by making runs into the space being created behind the away side's defence, and he pulled a low shot wide of goal four minutes later when well placed to test Crane

Luke Shiels looked to have put the game out of Hednesford's reach twenty minutes from time, heading Hudson's inswinging corner inches wide of the far post

Frustrated by his side's lack of penetration up front, Smith introduced youngsters Suckling and Andre Landell in place of Danks and Durrell respectively

Suckling was straight into the action, using his pace to stretch the Worksop defence. He very nearly made his way through on seventy-nine minutes, but a last-ditch tackle from Wood denied the sixteen-year-old a run in on goal

Osborne's clever lob almost put the Pitmen on level terms with eight minutes remaining, but Worsnop watched the ball over the crossbar. Ben Jevons was also introduced in place of Jay Denny in the final roll of the dice by Smith

His impact was immediate, as with his first touch forced Worsnop into a fantastic save, heading Hay's cross goalwards from six yards out but forcing Worksop's man of the match into a brilliant match-winning stop

Landell also thought he had rescued a point for the Pitmen two minutes from time, firing narrowly wide of goal after Jevons had headed the ball into the striker's path

Worksop moved into the top half with this win, leaving the Pitmen to pick themselves up ahead of the big Boxing Day derby against Chasetown. To make matters worse, news of wins for Chester and Northwich Victoria filtered through to the Hednesford faithful at the final whistle thus moved them away from the Pitmen at the top of the table by three points

Worksop Town: Worsnop, Gardner, Wood , Young (Roberts 85), Shiels, Cotterill © , Burbeary (King 77), Hudson, Jackson, Sharry, Warlow (McDonald 71)       Subs Unused: Jacklin, Wilson

Hednesford Town: Crane, Bailey, Campion © , Dunkley, Monteiro, Denny (Jevons 81), Osborne, Clements, Danks (Landell 71), Hay, Durrell (Suckling 71)       Subs Unused: Shaw, Quinn

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