Late Osborne Strike Sends Pitmen Joint Top
Hednesford Town’s astonishing run of form during 2011 continued apace on Saturday afternoon as early season favourites for the title, Chester FC, were sunk by a late goal from substitute Jamey Osborne.
The Pitmen have now won twenty-two league games out of a possible twenty-seven since the turn of the year and their faithful supporters haven’t tasted defeat at Keys Park since November 2010, save for Salisbury City on penalties in last season’s playoff final.
A hugely anticipated game proved that the attributes of hard work and persistence Rob Smith and Larry Chambers have instilled in their squad are very much alive and well as, despite not creating too many chances, The Pitmen players came off the pitch knowing they had given one-hundred per cent.
The winning goal came when it seemed to all the one thousand supporters inside Keys Park that both sides had settled for a scoreless draw, Danny Quinn ran with purpose at the defence, the ball fell to Chris Clements whose fierce shot was beaten away by John Danby and Osborn nipped in, did well to move the ball onto his right foot and placed his shot into the corner.
The goal settled a hard fought game where Chester showed flashes of why they are regarded so favourably by the bookmakers and other teams alike. Jerome Wright was a constant threat but due to stout defending and reliable goalkeeping the Cheshire side failed to trouble the scoreboard.
The closest they came was on sixty-six minutes when Dan Crane had to stretch to block a header by Matty McNeill and whenever Chester did break through Hednesford’s defensive barrier Crane performed with assured confidence.
The Pitmen battled throughout the game but failed to click too often in front of goal as their nearest efforts came from a misjudged header which hit the crossbar by Chester defender George Horan in the first half and a nervy, misplaced back pass by Christian Smith which rolled agonisingly past the far upright on fifty-six minutes.
Nick Wellecomme ran tirelessly up front and Kyle Haynes harried Wright and the rest of the midfield all afternoon. Smith will no doubt be ecstatic that his young team proved how important it is to play for the full ninety minutes and the ex-Telford management team have now over seen the best start to a season for The Pitmen in twelve years.
Hednesford sit proudly in third place, level on goal difference with Chorley and Marine after three matches and a maximum haul of nine points. Rob Smith will no doubt be looking for more of the same as his side now face three games in just six days with two successive away trips to Mickleover Sports on Wednesday night and Kendal Town next Saturday before one of the biggest games of the season on Bank Holiday Monday when arch rivals Stafford Rangers visit fortress Keys Park for a 3pm kick off.
Crane, Monteiro, Campion (c), Shaw, Dunkley, Denny, Haynes (Gomes 88), Clements, Wellecomme, Danks (Quinn 64), Clarke Osborne (87) 80),
Subs Not Used
Danby, Brownhill, Stones, Horan (c), Smith, Williams (Powell 18), Wright, Brown, McNeill, Rainford (Simm 58), Baynes (Booth 73),
Subs Not Used
HT Score – 0-0
Attendance – 1009