Hednesford Town 5-4 Stafford Rangers

Game Of All Games Sees Pitmen End Five Decade Rangers Hoodoo

In the most astonishing and dramatic game ever likely to be witnessed at Keys Park Hednesford Town ended their five decade wait for a victory over their local rivals Stafford Rangers as a hat trick by Marvin Robinson capped an unbelievable comeback.

The Pitmen scored three goals in the last twelve minutes to resurrect a game, which at 3-0 down and 4-2 down, looked dead and buried.

In a nightmare start, Rob Smith’s team found themselves 3-0 down inside the opening twenty minutes as Stafford Rangers scored almost at will as Sean Kinsella curled an exquisite free kick around the defensive wall on five minutes, Kevin Street nodded in from three yards for his team’s second and, as The Pitmen supporters looked on in horror, the impressive Liam Shotton swept in a third.

Hednesford looked shell shocked and fought gallantly to regain their composure as, for forty-five minutes at least, a usually confident side struggled to play their football.

Chris Clements saw a long-range free kick saved by loanee goalkeeper Sam Johnson on the half hour mark and the away side saw three players booked for strong challenges as they made their mark on The Pitmen.

Solace for the home side came on the stroke of half time as the Stafford defence dealt poorly with Darren Campion long throw and Robinson nodded in what proved to be a vitally important goal.

Stafford started the better in the ten minutes after half time as Liam Shotton’s solid hold up play continued to cause problems for the home side, Neville Thompson curled a shot over and Kinsella thrashed wildly over the bar when well placed.

New Hednesford signing Bohan Dixon was introduced into the fray along with Phil Clarke on sixty-two minutes and the substitutions changed the game as The Pitmen began running the channels and seriously challenged a tired looking Rangers defence.

Shotton was subbed with thirteen minutes to go and, from there on in, Stafford hardly touched the ball. Ryan Dicker handled in the area to present Clements with a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears from the spot on seventy-eight minutes. The midfielder duly obliged but Dan Crane uncharacteristically nodded off and gifted Stafford a fourth goal as Chris Budrys nipped in and poked the ball into the net two minutes later.

What followed will go down in Hednesford folklore forever as Keys Park rose to encourage their side and, with six minutes remaining, Robinson scored his second goal as he followed up on a shot by Dixon to make it 4-3. Stafford rocked.

Incessant Hednesford pressure ensued and, following a goal mouth scramble, Danny Quinn scored a fairy-tale equaliser on ninety minutes to incredibly make the score 4-4.

Quinn volleyed wide when clear in the area and saw another shot bobble inches wide of the post as The Pitmen threw everything at the Rangers defence. They finally cracked four minutes into stoppage time as Jamey Osborne hung up a superb cross and Marvin Robinson, cult hero forever more, hung gracefully in the air and scissor kicked his shot through the legs of the hapless Johnson.

The final whistle blew and Hednesford Town could finally celebrate victory over their fierce local rivals in a game that will go down in the annals of history at Keys Park as their greatest triumph. Rob Smith’s side, having won five out of their first six games, now sit proudly at the summit of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division. It will take some time for Pitmen fans to come down from a victory like this.

Hednesford Town
Crane, Monteiro, Campion © (Clarke 62), Shaw, Dunkley, Denny, Haynes (Dixon 62 (Bailey 90+2)), Clements (78), Robinson (45, 84, 90+4), Quinn (90), Osborne,

Subs Not Used
Bailey, Grice, Gomes,

Stafford Rangers
Johnson, George, Skelton, Donnelly ©, Dicker, Douglas, Heler, Street (15) (McAnulty 82), Shotton (20) (Budrys 77 (81)), Thompson, Kinsella (5),

Subs Not Used
Nagington, Stephenson, Wood

Bookings
George, Dicker, Heler, Douglas, Osborne,

Entertainment Rating – Six Stars

Star Man – Marvin Robinson

Attendance – 1086

Words By Chris Brewerton

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