Hednesford Town brushed their fellow promotion rivals Marine aside with a goal in each half from Aaron Rey and Elliott Durrell sandwiching a stupid red card for John Shaw which gave the away team an unconquerable mountain to climb.
On an emotional night at Keys Park that saw The Pitmen mark the sad passing of loyal supporter Don Griffiths with a minute’s applause before kick off, Rob Smith’s team turned in their most dominant performance of the season.
Second placed Marine started the game confidently but the home side always threatened with the former Mariners strikeforce of Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey a constant thorn in the side of their old team.
Jonathan Goulding tested Hednesford’s Dan Crane early on with a rasping drive before the livewire Rey jinked into the visitors penalty area and saw his shot beaten away by McMahon on eighteen minutes.
Durrell shot narrowly over before Alex Melbourne’s cross from the right found Harvey whose scuffed left foot shot fell to Rey twelve yards out and the striker made no mistake in lashing the ball past McMahon on twenty-eight minutes.
The real turning point came on forty minutes when John Shaw inexplicably kicked a prone Durrell after the whistle had gone and rightly saw red.
To their credit Marine stayed positive in the second half and persevered with two in attack but they rarely threatened Crane and the clinching goal came after a perfectly judged through ball by Osborne set Durrell racing away to finish superbly, opening his body up before stroking the ball beyond McMahon to secure a vital three points for The Pitmen on sixty-nine minutes.
Crane, Disney, Campion (c), Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne, Osborne, Durrell (69) (Lennon 83), Harvey (O’Connor 83), Rey (28), Woolfe (Bottomer 77)
Subs Not Used
McMahon (c), Dowling, Shaw, Brown (Ordish 43), Grannon, Lawton (Dawson 67), Fowler (Noon 56), Goulding, Brown, Rogan, Burton
Subs Not Used
Bookings – Melbourne
Sent Off – Shaw
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars
Star Man – Aaron Rey
Attendance – 403