Hednesford Town secured their most comprehensive win of the season against a Worksop Town side, who prior to kick off, looked like providing a serious test of The Pitmen’s title credentials but by the 90th minute The Tigers had slumped to a heavy defeat.
Elliott Durrell scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season alongside a goal from Aaron Rey and a welcome appearance on the scoresheet for left-winger Nathan Woolfe. In truth though, the winning margin could have been much more.
The worry before the match for Hednesford had been the prolific partnership of Tom Denton and Leon Mettam for the home side but once Dan Crane had saved twice from Mettam early on, the Hednesford central defensive partnership of Ben Bailey and Francino Francis were imperious, especially against the aerial threat of Denton.
Mettam forced Crane into his first save on three minutes with a header from a corner before breaking through down the left on eight minutes and shooting low at the feet of the goalkeeper.
Woolfe fizzed a shot inches over the cross bar on sixteen minutes before The Pitmen were forced into an early substitution with Neil Harvey limping off to be replaced by Michael Lennon.
Jamie Jackson played a clever one-two with Denton and Crane had to beat away a powerful volley but within sixty seconds the away side were ahead when Durrell’s initial shot was blocked and Woolfe calmly volleyed the loose ball into the corner on 24 minutes.
Durrell flashed a superb half volley just past the left hand post and saw a long range free-kick saved low by Paul Bastock before he arrowed a right foot shot into the corner from 20 yards to double The Pitmen’s advantage on the stroke of half time.
Hednesford’s travelling support were certainly content with the half time score but it was in the second period that The Pitmen really applied the accelerator and, on another day, could have scored five or six against a Worksop team who simply had no answer to their opponents’ incisive attacking play.
Lennon scampered clear down the left and squared the ball to Durrell who stretched and lofted the ball over the cross bar on 50 minutes and 11 minutes later Rey’s point blank shot was blocked by Bastock after the striker had latched onto Lennon’s flick.
Durrell added a third on 65 minutes as Bastock failed to keep out a fierce drive from distance and Rey wrapped up the convincing win with a fourth in the final minute.
With North Ferriby’s game against Whitby falling victim to the weather Hednesford’s win cut the deficit at the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier to four points with two games in hand and if The Pitmen pass further tests as the season progresses with such verve and confidence their supporters can begin to dream of a league championship come April.
Bastock, Clarke, Ridley (Potts 40), Young (Telling 74), Shiels (Hawes 45), Miller, Jackson, Towers ©, Denton, Mettam, Burbeary
Subs Not Used
Crane, Melbourne, Campion, Bailey, Francis, MacPherson, Osborne, Durrell (45, 65) Harvey (Lennon 16), Rey (89) (O’Connor 90), Woolfe (24) (Craven 85)
Subs Not Used
Bookings – Campion, MacPherson, Osborne, Young,
Attendance – 390
Entertainment Rating – 5 Stars
Star Man – Aaron Rey