Hednesford Town were able to cut the gap at the top of the Northern Premier League to six points following a hard fought 3-1 victory against struggling Kendal Town, writes Scott Smith. This was an important victory for Hednesford as they looked to drag themselves back into automatic promotion contention following a frustrating couple of weeks.
It took the Pitmen just 75 seconds to open the scoring as Elliott Durrell played in Nathan Woolfe who superbly picked out Neil Harvey to head home from inside the six-yard box.
Rob Smith’s men almost made it 2-0 in the fifth minute as Durrell found himself one-on-one with the Kendal goalkeeper Craig Dootson, only for the keeper to deny him when he got his shot away.
The first period was pretty much one-way traffic as Hednesford peppered the Kendal goal and apart from one save made by Dan Crane from a low Danny Mitchley effort, the hosts offered little going forward.
The 25th minute almost brought a second goal for Hednesford when Ben Bailey delightfully controlled a ball inside the penalty area and his first time effort went narrowly wide of the upright with most of the travelling support expecting it to nestle in the corner of the net.
The Pitmen were eventually able to make it 2-0 in the 32nd minute though when a long throw into the box wasn’t cleared by the home side and Michael Lennon was on hand to sweep the ball home.
Right on the stroke of halftime Dave MacPherson dragged an effort wide from inside the penalty area after good build-up play between Harvey and Lennon.
As the second half started Hednesford almost added to their tally within seconds, only to see a Jamey Osborne effort turned behind for a corner.
However this was to the catalyst for the home side and as they attacked downhill they gradually forced their way back into the game, reducing the arrears in the 54th minute. A speculative shot was blocked inside the area and it fell perfectly to Maison McGeechan who spun and shot past Crane from just inside the box.
Hednesford were now on the back foot with Kendal forcing a number of corners as they looked to level the game. However, the pressure was soon lifted when Osborne danced his way into the penalty area before being brought down by McGeechan in the 67th minute. Up stepped Durrell to convert his 11th penalty of the season and take his tally to 29 goals for the campaign overall.
Although the home side forced a number of corners, the game somewhat petered out in the final quarter and Hednesford were able to pick up a well deserved three points ahead of their home clash with play-off chasing Buxton at Keys Park on Saturday.
Kendal Town: Dootson, Cook, Hastings, Wilson, Brown, Lee, Grundy, Rushton (Taylor 64), Mitchley, McGeechan, Clark (Barron 76)
Subs not used: Helliwell, Rawnsley, Freeland
Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Barnes, Macpherson, Osborne, Durrell (Francis 73), Harvey (Rey 80), Lennon, Woolfe (Patterson 46)
Subs not used: Wright, Fincher