The top two teams in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division clash on Saturday afternoon at Keys Park with The Pitmen knowing that a victory against current leaders North Ferriby United will take them to within three points of The Villagers with three games in hand.
Hednesford have never had such a great opportunity to win their first league championship for almost twenty years and, as Rob Smith stated confidently earlier this week, the Club possess numerous players who have a history of delivering on the big stage this season.
In the teams’ last meeting in December Aaron Rey was the hero with a late headed winner which completed a comeback from 2-1 down to inflict North Ferriby’s first home defeat of the season and Rey, aided by an outrageous back heel through ball by 26 goal top scorer Eliiott Durrell, also scored the winner against arch rivals Stafford Rangers on Boxing Day.
Nathan Woolfe performed superbly in the home game versus Stafford to rescue a 2-2 draw at Keys Park in August and a resilient team display secured a 1-0 victory against FC United of Manchester in another big fixture before Christmas.
North Ferriby are undoubtedly the toughest test The Pitmen will face this year but, despite holding top position for months, they are not unbeatable.
The Humberside outfit have scored 14 goals in their three most recent fixtures, against lowly Eastwood Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels and mid-table Whitby Town but have been beaten by Buxton and AFC Fylde since their 3-2 home reverse against Hednesford.
Some sterling work has been put in by supporters of The Pitmen in publicising Saturday’s game in the local area through social media and leaflet dropping and a bumper crowd is expected as Rob Smith’s side look to take a huge step towards promotion to the Conference North.
Captain Darren Campion and influential midfielder Jamey Osborne are missing through suspension but Smith has a squad more than capable of getting a result with impressive loan signing Kris Taylor expected to deputise with John Disney also in the frame for a starting berth.
The match, a fact noted by Smith in an interview after the 2-2 draw with Matlock Town, has a real big occasion feel and, if history tells the nervous Pitmen faithful anything, it is that Keys Park and stellar fixtures usually bring excitement, goals and drama by the bucket load.
Anyone of a Black and White persuasion will be hoping their talented group of players emerge from the drama celebrating a pivotal three points come 5pm on Saturday.
Pitmen Form – DWWDWD
Previous Result – Hednesford Town 2 Matlock Town 2 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 9th March 2013
Next Fixture – Coventry Sphinx (A) – Birmingham Senior Cup Semi-Final – Monday 18th March 2013
League Position – 2nd
North Ferriby Form – LWDWWW
Previous Result – Eastwood Town 0 North Ferriby United 5 – Doodson Sports League Cup Quarter-Final – Tuesday 12th March 2013
Next Fixture – Bridlington Town (A) – East Riding Senior Cup Semi-Final – Tuesday 19th March 2013
League Position –1st