Match Preview: AFC Fylde (A)
So, after 41 league matches, 18 highly successful cup ties, 142 goals scored and some of the most fluent and attacking football played by a Hednesford Town side at Keys Park and beyond for many years, everything comes down to this Saturday.
The Pitmen, winners of both the Staffordshire and Birmingham FA Senior Cups, have shown league winning form beyond reproach but, much to the credit of North Ferriby United, The Villagers have kept Rob Smith’s side at arms length all season long.
The current league leaders have occupied top spot since mid-October but one slip-up, one nervy performance, one final choke on the last day of a superb season will give Hednesford the opportunity to win the league in the final 90 minutes of the 42nd league match.
Despite the possibility of a famous result on Saturday, Pitmen boss Rob Smith was keen to stress that his players are keeping their feet on the ground and are mentally preparing for the play-offs, should results not go their way.
‘To be fair we are a pretty level headed bunch, the players are just looking forward to the game, not looking at anything else. In our minds we are prepared for the play-offs. Winning against Fylde is a hard enough task in itself without worrying about any other results.’
Hednesford will have a fully fit squad going into the game but Kyle Patterson, an integral part of the side which came so close to promotion against Salisbury City in the 2011 play-off final, has returned to his parent club after his loan deal expired.
Meanwhile AFC Fylde or Ashton United have a chance to play a defining part in the dramatic league title race and either dash the dreams of The Pitmen faithful or give Hednesford a helping hand in their quest to win a first league title since 1995.
The pressure, however, is squarely on North Ferriby. Should The Villagers record a 9th win in their last 12 matches, Hednesford would require a hugely unlikely double figure victory over Fylde to overhaul them on goal difference but, should their nerves twitch, The Pitmen could suddenly, after 3780 minutes of league football, be in the box seat.
Hednesford have played in their fair share of dramatic matches over Rob Smith’s three season reign but, should The Pitmen hold aloft the league trophy, Saturday will have topped the lot by some distance.
The loyal supporters of the Club, the majority of whom will be making the journey to the North West on Saturday morning, will travel more in hope than expectation and those not attending will no doubt be feeling utterly helpless as they watch @hednesford_town on Twitter or wait for updates from friends, praying for one final, historic, glorious twist to the tale.
Pitmen Form – WWWWWW
Previous Result – Hednesford Town 4 Sutton Coldfield Town 1 – Birmingham FA Senior Cup Final – Tuesday 30th April 2013
League Position – 2nd
AFC Fylde Form – WLWWDL
Previous Result – AFC Fylde 1 Rushall Olympic 3 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Tuesday 30th April 2013
League Position – 5th
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Kellamergh Park, Bryning Lane, Warton, PR4 1TN