Hednesford Town kept up their charge for a Play-Off place with a 1-0 victory over former Football League side Stockport County at Edgeley Park thanks to a solitary strike from Charlie Anagho-Ntamark, writes Scott Smith.
The Pitmen started brightly and forced two early efforts inside the opening five minutes. First Tom Thorley fired a free kick right down the throat of goalkeeper Ian Ormson before Darren Campion flashed a cross across the box to which Anagho-Ntamark was unable to get a touch.
It would be Hednesford who would strike first though when they grabbed what would turn out to be the only goal of the game in the 12th minute. New loan signing Marvin Johnson surged to the byeline and his left wing cross was slotted home by Anagho-Ntamark from 10 yards out.
Stockport almost had a chance to pull themselves level straight away as Ian Howard and Kristian Dennis combined to create a chance only for Town’s Ben Bailey to clear away from inside the six-yard box.
The only other chance of the half arrived in the 40th minute as Dennis created half a yard for himself but his low driven effort was seen wide of his goal by Hednesford shot stopper Dan Crane.
The start of the second half saw Hednesford firmly camped inside their own half and County’s Howard almost took advantage of this as he flashed an effort just wide of the upright from the edge of the box. Stockport continued to press and Nicky Platt perhaps should have done better with his effort when well placed in the 63rd minute.
Back came The Pitmen though and they almost went 2-0 ahead in the 68th minute as Ben Bailey saw his header strike the crossbar, via a good save from Ormson in the County goal.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes Hednesford perhaps should have wrapped up the points in a more comfortable fashion as first Paul Sullivan found himself through one-on-one only to see his angled effort turned away by Ormson, before Danny Glover had a great chance to make it 2-0 in the 84th minute as Ormson spilt a ball into the box but the front man was unable to force the ball home from six yards out.
Hednesford were nearly made to pay for this as some hesitant defending in the 86th minute saw substitute Rhys Oates through on goal, only for Paul McCone to produce a wonderful recovery tackle as the home side’s supporters appealed in vain for a penalty.
In the end though one goal would be enough for Town to make sure they picked up all three points as they completed the double over County and continued their quest for a top five finish. Hednesford’s next game sees them hosting fellow Play-Off hopefuls Brackley Town at Keys Park on Tuesday 1st April, 7.45pm kick off.
Ormson, Lees, Duxbury, Milligan, Charnock (Fagbola 24), O’Halloran, Moke (Churchman 78), Platt (Oates 65), Dennis, Jevons, Howard
Subs not used:
Crane, Disney, Campion, Bailey, McCone, Macpherson (Sullivan 70), Osborne, Johnson, Glover, Anagho-Ntamark (Riley 59), Thorley (Francis 82)
Subs not used:
Man of the Match: Paul McCone
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars
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Photos by Colin Rogers