Stalybridge Celtic 4 – 2 Hednesford Town

After a hectic week at Keys Park, a new management team, led by former Chelsea and Leicester City star, Frank Sinclair, took the helm for the game at Stalybridge Celtic.

With the blustery conditions in their favour for the first half, the Pitmen were immediately on the attack and a searching cross into the area by Tom Peers was just out of reach of Kyle Perry.

Paul Ennis also combined well with Perry in the ninth minute but the resultant effort by the big striker cleared the bar.

A minute later, the visitors had a penalty shout denied by the match referee when Sean Williams appeared to be impeded after a good exchange with Perry.

A rare sortie by Stalybridge into Hednesford territory resulted in a long throw into the area which was not cleared but the final shot went over the bar when the player should have hit the target.

The Pitmen responded immediately and, on 19 minutes, Peers found some space in the penalty area to turn and tuck the ball into the bottom corner with a smart left foot finish.

With the Pitmen well in the ascendancy, further chances fell to Sean Williams and Ennis but as the game entered first half added time, the visitors were caught on the break.

Sean Williams was tackled on the edge of the Stalybridge penalty area and the ball was swept upfield for Danny Burns to score to draw the home side level at half time.

As the second half got under way, the home side started with more purpose and, after a short spell of pressure, some poor defending allowed Dale Wright to score off the underside of the crossbar, leaving Dan Crane with little chance.

For the Pitmen, Sean Williams came close on 64 minutes when his free kick took a slight deflection off the wall and crashed against the crossbar when it looked goal-bound.

The introduction of Adam Thomas and Ahmed Obeng from the substitute bench increased the attacking options for the Pitmen and some good play between these two down the right in the 74th minute resulted in a cross into the six yard box for Perry to tap home but the goal was ruled out for an earlier offside flag.

As the game continued to swing back and forth it was only a minute later that a cross into the Hednesford area from former player, Bohan Dixon, took a deflection and looped over to the far post for Adam Farrell to head home unchallenged.

With full time approaching the Hednesford defence was once again breached as they failed to adequately clear a corner kick with the ball falling to centre half John Shaw to chip home.

In the 88th minute, the Pitmen scored a consolation goal when a free kick to the far post was headed in by young centre half Tyrone Williams.

After a very promising first half in which the Pitmen played with style and confidence, the defensive frailties that have dogged the team all season came to the fore and this will surely be Sinclair’s priority for improvement in forthcoming games.

Stalybridge Celtic: McMillan, Wylie, Crowley, Hughes, Shaw, Chalmers, Burns (Chippendale 68), Wright, Farrell (Simm 79), Tames (Osei 72), Dixon

Subs not used: Johnson, Lingouba

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney (Thomas 51), Regan (James 72), Bailey(C), T. Williams, Digie, Peers, S. Williams, Perry, Ennis (Obeng 59), Trainer

Subs not used: Ransome, Todd.

Attendance: 408

Star Man: Sean Williams

Entertainment Rating: Three Stars

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