Hednesford Town 1-1 Whitby Town

A host of missed chances and an inspired first half goalkeeping performance from Whitby Town’s Shane Bland saw Hednesford Town fail to convert their dominance after they conceded a goal two minutes into second half stoppage time.

Going into the game, little separated seventh placed Hednesford with sixth placed Whitby and this showed in the opening exchanges as both teams forced chances at either end.

First Tristian Dunkley saw a shot saved for the Pitmen before Whitby’s Dale Hopson put a free header over the Hednesford crossbar when unmarked six yards out.

As the first half progressed though it was the home side that would see chances arise more frequently. First George Carline headed an effort just wide of the upright after good work by Cohen Bramall in the 14th minute before Dunkley snatched an effort into the side netting.

The Pitmen were left wondering how they hadn’t taken the lead in the 27th minute when a looping header from Tom Thorley was cleared off the line with the midfielder seeing his follow-up effort expertly saved by goalkeeper Shane Bland.

Five minutes before the break Ashley Sammons was unlucky not to break the deadlock as he drove in a low effort which beat Bland but rebounded off the post and away to safety.

Hednesford were indebted to goalkeeper Dan Crane in the 43rd minute though as Hopson raced clear but his shot was expertly blocked. This saw the Pitmen launch a counter-attack and Bland was called into action again as he tipped an effort from Sammons, that was destined for the top corner, over the bar for a corner.

The start of the second period was greeted by a tremendous downpour but Sammons would once again come close as his low effort was blocked for a corner three minutes in.

Hednesford had the ball in the net after 70 minutes when James Mutton poked it home but the referee had already spotted an infringement in the box.

With eight minutes remaining it looked as if the home side had earned all three points when they finally broke the deadlock. Carline battled away down the right and his cross found Joel Logan who took a touch before shooting home via the post.

The visitors didn’t give up though and almost drew themselves level five minutes later when Matty Tymon fired an effort across goal that beat Crane but rebounded off the post.

They didn’t let this deter them though and they finally drew level in the second minute of four added on at the end of the game. After an initial shot had been blocked, Luke Bythway fired in a low effort that earned his side a share of the spoils.

The Pitmen will be looking to get back to winning ways when they make the short journey across the Midlands to Halesowen Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

Hednesford Town:  Crane, Thompson, Bramall, Thorley, Mutton, Flanagan, Maye, Geddes, Dunkley (Singh 72), Sammons (Logan 72) Carline

Subs not used: Ransome, Francis, Rowley

Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, Weledji, Poole, May, Gell (Round 46), Hopson (Roberts 83), Park (Bythway), Tymon, Snaith

Subs not used: Hume, Dawson

Attendance: 387

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