Skelmersdale United 1–3 Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town returned to winning ways in the league after defeating bottom of the table Skelmersdale United, despite having to play for more than 20 minutes with ten men after striker Tristian Dunkley was harshly dismissed.

Inside the opening sixty seconds of the game Pitmen supporters were left fearing the worst as Skelmersdale striker Max Hazeldine went down under the pressure of Lloyd Ransome, but with three defenders behind the goalkeeper it was deemed to be worth just a booking, with the resultant free kick being blocked.

After this early scare though Hednesford soon found their stride with George Carline seeing a shot narrowly deflected wide of the upright in the seventh minute before the Pitmen opened the scoring two minutes later. The visitors pressed the home defence with Simeon Maye finding himself with time and space to pass the ball into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Over the course of the next ten minutes the Pitmen forced no less than four corners, all of which came to nothing. At the other end Ransome was forced to punch clear a corner as the home side pressed from their own set piece.

Two chances arrived in quick succession for Hednesford when first in the 32nd minute, good link-up play saw Ashley Sammons pick out Carline but he fired well wide from six yards before Tom Thorley fired in a low effort that was easily saved.

As halftime approached the Pitmen should really have doubled their lead when three minutes before the break Gurjit Singh broke the offside trap, cut inside past one defender before shooting only to see his effort strike the crossbar with Sammons being unable to turn home the rebound.

HT: 0-1

Hednesford started the second half as they ended the first period and another chance came and went in the 47th minute when Lewis Wright picked out Carline, who saw his header saved at point blank range.

The visitors would eventually double their lead in the 50th minute though when Carline teed up Sammons who was able to drill home a superb half volley into the back of the net from the edge of the box.

Just two minutes later though, Skelmersdale were back in it as Hazeldine headed home from just a couple of yards out after Ransome had made a good initial save.

The home side had a great chance to level the scores in the 63rd minute when Benito Lowe had a free header from a corner but he put it well wide.

Five minutes later the big talking point of the afternoon would arise as Dunkley was dismissed for allegedly going over the top of the ball. This came despite the offence taking place in front of the assistant referee who felt that the challenge was a fair one.

Skelmersdale now looked to use this dismissal to their advantage and saw a huge chance fall the way of Ben Hodkinson in the 84th minute as a corner was missed by Ransome but the striker somehow turned the ball over from just a matter of yards.

But despite being a man light, it would be the Pitmen that would extend their lead in the last minute of stoppage time. Wright played a delightful ball through to Joel Logan who squeezed the ball home from just inside the box.

Skelmersdale United: Fearon, Mooney, Holden, O’Riley, Bodie, Rendall, Lowe, Strickland, Hazeldine, Almond, Wall
Subs not used: Akrigg, Fanandes, Priestly

 Hednesford Town: Ransome, Wright, Bramall, Maye, Williams, Flanagan, Singh (Logan 72), Thorley, Matthews (Dunkley 58), Sammons, Carline
Subs not used: Wagstaff, Hutton, Martin

Attendance: 212

Star Man: Lewis Wright

Entertainment Rating: Four Stars

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