With the current heavy schedule of games and injuries starting to take its toll on the squad, it was a changed team that lined up to face Matlock Town, who still have ambitions to make the end of season play-off games.
The game got off to the worst possible start for the Pitmen when, after only five minutes, an attack down the visitors’ left side was brought to an abrupt end in the Hednesford box with the referee awarding a spot kick. Marcus Dinanga stepped up to take the penalty but his shot, struck down the middle, was well saved by the legs of Lloyd Ransome, a huge early let-off for the home side.
The Pitmen started to find some rhythm as the half progressed, with David McDermott coming close on a couple of occasions and putting Tony Clarke through on goal in the 33rd minute, although the big striker could not test the Matlock keeper.
George Washbourne came close with a powerful effort but, not to be outdone, a free kick for the visitors was then volleyed just over the bar by Adam Yates.
In the last minute of the half some good approach play by the Pitmen saw Tony Clarke’s shot deflected wide of the goal, however the resulting corner kick, once again, came to nothing.
The visitors started the second half more positively and quickly created an opportunity but Andrew Wright’s tame effort was easily saved by Ransome. The Pitmen stopper was again called into action a couple of minutes later when he held on well to a fiercely struck free kick.
On 55 minutes a good ball into the penalty box from the right picked out David McDermott but the diminutive midfielder’s shot went high over the bar.
In the 62nd minute the home defence was punished for not clearing their lines after a goalmouth scramble saw the ball eventually falling to Niall McManus who made no mistake from a couple of yards out.
The Pitmen continued to press for an equalising goal, bringing Jordan Nadat on for McDermott but, as the game moved towards the final minutes, a breakaway by Matlock caught Hednesford short in defence leaving Marcus Dinanga unmarked on the back post to head the ball home.
This was another disappointing result at home for the Pitmen whose lack of a goal threat will be the main cause for concern for Gary Birch and the team.
Hednesford Town: Ransome, Hurren (Cater 55), Danquah, Martin (Fitzpatrick 80), Brenan, Ballinger, McDermott (Nadat 68), Thorley ©, Glover, Clarke, Washbourne
Subs (not used): Crane, Campion.
Matlock Town: Barnes, Marsden, Green, Doyle-Charles, Yates ©, Wiley, McManus, Wright (Williams 58), Newsham (Sharpe 65), Dinanga, Cribley
Subs (not used): Taylor, Yates, Degirolamo
Star Man: Ballinger
Entertainment Rating: Two Stars