Hednesford Town were unable to end their campaign on a positive note after falling to a narrow defeat against Whitby Town, thanks to a second half thunderbolt of a goal.
After failing to produce the kind of performances that are expected across the last five games of the season, the Pitmen started very much on the front foot against a Whitby side that had narrowly missed out on a place in the top five.
Returning Hednesford captain Tom Thorley went close to opening the scoring in just the second minute as his shot from 25 yards whistled inches over the crossbar.
The Pitmen continued on the front foot and were unlucky not to be ahead ten minutes later as Danny Glover rose highest to meet a Gavin Hurren free kick, but his header rebounded back off the woodwork with Whitby goalkeeper Shane Bland pulling off a fantastic save to deny Bradley Peace-McDonald on the rebound.
Hednesford went close again in the 16th minute as a corner ball fell to Joe Ballinger at the back post and his scrambled effort was cleared off the line before being turned behind for a corner.
The away side continued to push the hosts and almost opened the scoring in the 24th minute as Thorley curled in a free kick from 25 yards that was pushed behind by Bland.
Whitby finally mustered their first chance in the 31st minute but Ballinger was able to block Steven Snaith’s effort at the back post after the home side had countered quickly.
Snaith then saw a shot flash all the way across the Pitmen goal six minutes later before Glover managed to bustle his way through at the other end only to fire well over the bar as he lost his balance at the crucial moment.
After a positive first period the Pitmen failed to start in the second half as the home side forced the early pressure with a number of corners – all of which were cleared by the visitors.
However, the opening goal would arrive in the 66th minute thanks to a wonder strike from Dale Hopson as he strode onto a nicely teed up ball 30 yards out and placed his curling effort into the top corner of the net past the despairing dive of Lloyd Ransome.
Ten minutes later Hopson saw a stinging shot turned away by Ransome before Matthew Tymon lobbed the goalkeeper but watched on as his effort hit the woodwork on the way behind.
After threatening little in the second period Hednesford almost grabbed a leveller in the 79th minute when Jordan Nadat sent in a stinging effort which was turned behind by Bland.
Despite forcing a couple of late corners the Pitmen were unable to reward their fans who had made the long trip north as they finished a season that had promised much, in the lower reaches of mid-table.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Weledji, Robinson, Snaith, Gell (Fryatt 55), Hume, Tymon (Roberts 86), Hopson.
Subs not used: Bell, Bullock, Dixon
Hednesford Town: Ransome, Wright, Danquah, Peace-McDonald, Hurren, Ballinger, Martin, Thorley (McNaught 85), Glover, Washbourne (Nadat76), Cater (Nesbitt 89).
Subs not used: Crane, Fitzpatrick
Star Man: Tom Thorley
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars