Lowestoft, the most easterly town in Britain, has begun to develop as a centre for the renewable energy industry but it was Hednesford who renewed their interest in the play-offs with a deserved two goal victory.
Hednesford made just one change from their New Year’s Day line up with the versatile Izak Reid replacing Tom Fry in the starting eleven.
Lowestoft also made a change as Marcus Wilkinson returned in place of Malachi Linton.
The game started with the Pitmen defending with the sun in their eyes on a heavy pitch but they came out at their hosts from the off. Danny Glover was caught offside as was Osebi Adabaki before Glover headed an Elliot Hodge cross over the bar.
Hednesford forced a corner and Hodge’s flag kick was handled in the area, giving the visitors a penalty. However, Danny Glover’s spot kick hit the bar and was cleared for a throw in. A succession of corners ended when Reece King’s header hit the bar as the referee blew for a foul but on 16 minutes the visitors took a deserved lead when Danny Glover glanced Abadaki’s cross over the ‘keeper to make up for his earlier penalty miss.
The home side were not impressed by the referee’s decision to give the goal as they thought Jake Reed had been fouled at the other end. Reed left the pitch after the goal, returning five minutes later with his wrist bandaged. It was still all Pitmen pressure though, Hodge was causing problems down the right, having a shot blocked before the inevitable second goal arrived in the 27th minute.
Andy Wycherley’s goal kick was knocked on by Glover to Osebi Abadaki who applied a spectacular left foot finish. Hodge and Abadaki were both on the receiving end of over enthusiastic tackles and Hednesford went close to a third goal when King’s header was cleared off the line.
Lowestoft began the second half on the offensive but it was still Hednesford who looked dangerous. A long ball from Bailey to Abadaki was just cut out and then the home ‘keeper spilled a cross but recovered before Izak Reid could capitalise. At the other end Reed went down in the box again but nothing was given and Wycherley saved well from McIntosh who was replaced by N’Buque in the 71st minute.
There was another penalty shout for Lowestoft after Zielonka went down after losing the ball but again the referee was unimpressed and three minutes later Ethan Jones came on for Abadaki for Hednesford. Sam Griffiths earned himself a booking just after but the resultant free kick was collected comfortably by Wycherley. There was a spell of pressure from the home side but they couldn’t find a way past the Hednesford number one.
Matt Curley then played in Jones who was narrowly flagged offside. In four minutes of added time Tann for Lowestoft and Hednesford’s Jack Hallahan both found themselves in the ref’s book as the visitors picked up the three points.
Lowestoft Town: Tibbles, Ruffles, Curry, Deekes, Cole, Tann, Zielonka, Fisk, Reed, McIntosh, Wilkinson.
Subs: Richardson, Reynolds, N’Buque, Godbold
Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey (Capt), Gatter, Hallahan, Hodge, King, D.Glover, Reid, Abadaki (Jones).
Subs (not used): Fry, Hurst, M.Glover, Veiga.