Southern League Champions 1994/95
Despite having a long and proud history, the Pitmen had never reached the top level of the non league game. When the ambitious John Baldwin was appointed manager, he slowly began to turn around the fortunes of the club, and the 1994/1995 season was the culmination of years of hard work when the Pitmen won promotion to the GM Vauxhall Conference.
The Pitmen won the Southern Premier league with the most wins and goals ever scored in the competition joining the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Wimbledon, Southampton and Ipswich on the trophy.
Hednesford Town 3-0 Leek Town
Beazer Homes League Premier Division – Saturday 29th April 1995 – Cross Keys
A record crowd of over 3000 witnessed Hednesford Town’s passage into the Vauxhall Conference as champions of the Beazer Homes League Premier Division.
Saturday’s game also marked the end of an era – The Pitmen’s last ever game at the Cross Keys. Next season they will pit their wits against the likes of Kidderminster and Kettering in a brand new stadium at Keys Park. But the Pitmen had to overcome rivals Leek and a nervy opening before accepting the acclaim of the record breaking audience.
In the end, they did it pretty comfortably after an early goal by Steve Burr settled the nerves – the experienced striker headed home after just 5 minutes as a Joe O’Connor effort was cleared off the line.
Burr celebrated in inimitable style, removing his shirt before parading in front of the ecstatic fans.
However, the initial euphoria seemed to die down. Despite being roared on by the Cross Keys’ biggest gate ever, the game became a subdued affair as the Pitmen strived to add to Burr’s early strike. The failed to press home their advantage against a Leek side who had few opportunities to become the party-poopers.
By half time it could have been all over. Prompted by the energetic Burr and the lively Henry Wright, the Pitmen had several chances to be crowned champions before stepping foot on pitch for the second half.
Burr himself had four chances inside the first 20 minutes, firing over with a couple of speculative efforts and forcing visiting keeper Degville to make two saves.
Instead it was left to centre half Steve Essex to virtually wrap up promotion and set the scene for the after match celebrations.
After Brendan Hackett had come close on a couple of occasions, Essex rifled home a 62nd minute effort from close range after Leek failed to clear a left wing throw. The goal killed off any resistance Leek may have had to offer.
Doubts were finally dispelled within 10 minutes when Gary Fitzpatrick, later named as the player-of-the-year struck home a 20 yard drive off the post.