|Born:May 22, 1984|
|Joined the club:Oct 2015|
|Previous Club(s):WBA, Burton Albion, Rushden & Diamonds, Lewes, Cambridge Utd, King’s Lynn, Bromsgrove, Corby, Solihull Moors, Brackley Town|
Player Profile (pitmenweb.com)
Experienced goalkeeper who re-joined the Pitmen from Brackley Town in October 2015.
Beginning his career as a trainee at West Bromwich Albion, Dan failed to make a first team appearance and left in the summer of 2004, joining Burton Albion as a back-up to Martin Taylor after impressing on trial. An injury to Taylor saw Crane thrust into the first team fairly early into the season, where he remained for the remainder of the 2004-05 campaign. Matt Duke’s arrival at Burton saw Crane struggle to hold onto the number one jersey the following season and he was eventually loaned out to Moor Green in October 2005. He made his Moors debut against the Pitmen the following week, with Hednesford winning 2-1 at landlords Solihull Borough’s Damson Park. After returning to Burton, he was placed on the transfer list by Nigel Clough.
The January transfer window saw him make a move back into professional football, joining struggling Rushden & Diamonds. He made eight appearances for Diamonds as they finished rock bottom of the Football League and were relegated at the end of the 2005-2006 season. After agreeing a deal at Nene Park for the following season, Crane fell down the pecking order behind Nicky Ayre and was loaned to Conference South high-flyers Lewes for two months, making five appearances for the Rooks.
He joined Cambridge United for a short spell after being released by Rushden in January 2007 before doing the same job at King’s Lynn. A return to the Midlands followed in March when he joined Bromsgrove Rovers for the remainder of the 2007-08 campaign. Crane moved to ambitious Southern League side Corby Town in the summer, but Kevin Wilson’s underachieving side struggled in the SPL and Crane made the move to the newly-formed Solihull Moors. At Damson Park, he became the club’s undisputed number one, spending two and a half years between the posts for the Blue Square North side.
Dan joined the Pitmen in the summer of 2010, and became the Pitmen’s number one playing every minute of the 2010-11 season playing his part in getting the club to second in the league. Dan boosted the club by agreeing a new deal with the club for the 2011-2012; and then went on to play almost every game for Hednesford throughout seasons 2011-12 and 2012-13 at the end of which he gained hero status when, despite conceding a 90th minute once-in-a-lifetime halfway-line equaliser in the play-off semi-final with AFC Fylde, he saved two penalties in the shootout to see the Pitmen through to the successful play-off final
After signing an extension to his deal in May 2013, Crane started the Skrill North season in commanding form, marshalling a mean Hednesford defence as the Pitmen became the surprise league leaders early on in the campaign. Crane’s shot-stopping and experience helped his side to a fourth placed finish in the league, losing in the play-off semi-final to Altrincham.
Crane remained the Pitmen’s number one for a fifth season in 2014-2015 after agreeing a new deal with the club in June 2014. After a topsy-turvy start for Rob Smith’s team, the Pitmen put a superb run of form together in the New Year to lift them into the play-off places. However, woeful luck with injuries saw the Pitmen’s form fade and see them end up in eighth place at the end of the season. Crane announced on Twitter at the end of the campaign that it was time for a new challenge, and left the club to link up with league rivals Brackley Town in May 2015
Despite being the club’s number one keeper from the start of the 2015-2016 season, Crane was finding the travelling to Northamptonshire difficult up to three times a week, and eventually decided to leave the club in October 2015 after sixteen appearances. With Dave Parton leaving Keys Park on the same day to rejoin Newcastle Town, the smart money was on Bernard McNally re-signing the man he had originally signed for the club back in 2010. And so it proved, as Crane was unveiled as a Hednesford player once again two days later, ahead of the club’s Vanarama National League North clash at home to Nuneaton Town
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