A bumper Boxing Day crowd of one-thousand-six-hundred and six saw a festive clash between local rivals Hednesford Town and Chasetown and it was the away side, led by former Pitmen legend Chris Brindley, who came away with the spoils with a winner in the second half.
Dean Perrow’s corner, floated into the near post, was bundled over the line by Darren Stride as Hednesford goalkeeper Dan Crane struggled to catch the ball on sixty-two minutes.
An expectant Keys Park, fresh from lashings of Christmas turkey and pigs-in-blankets, willed the home side to grab an equaliser but ex-Pitmen Richard Teesdale and Jimmy Turner were imperious at the back as Hednesford tried and failed to force an equaliser.
The first period saw a defensively set-up The Scholars play deep in their own half as The Pitmen looked to make the most of regular possession with the unsure Ryan Price fumbling a Chris Clements shot on nineteen minutes. Darren Campion headed just wide from the resulting corner.
Elliott Durrell shot wide across goal as Price scrambled for the ball on twenty-two minutes and a minute later Dean Perrow flicked a header past the post for Chasetown.
Despite struggling to break down a resolute Chasetown defence Clements and Durrell both forced Price into saves before the only goal of the game, following concerted pressure from the way side, came on sixty-two minutes.
As the temperature dropped and a cold wind froze the Keys Park faithful Rob Smith’s men tried in vain to equalise. The away side saw Stride and Perrow shoot wide when well placed before Price proved himself a Scholars hero in the final minute.
The Pitmen made a final desperate push for an equaliser, Clements took two corners in succession and Chasetown hacked clear on two occasions before Elliott Durrell broke free through the Chasetown back five but Price was there to deny the striker as Hednesford’s long unbeaten home run came to an end.
The away side came to Keys Park with the intention of closing down and harrying the Hednesford midfield and did well to nullify the threat of the usually dangerous Jamey Osborne and Chris Clements. Kyle Haynes showed real impetus in the opening half with marauding runs down the right flank but Rob Smith’s side failed to make their possession pay with a goal and move into 2012 in a solid play-off position fuming from a disappointing local derby defeat.
The Pitmen now travel to Stafford Rangers to restore an even bigger and more passionate rivalry on January 2nd, with the Marston Road outfit looking to avenge their incredible 5-4 defeat earlier this season.
Crane, Haynes, Campion ©, Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny (Landell 75), Osborne (Jevons 70), Clements, Robinson, Danks (Wellecomme 65), Durrell
Subs Not Used
Price, Farmer, Branch, Slater, Turner, Teesdale ©, Hands, Stride (62), Smith (Edwards 90), Perrow, Bridgwater,
Subs Not Used
Westwood, Wright, Downes, Birt
Smith, Hands, Bridgwater, Campion, Durrell
Attendance – 1606
Star Man – Richard Teesdale
Entertainment Rating – 3 stars
HT Score – 0-0