Hednesford Town suffered their second consecutive league loss during a forgettable afternoon in Manchester. Two second half goals were enough to see off Rob Smith’s side in a game which might have seen a greater margin of victory for the home side if they had brought their finishing boots with them.
There were three changes to the side that had started at Marine earlier in the week with Darren Campion and Jamey Osborne missing out due to suspension, while Ben Bailey dropped down to the substitutes bench. This meant debuts for centre-back Jermaine Johnson and left-back Michael Ricketts (pictured), while Andre Landell came in on the right-hand side of midfield.
Town were the brighter side in the opening exchanges and almost took the lead in the second minute. The ball fell nicely to Mark Beesley inside the United box and his low shot was just turned away by James Spencer in the home goal.
The Pitmen actually had the ball in the net on 22 minutes but Ben Jevons low effort was ruled out by an offside flag.
Five minutes before the break the home side should have really been ahead. A mazy run by United’s Stephen Johnson saw him get a shot off towards goal which Dan Crane was able to parry away. FC striker Mike Norton picked up the loose ball; rounded Crane but somehow put into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.
The home side did go ahead seven minutes into the second half though. Another bursting run by Johnson saw him get to the by-line and his cross was headed home by the onrushing Matthew Wolfenden.
This started a prolonged period of pressure from the home side and they could have doubled their tally twice in a matter of minutes as first Crane made a fine save from Norton before Wolfenden saw Ricketts clear his effort off the line.
Soon afterwards United captain Kyle Jacobs saw a low effort blocked before the dangerous Carlos Roca fizzed an effort right across the Pitman goal.
Despite being on the back-foot for the majority of the half Hednesford had a great chance to equalise in the 73rd minute. A glorious through ball from Chris Clements found substitute Marvin Robinson on his own, but his shot was smothered behind by Spencer.
After a number of further chances for the home side the game was finally put beyond doubt nine minutes from time. United’s Johnson picked the ball up on the right-hand side and delivered a wonderful cross to the back post where Norton was waiting to head home.
The Pitmen’s poor afternoon was almost made worse in stoppage time as FC’s Astley Mulholland struck the post from six yards out, before the referee finally blew the full-time whistle.
Hednesford must now turn their attentions towards Tuesday evening’s home game against Northwich Victoria; 7.45pm kick off at Keys Park.
FC United of Manchester: Spencer, Jacobs, Battersby, Cottrell, Jones, Stones, Roca (Mulholland 70), Wolfenden (Platt 82), Norton, Stott, Johnson (Boland 87)
Subs not used: Grimshaw, Tierney
Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Ricketts, Dunkley, Johnson, Denny, Landell (Durrell 58), Clements, Beesley, Hay (Robinson 63), Jevons (Blakeman 64)
Subs not used: Bailey, Suckling
Report by: Scott Smith