Hednesford Town threw away a golden opportunity to make ground on the teams above them in the play-off race as Kendal Town scored two goals in three minutes to recover from a 2-1 deficit and secure their first win in five matches.
Lax defending cost The Pitmen dear but a disallowed goal when, after Chris Clements had thumped the cross bar, Nick Wellecomme nodded into an empty net from two yards out looked to have given the home side the lead when the scores stood at 2-2 only for the manic celebrations at Keys Park to be cut short by the referee for seemingly an imaginary infringement.
A rather uneventful first half saw Hednesford dominate in possession and come closest when an outstanding run and cross by Clements set up Wellecomme but somehow Craig Dootson blocked the ball and watched it spin against the foot of the post and bounce clear. The home side were however, given a boost when Adam Farrell saw red for violent conduct after a push on Cheyenne Dunkley on twenty-six minutes.
The Pitmen took the lead when man of the match Clements arrowed a shot through a crowded area after goalkeeper Dootson failed to deal with a corner on the stroke of half time and in a crazy three minute spell in the second half Hednesford just managed to hold onto their ascendency.
First Kevin Leadbetter levelled the scores from the penalty spot after Cheyenne Dunkley felled Alex Taylor on fifty-five minutes, Elliott Durrell was sent off for a second bookable offence before The Pitmen re-took the lead through Nick Wellecomme.
The turning point for the away side came after Danny Williams waltzed through a static reshuffled Hednesford defence after central defender Jermaine Johnson limped off to equalise on seventy-seven minutes.
Despite the setback, Wellecomme looked to all and sundry to have snatched the lead back for The Pitmen only for the referee’s whistle to disallow the goal and, within sixty seconds, Danny Wisdom gave Kendal a 3-2 lead.
Clements forced Dootson into an outstanding save as the midfielder lashed a right-footed volley at goal from a Darren Campion cross with a minute remaining and Chris Shaw headed a long ball inches wide of the post in added time but Kendal hung on for a victory which might cost Hednesford dearly.
Rob Smith’s side have now won just four games in seventeen since December and that statistic is the damning verdict for their play-off hopes. A win against Kendal was a distinct possibility and, with FC
United losing against relegation-threatened Buxton, the chance was there for The Pitmen to draw level on points with fifth place.
The Easter Monday trip to local rivals Chasetown now takes on extra significance, Chris Brindley’s team could all but end Hednesford’s play-off hopes and the Keys Park outfit could conceivably send the Burntwood team spiralling towards relegation.
Crabe, Osborne, Shaw, Dunkley, Johnson (Campion 68), Denny ©, Durrell, Clements (45), Wellecomme (57), Jevons (Landell 79), Ordish (Blakeman 61)
Subs Not Used
Dootson, Winters, Wisdom (79), Tucker, Joseph ©, Dunn, Farrell, Kilford (Donnelly 46), Taylor, Leadbetter (55) (McKevatt 59), Williams (77)
Subs Not Used
Jackson, Osman, Newton
Winters, Kilford, Dunkley, Durrell
HT Score – 1-0
Star Man – Chris Clements
Attendance – 374
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars