Hednesford Town made it four league wins on the bounce, and five victories on the spin in all competitions, following a confident performance against fellow in-form side Whitby Town, writes Scott Smith.
A goal in each half from midfield duo, Nathan Woolfe and Jamey Osborne would prove to be enough for the Pitmen, who made it seven league games unbeaten on the road this season whilst moving up to second place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League table at the same time.
It was the hosts who threatened first when Sam Barnes was forced into an excellent recovery tackle inside his own box to snuff out a Whitby chance. While at the other end Woolfe clipped the top of the bar with a 25-yard freekick, after the lively Osborne had been brought down.
This spurred the Pitmen on and they duly took the lead in the 18th minute. John Disney was able to pick up the ball inside the penalty area and his dinked cross beat Whitby keeper Nick Liversedge, with Woolfe on hand to bundle home despite the best efforts of a home defender who cleared the ball away. It appeared though that the officials hadn’t given the goal at first, as both teams played on, only for the referee to point back to the centre circle after receiving an electronic alert from his assistant through his flag. It certainly confused a number of supporters of both sides as there had seemingly been no signal for a goal.
Hednesford almost doubled their lead in the 34th minute as good play by Neil Harvey saw him set up Elliott Durrell, who saw his low curling effort turned behind for a corner by Liversedge.
As halftime neared, the home side almost drew themselves level twice in a matter of minutes. Firstly neither Steve Snaith nor Jordan Hugill could connect with an excellent whipped ball into the box, before Shane Henry saw his header blocked by Darren Campion some five yards from goal.
Into the second half and Hednesford made it 2-0 following a wonderful counter-attack from a Whitby corner. The ball was played out to Woolfe who took on his man before playing in Osborne to slot home past Liversedge for his second goal in as many seasons at the Turnbull Ground.
As the home side pushed on in search of a way back into the game, Hednesford were able to pick their opponents apart at the back. Substitute Michael Lennon almost made it three when he went to round Liversedge, only for the keeper to get a touch and divert it back into his hands. Aaron Rey then saw his header cleared off the line before Ben Bailey poked wide at the back post following a Woolfe freekick.
The visitors should have perhaps made it 3-0 with virtually the last kick of the game as substitute Luke Bottomer broke forward, only to be denied by Liversedge with neither Durrell nor Lennon able to capitalise. In the end two goals would be enough though as Hednesford picked up another important three points ahead of their FA Trophy clash against Romulus next Sunday, 11th November 2pm kickoff.
Whitby Town: Liversedge, Hassan, Robinson, White (Tait 73), James, McTiernan, Portas, Henry, Snaith, Hugill (Armstrong 59), Corker
Subs not used: Williams, Burgess, Campbell
Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (Macpherson 66), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (Lennon 69), Rey (Bottomer 81), Woolfe
Subs not used: Francis, O’Connor
Man of the match: Sam Barnes