In the end Hednesford Town would have to settle for second place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with there being little last day drama at the top of the table, writes Scott Smith.
Hednesford knew they had to better league leaders North Ferriby United’s result if they were to have any chance of gaining the coveted one automatic place. Although they were able to pick up a fine 2-1 victory at AFC Fylde news elsewhere meant that it turned out to be almost irrelevant.
The Pitmen settled the better of the two sides in the blustery conditions and almost took the lead in the 9th minute, only for Michael Lennon to see his goalbound effort deflected behind for a corner.
It would be Rob Smith’s side who would make the breakthrough on the half hour mark as, following some quick interplay, Elliott Durrell burst forward into the box and finished delightfully right-footed into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.
Just two minutes later and the home side were level. A long throw into the penalty area wasn’t dealt with and just as Dave Macpherson went to clear the ball striker James Dean was able to nip in before him and bundle it home.
Hednesford thought they had regained the lead just four minutes before the break as John Disney slotted home after Durrell had seen an effort saved, only for the offside flag to deny the defender.
As the second half wore on and news of a second goal for Ferriby filtered through to the Hednesford supporters, the game went into a bit of a lull as both sides contemplated the thought of taking on each other again in the play offs in just a few days’ time.
Chances were seemingly at a premium with Lennon for Town and Aaron Fleming for the hosts both misfiring when in front of goal.
The final ten minutes saw Hednesford press forward for the three points just in case there was to be any slip up from Ferriby and both Durrell and Alex Melbourne saw efforts cleared away from in front of goal in the space of a few seconds.
However a winner would arrive for Town in the 85th minute. Substitute Aaron Rey was able to get past his marker before superbly slotting home to send the hordes of travelling supporters into raptures as they hoped for some late drama elsewhere.
In the end though it wasn’t to be and following three minutes of stoppage time the Hednesford team were applauded from the pitch after picking up the runners-up trophy and medals for their fantastic efforts over the course of the last nine months.
Smith must now prepare his team for Tuesday evening’s play off clash with Fylde which will take place at Keys Park, 7.45pm kick off.
Hinchliffe, Haslam, Carden, Taylor, Steel, Dorney, Booth, Winter, Dean, McCarthy, Berry (Fleming 55)
Subs not used: Farrell, Denson, Breeze, Hughes
Crane, Disney, Campion (c), Bailey, Francis, Macpherson (Woolfe 64), Osborne (Melbourne 53), Durrell, Harvey, Lennon (Rey 75), Taylor
Subs not used: O’Connor, Barnes
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