Hednesford Town were able to remain top of the Skrill North, although they were made to work hard for it by a Gloucester City side which battled hard to try and end The Pitmen’s unbeaten home run, writes Scott Smith.
Before the game Elliott Durrell picked up his well-deserved Skrill North Player of the Month award for September from Conference representative Colin Peake as he looked to continue his impressive start to the 2013/14 campaign.
In a quiet opening period the home side were the closest to breaking the deadlock when hotshot Durrell saw a shot-cum-cross go narrowly wide at the far post with Michael Lennon, who was lurking inside the six yard box, unable to get on the end of it.
Hednesford were indebted to goalkeeper Dan Crane in the 35th minute as he smothered a low Will Morford effort after Ben Bailey made a rare error in giving away possession to the striker.
This would prove to be a vital save as four minutes later the home side were ahead when Jamey Osborne cut inside and unleashed a low right-footed effort into the net via the post.
Two minutes before the half-time whistle it was 2-0. Osborne picked up the ball 30 yards out and drove forward through the Gloucester defence before easily picking his spot and finishing low into the corner of the net past the advancing Mike Green in the Gloucester goal.
Hednesford made a slow start to the second half and the visitors were almost presented with an opportunity to pull a goal back when Crane handled John Disney’s back pass. Fortunately the wall did its job and the free kick just inside the penalty area was blocked.
Gloucester were back in it though in the 53rd minute. A good through ball caught the Hednesford defence square and with Scott Wilson through on goal Disney felled him in the box. With Matt Regan providing cover the right-back was spared a red card but City’s Tyler Weir punished his error by converting from the spot to make it 2-1.
The game was now very much end-to-end with Crane being forced into a good save from a forceful header before Lennon appealed in vain for two fouls inside the penalty area with defender Jack Harris having a hold of his shirt on both occasions. Disney then reacted quickest to clear the ball away from in front of his own goal as the home side just managed to keep their lead.
Any chance of a comeback from the visitors was snuffed out in the 80th minute though, as Hednesford were awarded a penalty for a foul on Francino Francis. Up stepped the ever reliable Durrell to stroke the ball home into the back of the net from 12 yards.
Hednesford continued to press and although Crane was forced into two good saves at one end, they managed to put a gloss on the scoreline by adding a fourth in stoppage time. The industrious Osborne once again took on the Gloucester backline and his cross picked out an unmarked Neil Harvey at the back post, who was able to tap home into an empty net.
The Pitmen now have a week’s break from action before hosting West Auckland Town at Keys Park next Saturday in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, 3pm kick off.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion (c), Bailey (Regan 51), Francis, Melbourne (Macpherson 75), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey, Lennon (Riley 65), Taylor
Subs not used: Woolfe, Thompson-Brown
Yellow Cards: Disney, Campion, Melbourne, Lennon
Gloucester City: Green, Rawlings, Weir, Coupe (c), Harris (Green 71), Webb, Liddiard, Mullins, Morford, Wilson, Turl (Parker 64)
Subs not used: Groves, Edwards, Mustoe
Yellow Cards: Liddiard
Man of the match: Jamey Osborne
Entertainment Rating: 3/5
[slickr-flickr search=”sets” set=”72157636229441106″ sort=”title” direction=”asc”]
Photos by Colin Rogers