After travelling over 500 miles in the last two fixtures, Hednesford Town secured a point away to bottom placed Workington which, when looked at in the general scheme of things, was a satisfactory result, leaving The Pitmen still sitting pretty at the summit of the Skrill North.
Dave Macpherson, Darren Campion, Aaron Rey and Neil Harvey were all missing for The Pitmen and, with Wayne Riley furrowing a lonely channel up front for most of the first half, Workington took advantage of a depleted Hednesford line up.
Elliott Durrell, playing on the left wing, cut in on his right foot and hit a shot inches wide of the post shortly before the opening goal for Workington which came shortly after Daniel Forrest had struck a half volley from distance against the post.
Despite starting his first game for the Pitmen encouragingly, a misjudgement by debutant Paul McCone on 13 minutes left his back pass short of Dan Crane and, although the keeper made a brave save from Forrest, the ball fell to Joe Jackson who couldn’t miss from six yards out.
Alex Melbourne was sacrificed by Rob Smith and replaced by Michael Lennon at half time as Hednesford chased an equaliser, but it was Jamey Osborne who restored parity as he finished smartly from a Ben Bailey long throw on 48 minutes.
The Pitmen suddenly showed the confidence and momentum they had been lacking in the first half, but that impetus lasted just seven minutes as Jackson set up Forrest for Workington’s second goal.
To their credit, Hednesford didn’t allow themselves to be rocked by the setback and, after Lennon headed against the bar from a Durrell corner, Ben Bailey reacted quickest to stroke the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble on 70 minutes.
The final 20 minutes saw both teams trying their hardest to break the deadlock but John Disney, along with the imperious centre half pairing of Ben Bailey and Francino Francis, ensured no chances were created for Workington.
In truth, The Pitmen could have snatched the win after playing the better football in the second half, with Robbie Thompson-Brown and Kris Taylor a constant source of busy running and well-judged passing.
Hednesford’s big chance came with only 2 minutes remaining when a Taylor corner curled into the area, Bailey jumped highest and headed towards goal only for Anthony Wright to do his job on the far post and hack the ball off the line.
Michael Lennon found a yard of space with the final kick of the game, but he was smothered at the near post and, with that, the referee blew for full time to give both sets of supporters a feeling of satisfaction ahead of their FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round ties next Saturday.
Crane, McCone, Disney, Bailey (70), Francis (c), Melbourne (Lennon 46), Osborne (48), Durrell, Riley, Woolfe (Thompson-Brown 51), Taylor
Subs Not Used
Rey, Campion, Macpherson
Wimmer, McLuckie, Wright, May (c), Andrews, Skelton (Hindmarch 85), Allison (Wilson 77), Lynch, Jackson (13), Forrest (55), Tinnion (McLean 77)
Subs Not Used
Bookings – McLuckie
Star Man – Francino Francis
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars
Attendance – 442
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Photos by Colin Rogers