After six league victories since the start of the season, Hednesford Town’s perfect record at Keys Park was brought to an end by a tenacious and ultimately superior Harrogate Town side, who themselves can now harbour genuine belief of breaking into the play-off places.
The Pitmen, looking to make amends after last Saturday’s 5-1 humbling away at Gloucester City, started positively and took the lead four minutes into the game through loan signing Greg Pearson.
The goal stemmed from a rapid Harrogate attack which saw one Ben Bailey against no less than four offensive players. However, the move broke down, Bailey cleared the ball into the path of Elliott Durrell whose pinpoint ball in was missed by Neil Harvey only for Pearson to bury the loose ball.
Pearson had two further chances in a lively first half performance and Harvey should have added a second on the stroke of half time when Jamey Osborne glided through two challenges and set up Durrell to cross, only for the striker to misdirect his header wide.
Hednesford would rue their profligacy in front of goal as within two minutes of the restart Harrogate levelled through Liam Hardy as he pounced on a loose ball at the back post and, with the game swinging from end to end, it was the away side who grabbed two late goals.
Osborne headed wide, found by a superb cross from man-of-the-match Tom Thorley, just before another Harrogate corner wasn’t cleared to allow Chris Hall to turn and sweep the ball past Crane on 84 minutes.
The Pitmen tried in vain against a resolute Harrogate back line to force an equaliser before Cleveland Taylor, albeit with a hint of offside, rolled in a third in the dying moments of the match.
Despite a third league defeat in succession The Pitmen still sit inside the play off places and, with games in hand on the teams above them, are still firmly in the promotion mix ahead of Saturday’s home match versus Stalybridge Celtic.
Crane, McCone, Campion (c), Bailey, Francis, Taylor (Woolfe 88), Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (Eminoglu 75), Pearson (4) (Riley 88), Thorley,
Subs Not Used
MacGillvray, Bloomer, Nelthorpe, Bolder, Franks, Killock (c), Hardy (47) (Hall 75 (84)), Abbott, Worsfold, Woods (Taylor 83 (90+4)), Sellars (Nowakowski 46),
Subs Not Used
Bookings – Bailey, McCone, Osborne, Bolder, Hardy, Sellars, Nowakowski,
Star Man – Tom Thorley
Entertainment Rating – 3 Stars
Attendance – 458
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Photos by Colin Rogers