It has often been said that this Hednesford Town team never know when they are beaten, and this was once again demonstrated in the most dramatic of circumstances as they earned all three points in what would turn out to be a memorable afternoon in West Yorkshire, writes Scott Smith.
Despite leading for most of the game through a Kris Taylor strike, it seemed that The Pitmen would be pegged back right at the death following an equaliser for the home side in the third minute of stoppage time. However, up stepped Elliott Durrell with a goal of the season contender less than 30 seconds later, to earn what could well be a vital three points come the end of April.
On a very boggy pitch it was the home side who threatened first when Danny Glover broke clear of the Hednesford back line, however, he blazed his shot well over the bar from just inside the penalty area. The visitors responded well though and soon had a chance of their own as John Disney played in Neil Harvey, only for Bradford goalkeeper John Lamb to palm away his shot on goal.
Hednesford kept up the pressure and after Durrell had seen a low driven effort saved, the opening goal duly arrived. From the resulting save, Jamey Osborne was fouled on the edge of the Bradford box and up stepped Taylor to curl home a beautiful free kick into the top corner of the net after 12 minutes.
Seven minutes later Town were almost two goals to the good. After Harvey had earned his side a corner, from the resulting flag kick Taylor saw his driven effort cleared off the line by Adam Clayton.
Back came Avenue and Hednesford were indebted to Dan Crane for keeping them in front as he superbly tipped an Alex Davidson shot behind for a corner.
Six minutes before the half-time interval came one of the main talking points of the game. As Glover raced clear for the home side, McCone was deemed to have fouled the front man and with him being the last man it seemed as if a red card would follow. However, the referee felt that Glover didn’t have control of the ball and only booked the Hednesford centre half.
Crane was soon in action once again in the second period as he was forced into a good save from Paul Walker after the midfielder had drilled his effort into the ground in the 54th minute.
The game was now very much end-to-end and this was shown in the space of a minute as first Bradford got in behind, but Davidson was unable to finish a flashed cross-in before Osborne saw a low driven effort saved at the other end.
12 minutes from time Hednesford should have really killed off the game as Harvey worked well down the right-hand side and his low cross picked out Dave Macpherson who swept the ball into the grateful arms of Lamb with the goal at his mercy.
As the game ticked over into stoppage time this was when the real drama would arrive though. In the third of four additional minutes the home side eventually broke Hednesford’s disciplined backline as Ross Gardner found room inside the box and his low effort from 12 yards deceived everyone and ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
Town would not be beaten though and from the resulting kick-off the ball was played to Durrell who decided to take things upon himself to win it. After driving forward and dribbling past several Avenue players he calmly slotted home left-footed from the edge of the box to send the travelling Pitmen supporters and the away bench wild in celebration.
Following this most dramatic of victories, Hednesford now have a week’s break from action before making the short trip to Solihull Moors on Saturday 25th January, 3.00pm kick-off.
Bradford Park Avenue:
Lamb, Price (Chilaka 65), Knowles, Marshall, Clayton, Howarth, Davidson, Hotte (C), Glover (Beesley 77), Deacey (Gardner 80 (90+2)), Walker
Subs not used:
Crane, Disney, Campion (C), McCone, Francis, Taylor (14), Osborne (Woolfe 74)(Bailey 90+4), Durrell (90+3), Harvey, Thompson-Brown (Macpherson 60), Thorley
Sub not used:
Man of the Match: Neil Harvey
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
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Photos by Colin Rogers