Hednesford Town boss Rob Smith declared he was simply happy to have secured the three points after seeing his side overcome a young and spirited Histon side at a bitterly cold Keys Park, with a goal apiece from Marvin Robinson and Nathan Woolfe on Saturday afternoon.
‘We are just very happy to have got the win as our performance was not one of the better ones we have put in this season. We are struggling a little at the moment, so today was all about grinding out the result. We have identified six wins to get us in the play-offs and now we only need five more.’
A tepid first half was notable only for a towering header by Nathan Blissett which was ruled out, probably correctly for offside and a clash between Hednesford left-back Darren Campion and Histon midfielder Lewis Taaffe which saw the former booked for a push of the head towards the latter, who was also carded for a shameful reaction which brought the ire of the Keys Park faithful.
Blissett limped off before the break with an ankle injury to be replaced by Marvin Robinson and it was the two substitutes who helped spring the game into life after half time.
Wayne Riley, having replaced Paul Sullivan who was ineffectual through lack of service in the opening 45 minutes, skipped past Peter Grant’s tackle, saw his shot saved superbly by Charlie Grainger only for Nathan Woolfe to tap in from six yards out to open the scoring in the 51st minute.
Hednesford’s lead was doubled three minutes later when a superb pass by Tom Thorley found Robinson who finished well past the goalkeeper.
The sense of relief around the ground was palpable but Histon quickly halved the deficit with the goal of the game when Nathan Hicks hit an unstoppable volley past Dan Crane 60 seconds after Hednesford’s second goal.
To the credit of Histon’s young side, once Robinson had missed a great chance to put the game to bed just past the hour mark, they pushed forward in search of an equaliser and nearly found it when Grant picked up a loose ball and hit a left foot volley which looped over Crane and onto the top of the cross bar.
Paul McCone and Ben Bailey, at the heart of Hednesford’s defence, repelled the attacks of the away side, ably assisted by substitute Dave Macpherson, to ensure The Pitmen stay on course for a play-off spot so craved by the teams behind them.
A tricky looking trip to fifth placed Boston United follows next Saturday for The Pitmen and marks what is, on paper at least, their biggest away fixture remaining this season.
Any fans looking to travel on the Supporters Club Coach, please contact Ken Leese on 07935 723290, prices are £17.50 Adults, £14.50 Concessions and the coach departs at 10am from Keys Park.
Crane, Disney, Campion (capt), McCone, Bailey, Melbourne, Osborne, Woolfe (51), Blissett (Robinson 38 (53) Macpherson 70), Sullivan (Riley 46), Thorley
Subs Not Used
Grainger, O’Malley, Beckles (capt), De Havilland (Freeman 46), Grant, Roberts, Taaffe (Built 83), Dowie, Yussaf, Hicks (54), Sheppard (Day 75)
Subs Not Used
Booked: Campion, Disney; Taaffe
Star Man – Paul McCone
Entertainment Rating – 3/5
[slickr-flickr search=”sets” set=”72157641452774803″ sort=”title” direction=”asc”]
Photos by Colin Rogers