Hednesford Town endured a nightmare start to a crunch Skrill North match as fourth and fifth place clashed and Guiseley stormed into a two goal lead within the opening 16 minutes, only to see The Pitmen, not for the first time this season, show immense character to turn the tides and win the game 3-2, hugely increasing their chance of a play-off spot in the process.
Guiseley went into the game on the back of a 14 match unbeaten run and started with real purpose as Adam Boyes and Alex Johnson gave the Hednesford defence a real headache.
The score should already have been 1-0 by the time the away side opened the scoring as Dan Crane, a hero against Gainsborough last week, denied Johnson with a strong save at the striker’s feet.
Crane could do nothing on 12 minutes though as Gavin Rothery sent in a pinpoint pass from the right wing and Johnson slotted home from three yards out.
The Pitmen were rocked by the opening goal and the second for The Lions came within four minutes as Johnson outpaced Paul McCone, only to see Crane pull off another outstanding save, but the loose ball fell invitingly to Adam Boyes who rifled his shot, left footed on the volley, into the net from 18 yards.
The game looked to be up for the home side but a strongly won header by Danny Glover opened up the Guiseley defence for Tom Thorley to run at and the all action midfielder swept the ball past Steven Drench into the corner to make the score 2-1 inside 19 minutes.
A strongly contested and end to end match continued to bring goalmouth incident as on the half hour mark the Hednesford fans rejoiced when a ball into the box was tapped in by McCone two yards out to level the scores.
Just four minutes later Keys Park erupted when a long throw by Ben Bailey wasn’t dealt with by the Guiseley defence and Glover was able to finish at the back post to make it unbelievably 3-2 to The Pitmen.
A tetchy streak entered the game as the referee booked no less than five players for varying misdemeanours before the half time whistle but it was in the second half when Hednesford’s hitherto unsafe defence performed admirably and formed the bedrock of a rousing backs to the wall effort alongside man of the match Dave Macpherson and Thorley in midfield, which totally limited Guiseley’s chances on goal.
With Hednesford midfielder Kris Taylor making an emotional return to football after a two month lay-off fighting testicular cancer, Keys Park rose to salute a team who, at the start of the season, were unfancied outsiders but now have their destiny very much in their own hands as the final three games approach.
Crane, Disney, Campion (capt), Bailey, McCone (30), Macpherson, Riley, Johnson (Lennon 90), Glover (34) (Robinson 76), Melbourne (Taylor 86), Thorley (19)
Subs Not Used
Drench, Holdsworth (capt), Meynell, Hall, Ellis, Lawlor (Forrest 84), Brooksby, Boshell, Boyes (16), Johnson (12) (Holsgrove 73 (Johnson 87)), Rothery
Subs Not Used
Bookings – Disney, Campion, Johnson, Thorley; Drench, Hall, Brooksby,
Star Man – Dave Macpherson
Entertainment Rating – 5 Stars
Attendance – 574
Words by Chris Brewerton
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Photos by Colin Rogers