There have been some big games in the tenure of Hednesford Town manager Rob Smith; Crawley Town in the FA Cup, Stafford Rangers in the league, North Ferriby last season and of course FC United in the play-off final being the biggest of the lot, but there have also been games seen as turning points in his successful reign.
Grantham away from home a couple of years ago has been noted by Smith himself as a major turning point, the first victory over FC United in 2012 and Stalybridge Celtic to open this season go down as three fixtures which signpost the Smith era. Tomorrow’s game against Guiseley could go down as another one.
The Lions had a poor start to the season and but were lurking in mid table with numerous games in hand on the teams above them until February. Guiseley have turned on the style in astonishing fashion since then.
Saturday marks the seventh straight week where they have played on a Saturday and then in midweek and in that time their record reads, won 10 drawn 3, including a superb 6-1 rout of title favourites Telford United and a 5-0 win against Vauxhall Motors in recent weeks.
The Pitmen currently lie four points inside the play off places ahead of Boston United and seven ahead of fading Brackley Town with four games remaining, so a result, win or draw, against the form team in the division, would give Hednesford a fantastic base to build on in the final three games.
Smith though echoes the thoughts of a number of senior members of his squad in approaching the fixture fully aware of the threat Guiseley pose.
‘To me they are the best team in the division. They had a poor start but are full of quality players and are on an unbelievable run. At their place we did not get a kick for 45 minutes and should have been four down at half time before showing real character to win 2-1.
‘The fact they have played so many games recently won’t matter either because, when you get on a winning run, you just want to keep playing games. It’s only when you are losing that tired legs kick in. Also, they have a squad to cope with it, the Guiseley subs bench and players not even in the 16 would be first choice in most teams.’
Jamey Osborne and Nathan Woolfe will once again be absent from the playing squad with injury but the Hednesford faithful will be looking to the hugely impressive Marvin Johnson and invigorated forward line of Wayne Riley, Charlie Anagho-Ntamark, Danny Glover and Marvin Robinson to fire their team to a stunning victory.
With Boston United no doubt hoping to win at least three of their final four matches, including a meeting with title chasing North Ferriby, The Pitmen once again have their play-off destiny in their own hands as the finishing line approaches.
This game has the feeling of another potentially pivotal moment in the amazing success story which has unfolded at Keys Park in the last three years.
Hednesford Town Form – LWWWDW
Previous Result – Gainsborough Trinity 1-2 Hednesford Town – The Skrill North – Saturday 5th April 2014
Next Fixture – Tamworth (A) – Birmingham Senior Cup Semi Final – Tuesday 15th April 2014
League Position – 4th
Guiseley Form – WWDWWW
Previous Result – Guiseley 3-1 Gainsborough Trinity – The Skrill North – Tuesday 8th April 2014
Next Fixture – Harrogate Town (H) – The Skrill North – Tuesday 15th April 2014
League Position – 5th
KO – 3:07pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 4FD