Stalemate At Whaddon Road As Pitmen Hit By Injury Curse ..
Hednesford Town’s best laid plans to secure their first away win of the new season after a maiden victory against Harrogate last week were severely dented by half time at Whaddon Road as first Glenn Walker hobbled off with a foot injury and then influential midfielder Kris Taylor also had to be substituted suffering from a dead leg.
Walker’s troubles looked worse than that of Taylor’s but, with Steve Diggin and James Hurst already out for the majority of September, The Pitmen will be cursing the gods at such a run of bad luck involving key first team players.
The game had started positively for Hednesford as they looked to avenge last season’s woeful 5-1 thrashing and a jinking run from Walker culminated with his cross striking the upright on two minutes and Marvin Robinson shot straight at Mike Green when through on goal 15 minutes in.
Jamey Osborne saw his looping header fall onto the roof of the net on 20 minutes before going down clutching his troublesome shoulder shortly afterwards and, after the departure of Taylor and Walker, replaced by Dominic Dell and Tom Peers respectively, Gloucester captain Billy Jones made an outstanding last ditch tackle on Peers as he bore down on goal just before half time.
The hosts had threatened sporadically during the opening 45 minutes, with Danny Glover making a brave block on a rasping Adam Connolly shot which squirted a foot wide of the post, but as the second half began it was Hednesford again who looked most likely to score in a rather flat game of football.
Darren Campion cut inside from the left wing and shot narrowly over with his right foot and, after substitute Peers had been unluckily booked for dissent, the Chester loanee almost capped his encouraging debut with a goal when he won a free kick down the right and Osborne delivered a superb cross.
Robinson saw his bullet header brilliantly saved at full stretch by Mike Green but Peers could only hit the rebound into the side netting from a tight angle.
Gloucester found their way back into the game and proved they were still a threat with Adam Mann looking particularly dangerous on the right wing. Ashmore had to make a fantastic defensive header underneath his own crossbar after a succession of corners before Mann’s shot from distance was beaten clear by Crane.
Francino Francis had the ball in the net for the away side from another quality Campion ball in but the linesman’s flag was raised quickly to deny the Pitmen support behind the goal the winner they craved.
The big chance came and went in stoppage time for Hednesford as Osborne skipped beyond two challenges, Alex Melbourne’s cross was only partially cleared but Glover, in space at the back post, volleyed a left footed shot over the bar.
Despite an encouraging performance from Chester loanee Tom Peers, a further injury worry over Tom Thorley means The Pitmen limp into Monday’s local derby with Solihull Moors at Keys Park with a squad with no less than five injury concerns.
Crane, Melbourne, Campion ©, McCone, Francis, Taylor (Ashmore 27), Osborne, Thorley, Glover, Robinson (Dell 69), Walker (Peers 20),
Subs Not Used: Price, Bailey, Dell,
M Green (GK), Avery, B Jones ©, Preece, Williams, Connolly, Richards (Chamberlain 82), C Jones (M Green 58), Griffin, Mann (Webb 79), Groves,
Subs Not Used: Hamilton, Wilson,
Bookings – Peers, Preece,
Entertainment Rating – 2 Stars
Star Man – Tom Peers