Moore Special Downs Town …
Despite a spirited second half performance from Rob Smith’s Hednesford Town side, in the end another fantastic strike from Stefan Moore for the second match in succession against The Pitmen saw Leamington once again claim the spoils in a close encounter at Keys Park, writes Scott Smith.
Smith made just one change to the side which had been defeated on the opening day of the season at Gainsborough Trinity, with Tom Thorley coming in for Alex Melbourne in midfield, whilst on the bench Joey Butlin, who had signed earlier in the day, and Dave Macpherson came in for Brad Smith and Ryan Price respectively.
The game was less than a minute old when Moore almost opened the scoring for the visitors. A flick over the top found the former Aston Villa man inside the 18-yard box and as Dan Crane came out to narrow the angle the front man pulled his shot just past the far post, to the relief of most inside Keys Park.
Hednesford then suffered a blow as Thorley was forced off with a nasty cut above his eye in the ninth minute, with Melbourne coming on to replace him.
It would be Leamington who would strike first in the 20th minute as a cross on the left-hand-side from Danny Newton was palmed onto the crossbar by Town goalkeeper Dan Crane, leaving Lee Moore with the simplest of chances to score from six-yards out.
The first period was a tight affair with little else really to talk about, apart from right on the stroke of half-time which saw one of the stranger decisions from the officials as Kris Taylor slid in and clearly took the ball, only to be booked to the amazement of most inside the stadium.
The start of the second period saw Hednesford switching to a 4-4-2 formation with Paul Sullivan coming on in place of Ben Bailey, however the striker would only last 12 minutes before having to be substituted after appearing to pull his hamstring.
Despite this misfortune, the home side had come out with renewed vigour in the second half and they almost drew level in the 62nd minute when Francino Francis saw his diving header strike the post and bounce away to safety, whilst nine minutes later substitute Marvin Robinson saw his header strike the crossbar after a great header back across goal from Paul McCone had set the striker up.
It looked as though Hednesford’s luck might just be in however, as in the 80th minute they dragged themselves level as Danny Glover headed home Kris Taylor’s beautifully placed free kick into the penalty area to level the scores once again.
It was now all one-way traffic and Town almost grabbed a second goal just two minutes later as Glenn Walker dug out a cross which Alex Melbourne fired first time onto the base of the post, before the ball was deflected behind for a corner.
The Pitmen were to be dealt a cruel blow though in the 87th minute when a ball down the middle fell to the striker Moore who lobbed Crane from 30 yards and the ball sailed into the back of the net ultimately to claim all three points on the evening.
Hednesford will be looking to respond on Saturday when a Harrogate Town side, which is fancied to push for the title this season, visits Keys Park, 3pm kick-off.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Ashmore, Campion, Bailey (Sullivan 46 (Robinson 57)), Francis, McCone, Osborne, Taylor, Glover, Walker, Thorley (Melbourne 9)
Subs not used: Butlin, Macpherson
Leamington: Collett, Mace, Morley, Magunda, Pierpoint, Tank, L Moore (Connelly 90), Goddard, S Moore, Newton, Batchelor (Edwards 71)
Subs not used: Hubbins, Naylor, Maher
Man of the Match: Paul McCone
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars