Danny Glover bagged the first hat trick of his Hednesford career as The Pitmen brushed aside bottom of the league Hyde at Keys Park with a performance that was certainly more like that demanded by their manager, Rob Smith, after Tuesday’s frustrating defeat against Colwyn Bay.
Inconsistency has been the real problem for Hednesford so far this season, but despite Hyde playing with admirable heart and commitment, after Glover scored the opening goal with a wonderful free kick after just four minutes, the home side always looked likely to record a timely home win.
Glover’s free kick, to add to the one he scored against Harrogate Town in September, was an absolute peach and gave Billy O’Brien in the Hyde goal absolutely no chance.
In fairness to Hyde they did fashion an opportunity to get right back into the game shortly after the goal when Tom Bentham outpaced Chris Westwood and found himself clean through, but a heavy touch gave Crane the chance to come out and collect.
Westwood looked very assured after that initial worry, the onset of age has no doubt dampened his pace but his positioning in central defence alongside Ben Bailey was exemplary all afternoon.
Having this solid base to build attacks from massively helped The Pitmen, playing what at times almost looked like a 4-2-4, with Paul Sullivan, Tom Peers and Danny Glover being joined in attack by either Tom Thorley or Jamey Osborne and their second goal duly came on 31 minutes when Sullivan’s perfectly weighted header back found Glover, whose low shot found the net off the far left upright.
Connor Hughes struck the post for Hyde shortly after the second goal and Crane had to be alert in smothering Steve Tames when the striker advanced into the penalty area from the left wing as the visitors gallantly looked to score a goal for the handful of hardy souls who had followed the Manchester side away from home.
Unfortunately for Hyde, Keys Park could relax after Chris Westwood bundled in a third goal on 55mins after questionable goalkeeping from O’Brien had presented the defender with a tap in from a yard out.
Glover then had the opportunity to secure his hat trick, but desperate defending on the line prevented his left foot shot from finding the net and Steve Diggin’s follow up was also hacked clear.
Luckily for the ginger haired striker he was not to be denied, as Alex McQuade scythed him down in the area and, much to the amazement of the watching crowd, only received a booking for his troubles, before Glover confidently despatched the penalty into the corner.
Hyde managed a consolation goal at the end when Darren Campion was adjudged to have used more than his shoulder in a coming together with Reece Gray in stoppage time.
Hughes converted the penalty but in what was a strangely muted atmosphere at Keys Park in the second half, Hednesford easily collected three important points.
Crane, Melbourne, Campion, Bailey, Westwood (55), Crowther (Love 69), Osborne, Peers (Ashmore 62), Glover (4, 29, 68p), Sullivan (Diggin 57), Thorley
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Price
O’Brien, Brizell (c), Brownhill, Lomax, McQuade, Giverin (Riley 69), Hughes (90p), Blakeman (O’Connor 46), Bentham, Tames, Gray
Subs Not Used: Conchie, West, McNiven
Bookings – Bailey, McQuade, Blakeman, Gray
Attendance – 504