Hednesford Town made the most of playing against ten men for over an hour as they recorded a convincing 3-0 victory against Oxford City thanks to two goals from debutant Richard Batchelor and a first for Glenn Walker.
The Pitmen were looking to get back to winning ways in the league after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Bradford Park Avenue, whilst also hoping to catch up points on a City side that started the day in the play-off places.
The home side began on the front foot and forced a number of corners inside the opening 15 minutes, all of which were dealt with by the Hednesford defence.
Town were presented with an opening in the 17th minute as following a strong challenge by Ben Bailey he found himself inside the area but instead of shooting he tried to find Steve Diggin and the ball was cut out.
Four minutes later Hednesford were indebted to captain Darren Campion when City midfielder Tom Winters rounded Dan Crane in the Town goal before seeing his shot cleared off the line by Campion and cleared from danger by Chris Westwood.
Five minutes before the break Oxford were reduced to ten men as Declan Benjamin was shown a straight red card for a dangerous two-footed lunge on striker Diggin.
Hednesford made the most of this man advantage in first half stoppage time when Batchelor got on the end of Tom Thorley’s cross to head into the corner of the net.
The second period got off to a lively start and Crane had to react quickly to deny Adi Yussef when he found himself through on goal.
The Pitmen should really have doubled their lead ten minutes into the second period as Thorley broke the offside trap but his driven effort was saved by goalkeeper Nathan Abbey. A second goal would eventually arrive in the 66th minute though as Hednesford broke away from a City corner and Campion’s cross was caressed into the net at the back post by Walker to double his team’s lead.
Three minutes later there would be a lengthy delay in the game as Batchelor took a clearance from Bailey full in the face, leading to the former being forced off for a small time with a bloodied nose.
Hednesford were now exploiting their opponents’ lack of numbers though and passed the ball about with ease as they searched for further goals in the remainder of the game. It wouldn’t be until the 88th minute that a third of the game would arrive though, as another whipped free kick from Thorley found an unmarked Batchelor whose header found the bottom corner to complete a good afternoon’s work for Rob Smith’s men.
The Pitmen now have a week’s break from action before travelling to Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday 1st November, 3.00pm kick off.
Abbey, Benjamin, Stonehouse (Rodrigues 64), Del Alamo (Lapoujade 64), Santiago, Insa, Pond (Isaac 46), Mullings, Yussef, Jackson, Winters
Subs not used: Adefolabi, Henderson
Crane, Melbourne, Campion, Bailey, Westwood, Crowther, Thorley, Walker, Glover (Robinson 89), Diggin (Peers 86), Batchelor
Subs not used: Ashmore, Francis, Price
MotM: Richard Batchelor
Entertainment Rating: Four Stars