Double delight for Pitmen ..
Hednesford Town were able to extend their unbeaten league run to five matches following a composed performance in their match against big-spending Harrogate Town.
The Pitmen’s game against Harrogate had only got the go-ahead after an early inspection following a heavy overnight frost. Despite this, when Hednesford arrived at the ground there were still some concerns from the match officials about frozen areas of the pitch. With both sides agreeing to give it a go it was decided to carry on as normal.
Hednesford started the game very much on the front foot and were unlucky not to test home goalkeeper Phil Crook when Paul McCone’s header was blocked and cleared away for a corner with Richard Batchelor firing over from the set piece.
Despite dominating the opening exchanges, the Pitmen almost fell behind when a clearance from Glenn Walker struck a Harrogate man in the box and spun wide of the upright.
In the 22nd minute Steve Diggin worked half a chance for himself when he got in down the left of the Harrogate defence before curling his effort just wide of the post.
Eight minutes later Hednesford were indebted to goalkeeper Dan Crane for keeping them in it as Jordan Thewlis broke clear, but the shot-stopper reacted quickly to smother the first time attempt.
This proved to be pivotal with Hednesford taking the lead in the 36th minute. Full-back James Hurst strode forward and cut inside onto his left-foot before unleashing a thunderbolt of an effort into the top corner of the Harrogate net.
Hednesford continued to push forward and they made it 2-0 six minutes later as Walker’s cross was flicked on by Diggin and defender Ben Bailey was on hand to fire home from a couple of yards out.
Three minutes into the second period the home side had half a chance to reduce the arrears only for Paul Clayton to head wide from ten yards out.
The home side continued to press and in the space of sixty seconds Thewlis tested the Hednesford back line twice with his first shot being blocked before Crane punched his second behind for a corner.
Back came the Pitmen though and Diggin was unfortunate not to find the net on the hour mark as his fizzing effort stung the palms of Crook.
With 11 minutes remaining, Harrogate thought that they had pulled a goal back when Jake Speight slotted home from inside the six-yard box. They were to be denied by a flag from the assistant referee with the striker in an offside position.
The home side knew it wasn’t to be their day in the 83rd minute as Luke Shiels saw his header hit the top of the bar from point-blank range.
Following a lengthy stoppage due to a head injury to McCone, the game eventually restarted and Hednesford saw out the remaining minutes to record a fine victory on the road as they continued their unbeaten start to 2015.
Harrogate Town: Crook, Bloomer, Meynell, Shiels, Franks, Milligan (Swain 53), Kerry (Nowakowski 46), Fallowfield, Clayton, Thewlis (Walshaw 65), Speight
Subs not used: Turner, Nelthorpe
Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion, Bailey, McCone, Thorley, Osborne (Melbourne 90), Walker, Diggin (Robinson 87), Thomas (Westwood 90), Batchelor
Sub not used: Sullivan
Entertainment Rating: Four Stars
Man of the Match: Ben Bailey