Hednesford Town were able to avenge the defeat handed out in their last home game of the 2014/15 season by Stalybridge Celtic after defeating them by the same scoreline on the opening day of the new campaign.
The Pitman started well with Tom Thorley firing over and Adam Thomas being denied by Anthony McMillan in the Celtic goal inside the first six minutes.
At the other end, Chris Simm saw an effort saved by Dave Parton after ten minutes while 60 seconds later Hednesford’s Ahmed Obeng was denied a debut goal by the offside flag.
It would be Town that would go ahead in the 16th minute when following a Ben Bailey throw into the box his centre-half partner Curtis Tilt prodded home from close range to open his account for the club.
The home side suffered a blow after 31 minutes when winger Adam Thomas was forced off with a nasty looking shoulder injury and six minutes later they almost conceded as midfielder Kennedy Digie headed narrowly wide of his own post before Paul Ennis cleared a header from John Shaw off the line from the resulting corner.
Back came Town though and Mansfield Town loanee Chris Spencer, who had come on for the injured Thomas, was denied twice in quick succession just before the break.
Five minutes into the second period Parton had to react quickly to palm a Peter Wylie cross-shot over the bar after, while Digie headed wide from a corner at the other end soon after.
Although Celtic had stepped up proceedings in the second half, there looked little danger for the Town back-line, until an equaliser arrived in the 75th minute.
A free-kick into the Hednesford box wasn’t dealt with and Jack Higgins headed home for Celtic from six yards out.
Hednesford didn’t let this get them down though and they responded well, regaining the lead within 30 seconds of the restart. Ennis was able to pick out the perfect through ball to substitute Nathan Modest who shot across McMillan and into the far corner of the net.
The away side were determined to try and leave Keys Park with something if they could and as they attacked at every opportunity they came close to creating an equaliser on more than one occasion, none more so than in the second of the four added minutes when Alex Johnson found room in the home box, but after shooting past Parton his effort was cleared from in front of goal by Bailey with the ball seemingly destined for the net.
The Pitmen held on for an important victory though, even more so given that their next game sees them travelling to title favourites AFC Fylde on Tuesday evening.
Parton, Williams T, James, Bailey, Tilt, Thorley, Ennis (Todd 78), Thomas (Spencer 33), Robinson, Obeng (Modest 64), Digie
Subs not used: Williams S, Heath
McMillan, Wylie, Chippendale, Hughes, Higgins, Shaw, Farrell, Wright (McKenna 64), Simm (Tames 69), Chalmers, Dixon (Johnson 78)
Subs not used: Crowley, Hill
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars
Star Man: Curtis Tilt
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Photos by Colin Rogers