Hednesford Town earned their first three point haul in the league since October 3rd with a vital and well earned 2-0 victory over AFC Telford United that also saw the Pitmen move out of the bottom three.
Although Kyle Perry managed a snap shot that just went wide from the edge of the box in the 10th minute, proceedings started slowly in Frank Sinclair’s first home game in charge of the Pitmen with a number of stoppages due to injuries.
None more so than when Telford goalkeeper James Montgomery dislocated a finger (which after the game was reported to have been broken) in the 16th minute with the match being stopped for over five minutes as he received treatment – much to the disgruntlement of the home support.
This seemed to affect the flow of the game and it took some time for it to really get into any kind of rhythm.
Telford saw a big chance come and go in the 39th minute as Sean Clancy burst through following a mix-up in the back line, but he lifted the ball over both Town goalkeeper Dan Crane and the crossbar.
Three minutes later Hednesford would make the visitors pay for this when they went ahead. Defender Matt Regan managed to work some room down the left before he whipped in a wonderful ball to Perry who powered a header home via the underside of the bar.
Telford almost responded straight away when a short throw picked out Clancy and his cross into the box picked out Richard Peniket who buried his header past Dan Crane, but the offside flag was already raised.
Despite this chance the hosts sensed a second goal and it duly arrived in the third of eight added minutes of stoppage time in the first half. Paul Ennis was able to break forward and his precise ball into the box found Adam Thomas who drilled home high into the net from the edge of the box.
Although the visitors forced a number of set pieces early on in the second half they only had a Tom Tonks half shot-cum-cross to show for any effort on target, while the midfielder also blazed another one over the bar.
Hednesford should have really wrapped things up in the 74th minute when the lively Thomas picked out Ben Bailey, but the defender air-kicked when well placed in front of goal before Perry saw his follow-up shot blocked.
Another free-kick for the visitors a minute later saw Jack Deaman power a header wide of the post while Town substitute Andy Todd headed an effort over the bar at the back post with seven minutes to go.
With the game seemingly drawing to a quiet conclusion, in the 86th minute Hednesford were reduced to ten men. A coming together with both sets of players saw the Pitmen’s Phil Trainer, who had put in a real shift all afternoon, dismissed for an incident which was spotted by the assistant referee.
In the end though the two goals just before half-time proved to be enough for Sinclair to claim his first win as Town manager and set his side up nicely for the trips to FC United of Manchester and Telford that are next on the horizon.
Hednesford Town: Crane, T Williams, Regan, Bailey, Digie, Trainer, Obeng (Todd 76), S Williams, Perry, Ennis, Thomas (Disney 90)
Subs not used: Ransome, Johnson, James
AFC Telford United: Montgomery, Samuels, Brownhill (Hassan 67), Wynter (Austin 46), Hutchinson, Deaman, Tonks, Rea, Hibbert, Peniket (Rowe 46), Clancy
Subs not used: Dawson, Reid
Star Man: Adam Thomas
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars