Hednesford Town ended life in the Vanarama National League North with a defeat against play-off chasing Nuneaton Town.
Pitman manager Kyle Patterson suffered a triple setback before the game with Jack Truelove and Mo Cham both missing out to due to injury and illness, while Phil Trainer suffered a car breakdown on his way to the game – with no recovery available in time – leaving Hednesford with just 14 players, including Patterson.
The home side started the game on the front foot as they looked to break into the top five, and Elliott Whitehouse saw a header fly over the bar in the sixth minute.
After 20 minutes Hednesford gradually came more into the game and there were calls for a penalty as Tom Peers was barged in the back but the officials waved play on.
Sean Williams then drifted a shot well over the bar before Hednesford’s Francino Francis made a great clearance just as Whitehouse was about to shoot for goal.
Midway through the half a horrendous hailstorm hit the ground but the teams played on and Whitehouse saw another chance come and go just before the half hour mark.
Hednesford’s best chance of the half arrived after 31 minutes when Peers dribbled past three Nuneaton players before laying the ball off to Williams who saw his shot from the edge of the box superbly saved by Jordan Smith.
A minute later Paul Ennis saw a snap shot from 30 yards saved before Danny Glover watched his header clawed away from in front of goal in the 42nd minute.
This would prove crucial as the home side won a free-kick on the edge of the box a minute before the break and Shane Byrne delivered a great dead ball into the top corner to give the hosts the lead.
Although Peers saw a shot saved in the opening exchanges of the second half it was the home side who were well on top.
It came as no surprise when Nuneaton doubled their lead on the hour mark. The Pitmen had failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Marlon Harewood with the experienced striker firing low into the corner to double his side’s lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the away side nine minutes later when they were reduced to ten men as Jonathan Royle was dismissed after sliding through the back of a Nuneaton player.
The home side added a third in the 76th minute when a free-kick was back-heeled to James Reid and his low driven effort defeated Lloyd Ransome in the Town goal.
Just when it seemed as if things couldn’t get any worse for the Pitmen this season, it did. As the game headed towards its conclusion, with five minutes to go the visitors were forced to bring substitute goalkeeper Dan Crane on up front with Marvin Robinson hobbling off with a calf injury to end a forgettable season for Hednesford.
Nuneaton Town: Smith, Elliott, Warburton, Morgan, Maguire, Rowe-Turner, Scott, Byrne, Harewood (Ironside 64), Whitehouse (Reid 53), Daniels
Subs not used: Waite, Lane, De Le Paz
Hednesford Town: Ransome, Digie (Robinson 64 (Crane 85)), Fitzwater, Bailey, Francis, Ennis, Williams, Royle, Glover, Thomas, Peers
Subs not used: Patterson
Star Man: Sean Williams
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars