Hednesford Town’s opening fixture of the season against Spennymoor Town turned out to be the classic game of two halves as the Pitmen came from behind to claim the points, thanks to three goals in the final half an hour.
Liam McDonald’s first league game in-charge of Hednesford saw his new side get off to a slow start and they fell behind in just the fifth minute.
Goalkeeper Dan Crane had already come to claim one through ball but he could do nothing about Craig Gott’s excellent 25 yard effort after the midfielder had been allowed time and space to pick his spot in the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors should really have doubled their lead in the 14th minute when a corner fell to the feet of defender James Curtis, but he fired wide of the upright from 12 yards.
Hednesford’s first effort on target came four minutes later when Tristian Dunkley saw a shot saved from the edge of the box.
The Pitmen suffered another blow in the 33rd minute when defender Francino Francis was forced off with an injury to his neck.
Nine minutes before the break Ashley Sammons thought he had brought his new side level only for Spennymoor goalkeeper Andrew Rafferty to turn the ball behind at the last minute with a smart low save.
McDonald’s side started the second half in determined mood and Dunkley almost found the leveller two minutes into the second period only to curl his effort just wide of the post.
The visitors meanwhile seemed content with what they had got although Joseph Tait did see a goal-bound effort cleared away.
Hednesford finally brought themselves level in the 61st minute when Sammons hassled Curtis into a mistake and the Pitmen player was able to capitalise to fire into the roof of the net from six yards out.
Five minutes later Sammons ought to have had his second but he fired over from just five yards out after Dunkley had charged down Rafferty’s clearance and fed the ball across the box to the attacking midfielder.
Hednesford suffered a second injury blow of the afternoon midway through the second period when Lewis Wright had to be substituted after suffering a leg injury – leaving midfielder Simeon Maye having to fill in at right-back.
The visitors almost re-took the lead in the 77th minute as Dan Crane was forced into a smart low save to deny Tait, who had managed to gain an extra yard at the back post.
A second Hednesford goal did arrive with ten minutes to go as Dunkley raced on to a through ball and brushed the defender to one side before poking home into the net past the helplessly flatfooted Rafferty.
Just when it looked as if it could be a nervy final five minutes for the Pitmen, they were able to add a third with three minutes to go. Substitute Gurjit Singh broke forward and fired in an effort from 20 yards that took a bobble, deceiving Rafferty in the process, and found the back of the net.
The Pitmen now head to Stourbridge on Monday evening looking to build on this excellent opening day of the season.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Wright (Singh 66), Flanagan, McGrath (Thorley 59), Mutton, Francis (Bramall 32), Maye, Geddes, Dunkley, Sammons, Carline
Subs not used: Ransome, Glover
Spennymoor Town: Rafferty, Griffiths, Swain, Gott, Tait, Curtis, Chandler, Ramshaw, Craddock (Taylor 70), Dowson (Fisher 85), Anderson (Johnson 70)
Sub not used: Mason, Lowson
Star Man: Tristian Dunkley
Entertainment Rating: Four Stars