Disappointingly, Hednesford Town’s perfect away record was ended by a narrow defeat at Mickleover Sports Don Amott Arena.
There was an early shock before kick off for the Pitmen when Jed Davies was injured in the warm up and replaced in the starting line up by Callam Mendez-Jones.
However, it was the visitors who started the game the strongest, the first fifteen minutes being played at a frantic pace but with neither side able to create a clear-cut chance.
Hednesford should then have taken the lead as first Mike Howard and then Reece King hit the woodwork before Joe Fitzpatrick shot wide. From the resultant goalkick the ball was played out and returned to goalkeeper Lewis King who’s attempted clearance was charged down by Dan Cockerline only for the ball to hit the side netting.
These misses were to prove costly as in the 37th minute the home side took the lead with their first shot on target. A long throw found Oliver Roberts whose cut back eluded the Pitmen’s backline and Nathan Jarman’s shot from just inside the box found the back of the net despite Jono Brown getting his hands to the ball. There was further disruption for the Pitmen just before half time as Mendez-Jones had to be replaced by Sam Grimshaw, forcing a re-shuffle at the back.
There was still time for Hednesford to fashion another chance though as Fitzpatrick’s freekick was headed wide of the far post by Cockerline.
Hednesford made two more changes for the second half with Matt Dodd replacing Charlie Gatter and Lewis Archer coming on for Dan Cockerline but it was Mickleover who were denied a second when Sam Griffiths’ last gasp tackle halted the run of Evan Garnett at the expense of a corner before Brown saved with his feet from Jarman.
Good play between Dodd and Archer saw the latter’s cross met by Howard only for King to tip his shot over the bar for a corner which was cleared as far as Dodd. The winger’s ball in was taken down by Howard and as he moved past a home defender ended up on the floor only to be booked by the Referee for simulation.
Mickleover’s Jake Scott was also carded for a foul on Sam Grimshaw although the culprit appeared to be home Player-Manager John McGrath. A long free kick from Brown was eventually headed on by Stefan Galinski and Dodd’s shot was kept out by King’s foot for a corner which was eventually collected by the home goalkeeper as his side held out for the three points.
Hednesford Town: Brown, Curley, Fox, Gatter, Galinski, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick, King, Cockerline, Mendez-Jones, Howard. Subs: Grimshaw (for Mendez-Jones 44), Dodd (for Gatter 46), Archer (for Cockerline 46), Hollis,