A late, late strike from Mike Howard saves the Pitmen from more midweek misery against a resolute Buxton at Keys Park …
The Pitmen welcomed visitors Buxton FC to Keys Park on the back of Saturday’s thrilling first draw of the season away at Matlock. The weekend’s hat-trick hero Dan Sweeney showed that he was in the mood for more goals with an early speculative effort drifting wide of the post. Minutes later Sweeney went close again, beating the offside trap only to see his chipped shot collected by Theo Roberts in the Buxton goal. The visitors’ defence misfired again leaving Lewis Archer through on the keeper, unfortunately the Pitmen number 10 did not realise he was onside and the ball ran through to the keeper, much to the frustration of the home bench.
The early running was all from Hednesford with Sweeney putting the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, before Archer’s cut back was dragged just wide of the post by Callum Coyle. Josh Craddock volleyed over the bar after Reece King flicked on a long throw from Sam Griffiths.
Against the run of play the Pitmen carelessly lost the ball in midfield allowing Diego De Girolamo to advance and fire a long-range effort past Josef Bursik to give the visitors an unlikely lead. The Pitmen were unable to make an immediate response and appeared deflated by the goal as the game petered out towards the half time break.
A series of substitutions disrupted the flow of the second half with Hednesford unable to create any clear cut chances as Buxton set up to frustrate the home side and hold onto their lead. The Pitmen were unable to take advantage of their superior possession and lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the field. A fine save from Bursik prevented De Girolamo from claiming his brace and extending Buxton’s lead.
The referee waved play on as Sweeney managed to get a pass away to Nathan Fox despite Josh Meade pulling his shirt. During the advantage Meade proceeded to hack Fox to the ground earning a yellow card. The resulting free kick set up Lewis Archer who managed to hit the post adding to the growing frustration around the ground.
As the game entered the closing stages, it became ever more likely that the Pitmen would be forced to dwell on the number of chances spurned earlier on, however Bursik would make another vital contribution to the encounter. Out of his area and advancing up field, the Hednesford stopper delivered a pinpoint accurate pass for late substitute Mike Howard to find space and drill home a low shot from the left of the visitors’ area, giving the Pitmen a late but much deserved equaliser in the 92nd minute.
Hednesford Town: Bursik, Curley, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick, Mendez-Jones (Howard 85), Craddock © (Cockerline 71), King, Coyle, Sweeney, Archer, Grimshaw (Fox 60)
Subs not used: Francis, Veiga
Buxton FC: Roberts, Meade, Brown, N De Girolamo, Dean ©, A Young, Obiyo, Grayson, Omotola (Coppin 54), D De Girolamo (Hardy 63), McGee (Chippendale 68)
Sub not used: Gee, G Young