It was a clash between the bottom two sides in the Southern Premier Central as Hednesford Town travelled to Hayden Road to face AFC Rushden & Diamonds. The Pitmen thrashed the Diamonds 5-0 at Keys Park, although both teams have changed playing personnel significantly since. The game would ensure that a five match losing streak would come to an end for at least one of the sides.
A scrappy opening fifteen minutes did not yield any chances for either side, eventually Hednesford Town put together a good team move allowing Max Brogan to get a shot away that was blocked. Joel Anker did get the ball in the net for the hosts only to be thwarted by the offside flag. The Pitmen marginally had the better of the first half and offered the most incisive play, Kemy Agustein put in a dangerous cross to the far post that evaded a couple of attacking players. Jordan Graham’s header forced a good save from Loris Marcimain, before Tom Thorley curled a shot over the bar as the Pitmen built up momentum. Jenson Cooper broke for Diamonds, with Jim Burnside in plenty of space, however Cooper dwelt on the ball for too long and lost possession in what was probably the home side’s best chance. Given the form of both sides it was not surprising that the score remained 0-0 at half time.
Hednesford continued to look the better side at the start of the second half, Stephan Morley found some space and sent a fierce shot goal wards from long range forcing Marcimain to make a fingertip save. Marcimain flapped at an Agustein cross and was fortunate to see the ball cleared by a defender. Stanley Asomugha and Danny Glover entered the fray as the Pitmen turned the screw, Brogan had another shot blocked by Charlie Pattison before sending another effort wide. Pattison was called into action again, clearing a dangerous cross following pacey run down the right from Asomugha. In reply Diamonds skipper Phil Massingham headed over the bar from a corner, before Asomugha headed into the side netting from fellow substitute James McQuilkin. Ten minutes before full time Brogan had another shot which Marcimain was unable to hold, allowing player manager Danny Glover to tap the rebound into the net to give the Pitmen the lead. A frenetic finish to the game saw Diamonds throw men forward in an attempt to get the equaliser however the Pitmen held strong to gain three valuable points and complete a double over the hosts.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds; Marcimain, Joyce, Lopes De Matos, Waller, Hughes (White 83), Massingham, Corden, Pattison, Marian (Cooper 30), Burnside, Anker (Mandjoba 68). Subs; Agemoh-Davies, Doorbar-Baptist.
Hednesford Town; Jackson, Derricott, Morley, Agustein (McQuilkin 74), Kaninda, Patterson, Brogan, Thorley, Graham (Glover 65), Parker (Asomugha 60), Tilt. Subs; McQuilkin, Hartley, Williams