Hednesford Town faced mid-table Widnes at Keys Park, looking for the three points that could move them out of the relegation zone depending on results elsewhere. The Pitmen were also seeking revenge for a heavy 5-1 defeat at Widnes back in August.
The Pitmen started the game strongly and dominated in terms of possession without scoring, Joe Morley forced a save from Cameron Terry, while Jack Kelly blasted over from long distance. Winger and Hednesford dangerman Jai Verma was causing problems down the right hand side and was on the receiving end of some robust tackling, one of which earned a yellow card for Brendan O’Brien. In reply to the Pitmen’s efforts Kris Holt shot narrowly wide for Widnes, before Verma hit the post for the Pitmen in the 30th minute.
The breakthrough came minutes later, when a darting run into the box from James McQuilkin was unfairly ended by Will Bell, resulting in a penalty for the Pitmen. Ahmed Ali stepped up to take the spot kick on his home debut, firing a low shot past Terry to give the Pitmen a deserved lead. Hednesford Town were quick to build on their advantage when Morley provided a cross from the right hand side, which man of the match Ryan Boothe finished calmly at the near post.
The second half was a very controlled affair with the Pitmen keeping the ball for long periods of the game without creating too many chances. In the 73rd minute Verma tried an audacious chip which went narrowly wide at the far post. Widnes appealed for a hand ball decision a couple of minutes later, however the referee was unimpressed with the shout and declined to give a penalty. The game was put to bed in the 84th minute when another Verma run down the left ended with a superb shot past Terry to end the game 3-0.
Hednesford Town; Boucher, Williams, Kelly, Thompson (Gwilt 85), Mendez-Jones, Endall, Verma (Niven 88), Ali, Boothe, Morley, McQuilkin. Subs not used Sutton, May.
Widnes; Terry, Isherwood, Rain, Byrne, Bell (Lomax-Jones 79), Battersby, Irwin (Jones 59), O’Brien, Van Wyk (Steele 56), Holt, Milne. Subs not used; Wright, Hassall.