Official Site Report:
The Pitmen did not get off to the start that they would have wanted in this ‘six-pointer’ at The Spencer Stadium. In only the third minute a quick throw out by goalkeeper Gavin Ward put Sean Platt in trouble as he was closed down quickly by the speedy Banbury forwards. As the home side broke away down the right side the danger was snuffed out by a superb saving tackle by Ben Bailey. However, from the resulting corner kick the home side captain, Nathan Haisley, was first to the ball to open the scoring with a fine header.
Hednesford settled back into their stride and Tyrone Barnett could have done better when put through on goal only to see his first time left foot shot go wide of the goal.
On 12 minutes Barnett was involved again after some good work by Durrell and his low shot was parried out by the keeper but the Hednesford skipper, Ross Dyer, followed in well to grab the equaliser.
The game continued to ebb and flow with the visitors the most dominant in possession but with Banbury very dangerous on the break with their quick strikers.
Gavin Ward made amends for the early goal with a couple of smart saves and Elliot Durrell came close in the 29th minute with a shot just wide.
Half Time: 1-1
The second half started at a furious pace with the Pitmen forcing a couple of early corner kicks that had the home defence in trouble, with a good save by Joe Murrell and a desperate goal line clearance.
In the 54th minute Ross Dyer was on hand to score an almost identical goal to his first after a shot by Elliott Durrell.
With their dominance of the possession and with their noses now in front, it looked likely that there would only be one reasonable outcome to the match, however, Banbury had other ideas and in the 63rd minute their excellent captain, Nathan Haisley, was on the end of some good approach play to fire home from 20 yards.
For the next 15 minutes the Pitmen continued to press for the winning goal, for the vital three points from this match. In the 67th minute another goal line clearance kept the home side level and in the 72nd minute what appeared to be a good goal by Durrell was judged to be offside.
Banbury were still dangerous on the break and one such break was snuffed out by a great Sean Platt tackle as the minutes began to run down.
As full time approached, it looked likely that a draw was to be the outcome although both sides were still pressing for the winner. Then, in the 90th minute, referee John Scott, awarded a very harsh free kick after Paul McMullen clearly took the ball. The free kick from a very dangerous area was perfectly executed and David Stone snatched the goal that both sides yearned for.
It was a cruel end for the Pitmen and they can feel very unfortunate not to have come away from Banbury without at least a point. However, Banbury are a good counter attacking side and will undoubtedly take points off other play-off contenders in the coming months.
The Pitmen are in action at Keys Park on Tuesday night in the Staffordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup against Biddulph Victoria, (reduced admission charges will apply), however, next Saturday’s home game against other play of candidates, Chippenham Town, will now be on everyone’s minds