Official Site report:
The Pitmen made the short trip up the A38 to Mickleover Sports FC for the start of a very busy week of football, with four league games scheduled in eight days.
The game, as expected, was a tough encounter with the home side fighting hard for points to ensure their Premier Division status for next season.
Mickleover probably had the best of the first half chances but their goalkeeper, Nick Draper, was called into action in the 10th minute to deny Tony Clarke with a fine reflex save.
Ten minutes later the Pitmen stopper, Dan Crane, saved comfortably from Tyler Blake and shortly later saw a free kick from John McGrath clear the bar without any serious danger.
As the first half drew to a close the Hednesford defence was almost undone as a firm shot from Dales fizzed across the face of Dan Crane’s goal and out for a goal kick.
After this last piece of goalmouth action it was the visitors who were the more relieved to hear the half time whistle.
As the second half got under way the Pitmen started to look more assertive in the midfield areas and, after surviving a scare in the 50th minute when Andy Dales worked another opening but saw his shot rebound from the post, began to get more possession in the Mickleover half of the field.
After a spell of pressure Hednesford were awarded a corner kick from the left and as it came over to the far post it was the impressive Joe Ballinger who was there to power home the ball into the roof of the net with his right foot.
The home side, stung by going behind after their strong first half showing came back strongly and there were a number of heavy challenges made that the match referee, Mr Dadley, had to deal with. One particularly heavy challenge on the Pitmen skipper, Tom Thorley, might have received more than the resulting yellow card and despite trying to soldier on the captain was withdrawn on 70 minutes and replaced by George Cater.
The Pitmen had one final fright when a well placed free kick cannoned back off the post to be scrambled clear by the defenders.
The combative second half had become a real test for both sides and the Pitmen came through it well with only two cautions for Remeao Hutton and Stuart McNaught out of the nine names taken by the referee.