Report by Rod Hadley
For the third game in a row Manager, Phil Starbuck was able to select the same team. The team had won the two previous games away at Grantham and Radcliffe but a poor first half performance at Keys Park against Matlock Town meant the mini run ended abruptly.
The visitors started brightly and with the strong wind blowing towards the Hednesford goal they tested Ryan Young in the home goal with a number of long range shots which he saved with comfort except for the first effort by Matlock’s Richard Taylor in the third minute which slipped through his hands, the ball bobbled out of play for a corner kick, much to relief. Of the home fans
Marlon Walters wasted a good chance to score in the 14th minute, firing the ball high over the goal after a good piece of approach work made the opening. Dave Whittaker had a couple of half chances to open the scoring but it was Matlock who took the lead in the 31st minute when Simon Barrowclough scored with a close range header. The ball had been played back across the box to him, he was unchallenged at the far post and was free to plant a firm header back across the goal to give the visitors the lead.
In the 40th minute Ross Dyer tested Andy Richmond in the Matlock goal with a 25-yard shot, which he saved well. Richmond cleared the ball quickly up field to centre forward Ian Holmes, he beat a couple of home defenders and found himself on the edge of the box, with no defender closing him down he was able to make it two nil, his shot giving Ryan Young little chance to save it.
In the last minute of the first half Martin Ridley made his final contribution to the game when he sent in a great left foot cross into the visitors six yard box where Dave Whittaker was on hand but he could only place his header straight into the welcome arms of Andy Richmond.
In an attempt to pull the 2-0 deficit back, Phil Starbuck brought Phil Hadland on for the second half, replacing full back Martin Ridley It was Matlock though who should have scored as a slip by Marlon Walters allowed Holmes a chance to make it 3-0 but Ryan Young was able to safely collect the ball.
Danny Jellicoe was cautioned in the 48th minute after he pulled back a Matlock forward who had broken free from a challenge just inside the Pitmen half.
Ross Dyer who was holding the ball well up front for the Pitmen was denied a scoring chance by Richmond after good work by Marlon Walters, the keeper tipped the ball out for a corner kick. With usual corner taker Ridley substituted the Pitmen players were undecided who would take it, eventually Tom Groves took the kick which the keeper missed but as Dave Whittaker placed the ball into the net, the Referee blew for a foul on the grateful keeper.
In the 63rd minute Iain Screaton took a short throw-in on the left to Steve Brannan who was playing in the second half in a more forward role, Steve crossed to the far post where Ross Dyer rose to send in a thunderous header into the back of the net.
The Pitmen continued to press for an equaliser but despite shots from Franklin, Jellicoe & Groves the clock finally ran out of time and the game ended with the Pitmen fans still waiting for a win this season at Keys Park.