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> 7.4.2009

  Nantwich Town (1) 1   Hednesford Town (1) 3    

.Marshall 86 (OG)

Barnett 17, Dyer 56, Durrell 90 

> Attendance   490 Current Form  DWWLW
 > MotM Cedric Abraham

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The Pitmen's play-off push is very much on tonight, as Hednesford's players produced an outstanding display of attacking football to sweep aside third-placed Nantwich and complete the double over the Cheshire side. Manager Dean Edwards, still smarting from Saturday's capitulation at the hands of struggling Whitby, included centre backs Cedric Abraham and Decio Gomes in the side after Danny Harvey and Sean Platt were both ruled out. Otherwise, it was the same side that started on Saturday, as the Pitmen looked for that elusive three points that would lift them above Bradford Park Avenue and into fifth place

On a perfect April evening, with a pitch that looked pretty much perfect, the away side made a great start, pushing the hosts back in the very first minute of the game. Ross Dyer, the man amongst the goals recently, was quickly onto the ball playing in Elliott Durrell, but his attempted shot from the edge of the area was blocked by former Macclesfield defender Darren Tinson

Despite the Pitmen's early confidence, it was Nantwich that really should have taken the lead on five minutes; former Crewe man Rodney Jack managed to get past Ludovic Quistin down the Nantwich right, before squaring the ball to Ashley Carter, who somehow missed an open goal from a couple of yards out with only Stuart Brock to beat

Back came the Pitmen, and Tyrone Barnett tested Nantwich keeper Lee Jones's reflexes with a smart roll off Tinson and shot from eighteen yards out

Ross Draper was being his usual authoritative self in the middle of the pitch, breaking up any threat from former Hednesford skipper Dave Macpherson. Abraham was also impressing the sizeable Hednesford away following with a number of 'non-nonsense' clearances away from danger

Former Stafford Rangers striker Dave Walker, looking to add to his impressive goal tally for the season, almost grabbed another strike on ten minutes, stretching to get to another cross from Jack, but he failed to get enough on the ball and his header drifted wide of goal

If Carter's early miss had been a real sitter, then Ross Dyer proceeded to outdo the Nantwich man with an astonishing miss on twelve minutes. Sam Hall set Elliott Durrell on his way down the right, with the little forward darting into the box and playing an unselfish square ball to Dyer, who was coming in at the far post; with the goal at his mercy, a yard out, Dyer somehow miscued the ball, sending it spinning back across goal and agonisingly wide of the far post

Luckily for Dyer, his miss mattered very little to the overall play of the Pitmen,  as they snatched the lead five minutes later. Durrell's shot was turned away by Jones for a corner, with Hall's resultant kick finding the head of Barnett, who forced the ball home at the near post for his second goal in three games

the away side were enjoying their football on a neat, slick surface, displaying the kind of attacking football they were playing back in October and November. Nantwich's expansive game also meant time and space for Hednesford's most potent attackers, with Durrell and Draper having a great time linking the play to the two forward men

Draper was next to try his luck for the Pitmen mid-way through the half, picking up a loose ball after Anthony Maguire's shot was blocked. The skipper hit a powerful dipping drive that was only just wide of the far post

There was loud and vociferous protests from the crowd and Hednesford bench three minutes later, as Nantwich's Mark Beeston appeared to catch Durrell very, very late as Durrell attempted to take the ball past him down the right. However, the referee ignored all of the protestations and only booked the Dabbers player

Brock was called upon for the first time in the game on thirty minutes, with Jack once again supplying a great ball - this time for Glyn Blackhurst - whose well-directed header was turned away for a corner kick by the Pitmen's number one

Durrell's movement had been a constant problem for a nervous-looking Nantwich defence, and he appeared to have won the Pitmen a penalty just before half time when he was brought down a yard or so inside the area. However, the referee thought otherwise and played on

After a half time refreshment, the home side emerged brightly in the second period, with Charlie O' Loughlin heading straight into the arms of Brock during the early stages of the half. The Pitmen responded with Barnett hitting an awkward shot at Jones a minutes later

Barnett tested Jones for a second time in sixty seconds with a one-on-one with the Nantwich keeper, but once again Jones came off better, making a smart save low down to deny Barnett a second goal. The game had a cup tie feel to it at this point, with chances jumping from end to end. Walker could have equalised a minute later, with Brock and Maguire doing their best to deny him in whatever way possible

There was a feeling at half time that the goalscoring was not finished, and two minutes later this was proved correct. Barnett took the bal down the left, before turning onto his right foot and sending the ball over towards Dyer. Via a deflection off McLoughlin, the ball fell to Hednesford's top scorer, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net to put to bed any doubts following his shocking miss in the first half

It was all Hednesford at this point, with Nantwich simply trying to stem the tide of attacks from a rampant away side. Draper made one of his typically marauding runs three minutes later, but his shot lacked accuracy and the ball flew over the bar. Barnett was continuing to cause problems too, as he linked up well with Dyer but also failed to find the target with a wayward shot

Barnett had totted up enough chances to have put him level on twenty four goals for the season with Dyer, such was Hednesford's supremacy. Durrell crossed from the right hand side on seventy one minutes for the striker, but his dipping header failed to test Jones

Draper, who only has two more games left in his season before suspension, was looking to get the most out of his last two-and-a-bit games left by driving the Pitmen forward at every opportunity. He should have added another goal two minutes later, beating two Nantwich defenders on the edge of the area before testing Jones with a powerful shot that the Nantwich keeper turned away

With the Pitmen on top, there was very little positive for Nantwich fans to take from the game. The visitors, however, gifted their hosts a lifeline four minutes from time with a rare lapse in concentration. Along ball forward looked to have been dealt with by Tom Marshall, as he headed the ball back towards Brock's goal; however, Brock had made an early decision to claim the high ball, and rushed out to claim it. The result? Marshall headed past Brock, with the ball dribbling into the empty net

Not content with simply sitting on their now-narrow lead, the Pitmen continued to press, and in the final minute Durrell was rewarded for a fine performance with Hednesford's third goal. Hall's run and cross found Durrell unmarked on the edge of the area; he took his time to control the ball, before firing low past Jones to end a fantastic game, which was a credit to the UniBond League thanks to both sides sticking to their footballing principles

For the Pitmen, this represents a real move forward, with them now occupying the final play-off place. With a game in hand on fourth placed FC United - who don't play this weekend - a win over Boston on Saturday, coupled with a favourable result at Bradford, could see them as high as third. Then again, we said that last weekend, and look what happened... cds

Boston United (H)

11.4.2009
Team Mins On   On/Off For   Goals Top Scorer Dyer (24)
.1 Stuart Brock 90 .. .. .
.2 Anthony Maguire 90

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UniBond Premier League 7.4.2009
.3 Ludovic Quistin 90

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. Top Half
.4 Cedric Abraham 90

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.. Pos Team Played Points
.5 Decio Gomes 90

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. 1st Eastwood Town 38 80
.6 Tom Marshall 90

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2nd Ilkeston Town 36 72
.7 Sam Hall 90

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3rd Nantwich Town 37 68
.8 Elliott Durrell 90

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4th FC Utd of M'ster 39 67
.9 Tyrone Barnett 90

West

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5th HEDNESFORD 38 66
.10 Ross Dyer 90

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6th Bradford P A 37 64
.11 Ross Draper 90

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7th Kendal Town 38 64
Substitutes

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8th Guiseley 37 61
.12 Matthew West

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Barnett

  . 9th Ashton United 38 54
.14 Jan Coulston 0

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. 10th North Ferriby 37 53

.15

Ben Bailey 0

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.16

Rapinder Gill 0

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.17

Richard Woolley 0

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