DATE  4.2.2017
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 1
 Thorley (33)
Barwell  BARWELL (0) 1
 Barlone (65) 
MoTM  Kyle Haynes
TOP SCORERS  Carline / Glover (9)
FORM GUIDE  L  L  L  W  W  L  L  L  W  L  D
1st Blyth Spartans 29 62
2nd Buxton 31 53
3rd Whitby Town 31 53
4th Stourbridge 28 52
5th Grantham Town 32 51
6th Workington 31 51
7th Nantwich Town 28 50
8th Spennymoor Town 28 49
9th Rushall Olympic 29 49
10th Matlock Town 27 46
11th Barwell 32 45
The Pitmen had to be content with a point at a cold Keys Park this afternoon, as Barwell came from behind to earn themselves a point in their first ever visit to the home of Paul Casey's team. The point apiece does little to improve either side's fortunes, with the play-off places now looking a distant possibility after another largely flat performance

Last week's defeat to the resurgent Corby Town saw Casey once again going back to the drawing board as he searched for a blend that worked for his team after five defeats in six games. This week's departures had seen Spencer We-r-Daley end his short association with the club and Tristian Dunkley complete a permanent move to Halesowen Town after a loan spell there. George Forsyth and Iwan cartwright had returned to their parent clubs after their loan spells had expired. There had also been the usual batch of incomings, with striker Alfons Fosu-Mensah joining from North Ferriby United, Darren Campion rejoining the club after a short trial and midfielder George Washbourne coming in from Sutton Coldfield Town

Barwell had beaten the Pitmen 2-0 earlier in the season in what was arguably the worst ninety minutes under Liam McDonald's stewardship, and had slowly crept up the table to begin this afternoon's proceedings just above the Pitmen in eleventh place. Their recent form had been good since the start of December, only losing two of their last eight games in the Evo-Stik Premier League

Skipper Tom Thorley was straight into his stride for the home side in the third minute of the game, lifting his sidefooted effort over the crossbar after Kyle Haynes had made a run down the right and found his captain with a cross

The Pitmen's many aerial options almost opened the scoring for the hosts in the thirteenth minute, as a cross from Danny Glover was headed back across goal by Vinny Mukendi to Dan Preston, whose goalbound header was saved on the line by Barwell keeper Liam Castle

The hosts started to turn the screw as the half progressed, enjoying long periods in the Barwell half as they looked for the crucial breakthrough. After a period of pressure on twenty three minutes, the tricky Mukendi played the ball back into the path of striker partner Glover, whose low drive was held by Castle

Mukendi himself went closest to adding to his recent goal glut on thirty minutes, cutting inside from the left wing and driving in an angled shot that was cleared off the goal line by a Barwell defender, and into the grateful arms of Castle

 The Pitmen finally got the goal that their efforts deserved three minutes later, as great build-up play saw Glover and Thorley exchange a quick one-two before the Hednesford skipper tucked the ball underneath the body of Castle and turned the ball into the net

 Two minutes later, it could have got even better for the home side as a ball in from Glover appeared to be handled in the penalty area. The Pitmen's protests, however, were ignored by referee Sarah Garratt and the game continued

Fosu-Mensah - making his debut after coming in for the departed Weir-Daley - was making an impressive impact for his new club, using his strength well to hold off challenges from the Barwell defence and bring the likes of Glover and Thorley into the game alongside the ever-busy Mukendi. At left back, Campion was back to his combative, busy best, looking a far better bet at number three than any other option seen since Cohen Bramall's departure

Half time will have seen the Barwell players having a tongue-lashing from manager Jimmy Ginnelly, after a meek display from the visitors had allowed Hednesford to totally dominate. The second half was a very different affair, akin to the old clique of 'a game of two halves'

Dan Crane was called upon for the first time in the afternoon to make a dominant claim from a Barwell free kick, conceded by Preston in a dangerous position

On fifty six minutes, Fosu-Mensah was to have a glorious chance to put the game to bed, as he broke clear of the Barwell defence and rounded Castle, only to skew his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. A great chance

Crane made his second claim of the afternoon a minute later, smothering an effort from Luke Barlone as Barwell continued to press

Fosu-Mensah's encouraging debut was brought to an end on fifty eight minutes, as Jamie Sheldon came on in the Dutchman's place

This move seemed to upset the balance of the side, with Barwell pushing Hednesford back into their own third without the out-ball to Fosu-Mensah available anymore. Crane again came to claim a cross on the hour, but dropped the ball and nearly allowed Barlone to turn the ball home before Dan Brenan's clearance

Barlone was to finally get his name on the scoresheet on sixty five minutes, as the Pitmen failed to clear their lines and allowed Owen Story to cross from the right an find Barlone at the far post, with the striker having th simple task of nodding home from close range

The tiring Glover was removed from the field of play with fourteen minutes remaining, replaced by the willing running of big Tony Clarke up front

The Barwell goalscorer nearly turned the game on it's head with ten minutes remaining, as he turned Brenan in a flash and fired narrowly wide of Crane's goal from twenty five yards out

Washbourne was given a late debut by the Pitmen with five minutes left, as Stuart McNaught was forced off with injury after a clash in midfield

Barwell went close to taking all three points away from Staffordshire in a late flurry of chances, as Eddy Nisevic's strike is headed off the line by Preston with three minutes left. A minute later, the highly-rated Brady Hickey found Crane in the way of his low drive toward goal

Not for the first time this season, the Pitmen were thankful to the reflexes of Crane for keeping them in the game, as the experienced stopper made a great save to his right to deny Declan Towers a late winner for Barwell

In added time, Jordan Fitzpatrick tried his luck with a low drive that was well saved by Castle, with Brenan clearing the ball away from Barlone at the crucial moment to save the Pitmen once more

A point gained for each side then, in a game lacking in any real quality this afternoon. The Pitmen will have to improve immeasurably in the next seven days, ahead of a trip to the side looking more and ore likely to be champions at the end of the season - Blyth Spartans - next Saturday
He's back! Darren Campion returns to Hednesford   Jordan Fitzpatrick is surrounded  Goal! Smiles all round after Tom Thorley's opener  Kyle Haynes takes the ball forward
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Kyle Haynes 90    
Darren Campion 90
Stuart McNaught 85 Washbourne  
Dan Brenan 90    
Dan Preston 90
Jordan Fitzpatrick 90    
Tom Thorley 70   1
Vinny Mukendi 90    
Danny Glover 76 Clarke
Alfons Fosu-Mensah 58 Sheldon  
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Tony Clarke 14 Glover  
Jamie Sheldon 32 Fosu-Mensah  
George Washbourne 5 McNaught
Remeao Hutton 0