DATE  11.2.2017
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Blyth Spartans  BLYTH SPARTANS (2) 5
 Rivers (1), (22), Armstrong (56), Dale (69), Maguire (75) 
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 1
 Woolston (OG) (30) 
MoTM  Dan Crane
TOP SCORERS  Carline / Glover (9)
FORM GUIDE  L  L  W  W  L  L  L  W  L  D  L
1st Blyth Spartans 31 68
2nd Whitby Town 32 56
3rd Stourbridge 30 55
4th Nantwich Town 30 54
5th Grantham Town 33 54
6th Workington 32 54
7th Buxton 31 53
8th Spennymoor Town 28 49
9th Rushall Olympic 30 49
10th Matlock Town 28 49
11th Barwell 33 48
The Pitmen's week of woe shows no sign of abating, as they crash to a six defeat in seven league games to leave their season in real danger of ending before the month of February is out

It had been yet another turbulent, upsetting week a Keys Park in the past seven days, with news emerging on Tuesday afternoon of the resignation of under-fire manager Paul Casey. Casey's departure saw Gary Birch, Gavin Hurren and the returning Marvin Robinson handed the task of preparing the team for this afternoon's trip to table toppers Blyth, as the Pitmen took their time in naming a new permanent manager

The Pitmen were dealt a blow ahead of their long journey up to the North East with news that Darren Campion was to miss the game due to personal reasons. This saw caretaker coach Hurren make his first start of Hednesford since he appeared at Chesham United in November 2010, whilst there was a full debut for wide midfielder George Washbourne after his arrival a week ago. Gavin Caines also returned to central defence in place of Dan Brenan, who dropped to the substitutes bench alongside Alfons Fosu-Mensah

Hosts Blyth had quietly sat behind the early pacesetters in the Evo-Stik Premier League before putting together an eight game winning run since the New Year to move them well clear of the chasing pack. Alun Armstrong's men were therefore looking to set a new winning record of nine wins in a row this afternoon, eclipsing a previous record wet in 1975

The hosts got themselves off to the best possible start, as they took full advantage of the sheer chaos the Pitmen currently find themselves in by taking the lead in the first minute; a swift counter attack by Spartans saw Robbie Dale play in Luke Armstrong, whose clever ball found Jarrett Rivers, who slotted past Dan Crane from close range

The Pitmen were slow to respond with any meaningful chances of their own in a ponderous opening ten minutes, with only a Danny Glover free kick that flew high and wide of goal to show for their efforts

The dangerous Rivers almost put his side two goals to the good on twenty minutes, but fired wide from inside the penalty area after a ball in from Daniel Maguire

The same player, however, made his next chance count with aplomb on twenty two minutes, doubling Spartans' advantage after running onto a through ball from Robbie Dale and firing past a horribly exposed Crane

The Pitmen were forced into an early substitution following the goal, with Hurren coming off in favour of Tony Clarke. This saw Washbourne moved to left back to deputise for Hurren, himself deputising for the unavailable Campion

Despite their woes, the Pitmen got themselves back into the game on the half hour mark through a slice of badly-needed luck. A cross from the right was headed against the foot of the post by the towering presence of Vinny Mukendi, cannoning off the heel of young goalkeeper Paul Woolston and into the net before he could react

Back came the home side, with Rivers going close to grabbing a first half hat-trick inside the first half hour, but his effort found the side netting as he tried his luck with an angled drive

A swift break from Spartans on thirty five minutes saw the Pitmen short of numbers at the back, with Daniel Maguire fluffing his lines at the end as he fired high and wide of goal

The Pitmen will have been happy to still be in contention at half time after a difficult first twenty minutes, with the second half starting with a yellow card for Washbourne for a cynical challenge in midfield. He was followed into the book a few moments later by the on-loan Dan Preston after an over-the-top reaction to a challenge from striker Luke Armstrong

Blyth started to ramp up the pressure on the Hednesford defence as the minutes ticked by, with Crane making a fine save to deny Armstrong on fifty three minutes after Rivers had played him in

However, Crane could do little to deny Armstrong on three minutes later, as the striker reacted quickest to the ball coming back off the crossbar to bundle the loose ball home from close range to restore Blyth's two goal lead after Maguire had initially been denied by a block on the goal line

Kyle Haynes gave the Pitmen's new management team a moment of concern after he limped out of a challenge from Dale on the hour mark, but following a lengthy spell of treatment continued to play on

The hosts effectively killed the game off on sixty nine minutes, as a neat passage of play saw Blyth legend Dale played in on goal, with the striker rounding Crane and slotting into the net for number four

Blyth's fourth goal signalled a change in tactics for the Pitmen, as youngster Remeao Hutton came on for the hardworking Mukendi, moving to left back to allow Washbourne to play further forward

It got even worse for the Pitmen on seventy five minutes, as Maguire got in on the scoring act , firing home at the near post after a quick break had once again caught the dreadfully static Hednesford central defence cold

The visitors made their final change of a poor afternoon with ten minutes remaining, as Glover was replaced by Fosu-Mensah up front

Blyth continued to stream forwards as they looked to add to the Pitmen's woes further and boost their own goal difference in the process. Crane earned his man of the match nomination with five minutes left, tipping Dale's shot over the crossbar

In the first minute of added time, Crane again made another flying save to keep the scoreline down, tipping a corner kick over his own crossbar as Blyth pressed for a sixth goal

All in all, a thoroughly miserable afternoon for all connected with Hednesford Town Football Club. The games don't get any easier for the interim management team either, as they face another high-flying team in the form of Buxton on Tuesday night at Silverlands. At present, the end of the season cannot come soon enough for the club and it's supporters
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Kyle Haynes 90    
Gavin Hurren 21 Clarke
Stuart McNaught 90    
Gavin Caines 90    
Dan Preston 90
Jordan Fitzpatrick 90    
Tom Thorley 90    
Danny Glover 80 Fosu-Mensah  
Vinny Mukendi 71 Hutton
George Washbourne 90    
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Dan Brenan 0    
Alfons Fosu-Mensah 10 Glover  
Tony Clarke 69 Hurren
Remeao Hutton 19 Mukendi