DATE  15.10.2016
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (0) 1
 Singh (78)
Blyth Spartans  BLYTH SPARTANS (0) 2
Reid (67), Armstrong (81)
MoTM  Tom Thorley
TOP SCORERS  Carline/Singh (7)
FORM GUIDE  W  L  W  D  D  W  L  W  L  W  L
1st Buxton 14 30
2nd Rushall Olympic 13 29
3rd Whitby Town 14 27
4th Blyth Spartans 14 26
6th Warrington Town 15 22
7th Spennymoor Town 10 20
8th Ashton United 14 21
9th Mickleover Sports 13 19
10th Marine 13 19
11th Matlock Town 11 18
12th Stourbridge 11 18
For a third successive Saturday, the Pitmen crash to a 2-1 defeat to one of their fellow play-off chasing rivals, as Blyth Spartans follow Buxton and Rushall Olympic's lead by defeating Liam McDonald's men by the odd goal in three

Monday night's comprehensive win over Corby Town had partially atoned for last weekend's reverse at Rushall's Dales Lane, with McDonald sticking to his same starting line-up to the one that started against Corby. Michael Williams returned to the squad to make up the substitutes, with Kyle Rowley missing out

Blyth started the season as many people's favourites for the Evo-Stik Premier League title after a strong showing in 2015-2016. Spartans were just below the Pitmen in the table ahead of kick off, having played a game less ahead of this crucial Keys Park clash

Tristian Dunkley almost got the hosts off to a flying start with the first real chance of the game in the second minute; Ashley Sammons played the ball into the striker's feet, with Dunkley turning quickly and firing over the crossbar with a snapshot

From their first corner of the game, Blyth responded through Nathan Buddle in the ninth minute, heading Stephen Turnbull's flag kick narrowly over Dan Crane's crossbar

Crane was called upon to make a superb save a minute later, turning Matty Pattison's goalbound effort behind for a corner kick

The busy Dunkley - still looking a yard or so off full fitness as he continued his return to form - struck an opportunistic effort at goal on seventeen minutes, taking advantage of a mistake by Buddle to unleash a shot that was deflected wide of goal by Spartans keeper Adam McHugh

Dunkley wasted the game's best opportunity to open the scoring midway through the first half,  as Danny Glover's deflected free kick eventually fell kindly to him at the far post. Despite the goal gaping, Dunkley got his effort all wrong and lifted his shot over the crossbar from close range

Luke Armstrong bundled an effort wide of the Hednesford goal on twenty seven minutes, turning Alex Nicholson's cross wide under pressure from Calum Flanagan

Crane was nearly left with another red face following on from his horrendous error at Rushall, making another mistake ten minutes before half time. The experienced stopper allowed a simple ball to bounce over his head and into the path of Armstrong, who, luckily for Crane, took a heavy touch in controlling the ball and allowed the Hednesford keeper to recover

George Carline was wasteful in possession for the Pitmen just before half time, electing to shoot from a ridiculous angle rather than pass to Glover and Dunkley and only finding the hands of McHugh

Pattison's free kick into the side netting proved to be the final action of a competitive first half, which had seen both sides cancel each other out in a good advert for step three football

The second half started with similar aplomb, with Cohen Bramall creating a tempting opening for the Pitmen two minutes after the restart; a superb run down the left from the full back saw him pull the ball back across the face of goal, with no-one able to take advantage of a superb chance inside the six yard box

At the other end, the prolific Robbie Dale pulled the ball back into the path of Sean Reid, who drilled a shot wide of goal

A cross from the ever-efficient Tom Thorley created a chance for Carline on fifty two minutes, with the big midfield man heading over the bar at the far post as he stretched to meet Thorley's stand-up cross

Crane denied Reid an opening goal on fifty six minutes, making another fine stop low to his left to turn the ball away from a certain goal

Jamie Matthews was brought on in place of the tiring Dunkley on sixty one minutes, adding more muscle and pace to the forward line alongside the ineffective Glover

Blyth finally took the lead in this ding-dong battle on sixty seven minutes, as Reid finally found a way through with another long range effort that finally found the corner of the net, beating Crane this time around to put Blyth ahead

Gurjit Singh was brought on in place of Sammons two minutes later, adding more firepower to the forward line as the Pitmen chased the game

This was followed a few minutes later with the introduction of the tricky Joel Logan in place of Glover

Singh justified his introduction to the game with an equalising goal on seventy eight minutes, turning one man and firing in a shot that took a slight deflection to take it past McHugh to register his seventh goal of the season

However, the Pitmen's joy was short-lived, as Blyth scored what turned out to be the winner with nine minutes remaining. Armstrong was played in by Daniel Maguire, but got the ball caught up under his feet. Calum Flanagan came across to clear the ball, thumping the ball against Armstrong and watching in horror as the ball rebounded off the leg of the Blyth man and into the net

McHugh made a smart save to deny Singh as the game entered the final minutes, with the Pitmen becoming desperate to get themselves back on level terms once more

James Mutton volleyed wide for the Pitmen after a short corner involving Bramall and Thorley, before Thorley himself fired over the crossbar with the final sight at goal in added time for the Pitmen

Defeat leaves the Pitmen once again a clutch of points behind the leading pack, with another quick turnaround to come this week as McDonald prepares his team for a trip to lowly Barwell on Tuesday night
No. Player Minutes On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Lewis Wright 90    
Cohen Bramall 90
Simeon Maye 90    
James Mutton 90    
Calum Flanagan 90    
Ashley Sammons 69 Singh  
Tom Thorley 90    
Danny Glover 74 Logan  
Tristian Dunkley 61 Matthews  
George Carline 90    
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Jamie Matthews 29 Dunkley  
Michael Williams 0    
Joel Logan 16 Glover  
Gurjit Singh 21 Sammons 1