DATE  14.2.2017
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Buxton  BUXTON (1) 2
 Grayson (35), Taylor (55)
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (0) 0
MoTM  Tom Thorley
TOP SCORERS  Carline / Glover (9)
FORM GUIDE  L  W  W  L  L  L  W  L  D  L  L
1st Blyth Spartans 31 68
2nd Whitby Town 32 56
3rd Buxton 32 56
4th Stourbridge 30 55
5th Grantham Town 34 55
6th Nantwich Town 30 54
7th Workington 32 54
8th Matlock Town 29 50
9th Spennymoor Town 28 49
10th Rushall Olympic 30 49
11th Barwell 33 48
The Pitmen's season is rapidly drawing to an anti-climax, as the managerless Pitmen crashed to defeat at play-off chasing Buxton tonight at a cold Silverlands. This leaves Hednesford still requiring in the region of four points to be safe for another season and enable them to build once more in 2017-2018

Saturday's thrashing at the hands of league leaders Blyth had seen the caretaker management team make a number of changes to their side in the three days since. Dan Preston's loan from AFC Telford United had expired, with the big centre back returning to his parent club following Saturday's defeat; Gavin Caines returned to the side to partner Dan Brenan. Callum Roberts was handed a debut by the Pitmen after the young Shrewsbury Town left back had had his loan spell extended at the club. Tony Clarke was given another chance to prove his worth up front, coming in for the out-of-sorts Vinny Mukendi up front

Buxton, on the other hand, had enjoyed a consistent season to date, hovering around the top five for most of the campaign as the Bucks looked to finally get themselves out of step three after a number of years at the level. They had moved into the top four the previous weekend courtesy of a narrow 2-1 victory over our local rivals Stafford Rangers. They had remained strong at Silverlands all season, only losing twice in all competitions at their home

It was the hardworking Clarke that went closest to firing the Pitmen in front on ten minutes, making a powerful run through the centre of the Buxton defence, only to be denied by a last-ditch challenge

Dan Crane came to his team's rescue for the first time in a busy evening for the stopper on twelve minutes, racing out of his goal to deny Greg Young a clear sight at goal from the edge of the penalty area

Neat build-up play from the Pitmen down the right on twenty minuets saw Kyle Haynes and Danny Glover combine to set Clarke away once more, but again the burly striker failed to get his shot away cleanly and allowed the ball to be cleared

Clarke thought he had finally ended his Hednesford goal drought on twenty six minutes, as Glover's slide rule pass was rifled into the net by his strike partner, only to be pulled back for a late offside flag

The Pitmen were forced into an early change midway through the first half, as midfielder Jordan Fitzpatrick was forced off due to injury. Lewis Wright came on in his place for some much-needed match action after his return from injury

Glover wasted a good chance to test Jan Budtz in the Buxton goal on thirty three minutes, but lifted his effort high over the crossbar, rather than get it on target

The visitors were made to pay for not taking any of their early chances, as Buxton took the lead on thirty seven minutes. Veteran midfielder Ricky Ravenhill prodded the  ball through to Bradley Grayson, who confidently slotted the ball past Crane to give Buxton the lead

Buxton went close to doubling their advantage almost immediately, as Jamie Jackson's shot from range was well saved by the legs of Dan Crane as Buxton pressed

Skipper Tom Thorley assumed free kick duties from good friend Glover at the end of the half, lifted a shot straight into the hands of Budtz after being fouled twenty five yards from goal

The Pitmen started the second half very well indeed, pushing Buxton into their own third and creating a number of openings in the first few minutes of the half. Haynes' cross on forty eight minutes was aimed for Clarke, but Budtz did well to claim the cross ahead of the striker

It was Glover who was presented with the best chance to equalise for the away side on fifty one minutes, as he broke clear of the Buxton defence, but dithered at the wrong moment as he shaped to shoot, and allowed Matty Williams to clear the ball. A melee followed as the Pitmen tried to force the ball home, with Budtz making a fine stop to deny wright his first goal for the club

Stuart McNaught was next to have a chance for the Pitmen a minute later, as a Thorley corner dropped to him, only for Budtz to deny him with a save from close range

And yet again, Buxton made the Pitmen pay for their missed chances and openings, as they made it 2-0 on fifty five minutes. Jackson showed the poor Caines a clean pair of heels and played the ball to Brad Abbott, whose subsequent cross was volleyed home by Alistair Taylor for his third goal of the season

Mukendi was introduced to the play a minute later, coming on to add power to the forward line in place of the tiring Glover

Jackson - a thorn in previous Hednesford sides when playing for the likes of Worksop - nearly added a third goal to Buxton's tally on the hour mark, driving a shot narrowly wide of goal after being given too much time to pick his spot

The Pitmen made their final change of the evening on sixty eight minutes, with the luckless Clarke withdrawn in favour of new boy Alfons Fosu-Mensah

Fosu-Mensah's first action was to force Budtz into a superb save on seventy eight minutes, driving in a low shot from fifteen yards that was brilliantly turned away by the former Wolves goalkeeper

Crane earned his man of the match commendation with another fine save as the game drew to a close, tipping over Joe McGee's cross-cum-shot to hand Buxton a corner kick

The frustration of the evening got too much for Mukendi, who was shown two yellow cards in quick succession for a lack of composure to end a miserable evening for the Pitmen and their supporters. There is still much to do to simply confirm their participation at step three for next season, with the temporary management team still looking for the right blend to their side. They have a great opportunity to record that all-important victory with the visit of rock-bottom Skelmersdale United to Keys Park at the weekend
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Kyle Haynes 90    
Callum Roberts 90  
Tom Thorley 90    
Dan Brenan 90    
Gavin Caines 90
Jordan Fitzpatrick 25 Wright  
Stuart McNaught 90    
Tony Clarke 68 Fosu-Mensah  
Danny Glover 60 Mukendi
George Washbourne 90    
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Lewis Wright 65 Fitzpatrick  
Alfons Fosu-Mensah 22 Clarke  
Vinny Mukendi 28 Glover
Gavin Hurren 0