DATE  5.11.2016
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 1
 Carline (40)
Grantham Town  GRANTHAM TOWN (0) 0
MoTM  Tom Thorley
TOP SCORER  George Carline (9)
FORM GUIDE  W  L  W  L  W  L  L  W  W  W  W
1st Whitby Town 18 37
2nd Blyth Spartans 18 36
3rd Rushall Olympic 18 36
5th Buxton 18 34
6th Spennymoor Town 14 28
7th Nantwich Town 15 2
8th Matlock Town 16 28
9th Ashton United 19 28
10th Warrington Town 19 27
11th Mickleover Sports 19 25
12th Halesowen Town 17 25
Three successive league wins in the last fortnight has propelled the Pitmen up the table and into contention, with today's narrow win over Grantham Town leaving Liam McDonald's side just three points off the Evo-Stik Premier League summit

Monday night's comprehensive win over Sutton Coldfield Town had continued the Pitmen's good recent form, with Hednesford now the highest scorers in the Evo-Stik Premier League with thirty six goals already plundered this term. McDonald made one enforced change to his side in goal, bringing Dan Crane back into the fold after injury ruled Lloyd Ransome out of starting. Danny Glover also failed to shake off injury and was ruled out of the matchday squad

Grantham arrived at Keys Park off the back of a good run of form, unbeaten in their last four games, including a 4-0 win over Stratford Town in the F.A. Trophy last week. Former Oxford City man Felipe Barcelos had been the man in form in recent games, scoring eight time in ten games since joining the Gingerbreads from Banbury United

Crane was called into action a little earlier than expected, as Simeon Maye's slack back pass in the seventh minute was seized upon by Barcelos, whose through ball to Lee Shaw was cut out by the onrushing Crane

The Pitmen somehow failed to take the lead with their first real attack of the game a minute later, as an excellent cross by Cohen Bramall was turned goalwards by Jamie Matthews. His shot was saved by Kieran Preston, with George Carline denied a certain goal on the rebound by last-ditch defending by Stefan Galinski

A long range effort from Barcelos was easily fielded by Crane on twenty minutes, before the same player headed narrowly wide of goal from a deep cross six minutes later with Crane beaten

A superb run from Joel Logan saw the winger drift past three challenges on twenty eight minutes, but his shot did not match the run and Preston made a simple stop

The two sides traded corner kicks without success towards the end of a fairly even first period, with James Mutton heading wide of goal following a Thorley flag kick on thirty seven minutes

The home side made the crucial breakthrough with five minutes of the first half remaining. Thorley's inswinging corner kick found the head of Carline, who rose highest to powerfully head past Preston and into the net for his ninth goal of the season

A minute later, Matthews was presented with a peach of a chance to double the Pitmen's lead, as he was played clean through a static Grantham defence. However, the striker dithered in front of goal, and allowed the Grantham defence to recover and block his eventual effort

The Pitmen made a superb start to the second half, playing some delightful football in the opening stages of the period. Matthews, Carline, Logan and the excellent Thorley were all prominent as the hosts knocked the ball about with confidence and purpose

Carline's long range shot was blocked by a Grantham defender, conceding a corner kick that Thorley played quickly into the path of Maye, whose shot flew over the crossbar

The referee made himself an unpopular figure with the Hednesford supporters on sixty six minutes, as he awarded Grantham a penalty after spotting what was allegedly a handball by Mutton. Barcelos stepped up to take the resultant spot kick, but Crane guessed right and made an excellent save to his right to deny the Brazilian/Italian striker

Matthews was replaced by teenager Myles Phipps on sixty nine minutes, which was followed soon after by Ashley Sammons' introduction in place of Gurjit Singh

Crane was called upon once again with twelve minutes remaining, rushing out to the edge of his penalty area to deny Shaw with a smothering save down by his feet

With five minutes remaining, Desean Martin made his first appearance as a Hednesford player as he came on in place of Logan

A late chance fell Carline's way as he looked to seal the win, lobbing the ball over the head of a defender and then Preston, but saw his effort cleared off the line by Galinski in what was to be the final action of the game

Three points keeps the Pitmen in touch at the top of the table, with all of the top three also winning in the league today. They take a break from Evo-Stik action once again next week with the prospect of an exciting local derby against Stafford Rangers in the F.A. Trophy 2nd qualifying round
George Carline - another goal for the midfielder  Jamie Matthews in action  Calum Flanagan and Cohen Bramall challenge  Joel Logan, Tom Thorley and Simeon Maye
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Michael Williams 90    
Cohen Bramall 90
Simeon Maye 90    
James Mutton 90    
Calum Flanagan 90    
Joel Logan 85 Martin  
Tom Thorley 90    
Jamie Matthews 69 Phipps  
Gurjit Singh 75 Sammons  
George Carline 90   1
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Myles Phipps 21 Matthews  
Desean Martin 5 Logan
Remeao Hutton 0  
Ashley Sammons 15 Singh