DATE  24.9.2016
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Nantwich Town  NANTWICH TOWN (1) 1
 Bell (5)
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (0) 1
Singh (46)
MoTM  George Carline
TOP SCORER  Gurjit Singh (5)
FORM GUIDE  W  W  L  D  D  W  L  W  D  D
1st Blyth Spartans 9 19
2nd Buxton 9 17
3rd Ashton United 9 16
5th Spennymoor Town 7 16
6th Whitby Town 8 15
7th Rushall Olympic 8 14
8th Mickleover Sports 8 13
9th Warrington Town 8 13
10th Marine 9 12
11th Stourbridge 7 12
12th Barwell 8 10
The Pitmen have to settle for a frustrating point in Cheshire this afternoon, after Gurjit Singh's second half equaliser cancelled out Matty Bell's early strike for the hosts

Liam McDonald's side and their supporters were no doubt still smarting from Tuesday night's shambolic postponement of their away trip to Ilkeston, with the Pitmen 2-1 up with only four minutes remaining before a floodlight failure. Dan Crane had returned to the starting line-up after Lloyd Ransome's indifferent performance against Ashton, with Ashley Sammons also coming back into the XI in place of Joel Logan. Goalkeeper Reiss Wagstaff - recently signed on first team forms from the newly-formed youth team - took Ransome's place amongst the substitutes in the only other change

Nantwich had made a plodding start to the campaign, at odds with their high-scoring start last season, although they had remained unbeaten in their last five games under Phil Parkinson. The Dabbers named a number of former Pitmen in their side ahead of kick off, with keeper Dave Parton, full back Theo Stair and midfielder Sam Hall all starting the game, with forward Wayne Riley amongst the substitutes

However, the away side fell into the trap of dropping off the opposition early on, and paid the same price they had done against Ashton the previous week with an identical opening goal; a free kick was played into the path of Matty Bell, who had time and space to fire past Crane with a sidefooted effort from the edge of the penalty area to give Nantwich a fifth minute lead

Crane had to be alert three minutes later to deny Sean Cooke a second goal, palming his cross-cum-shot away from goal as he stretched to push the ball away

From the resultant throw-in, Ryan Brooke fired high and wide of the Hednesford goal with a wild effort twenty yards out

Despite matching the Dabbers in possession, it was the home side that continued to create the better openings in the first fifteen minutes, with striker Josh Gordon getting goal side of Calum Flanagan, but clipping his shot wide of Crane's far post after being played through by Cooke

Centre back Ibou Touray was lucky not to have seen red for a terrible high challenge on Danny Glover on eighteen minutes, leaving the Hednesford striker in agony after a clash

 Glover was being left far too isolated by his team-mates in the first quarter of the game, as Nantwich did a good job to nullify the threat of the Pitmen going forwards. The visitors were limited to off-target efforts from Sammons and George Carline, with the in-form Gurjit Singh struggling to get into the game

Glover went closest to getting the Pitmen back on level terms on twenty seven minutes, heading a Sammons free kick narrowly over the crossbar after he had won a free kick just outside the penalty area

A powerful long range effort from Sammons on forty minutes looked to be nestling in the bottom corner of the net, but hit the unfortunate Singh en route to goal and deflected it away from goal for a throw-in to the Dabbers

McDonald will have been happy with his side's level of possession and overall control of the game, but yet again the chances that were coming the way of his side were not being taken. His half time team talk must have had the desired effect, though, as his players struck back with the first attack of the second half; a deep cross from the right was controlled by Singh, who had switched wings with Carline at half time, who jinked his way inside Andy White before firing into the roof of Parton's net from an angle

James Mutton finally found himself in the referee's book on fifty two minutes after one foul too many on Cooke. The resultant free kick was headed narrowly over by Brooke, who was left free in the penalty area

Mutton's game ended prematurely on fifty eight minutes, as Michael Williams was given a rare run-out at centre back in his place after Mutton had come off worse in a midfield battle

Nantwich went close themselves to re-taking the lead on sixty one minutes, as Touray controlled a Hall cross and turned Flanagan, before firing wide of goal

A superb cross from former Nantwich man Cohen Bramall found Glover at the far post on sixty nine minutes, but the striker made a hash of his control and allowed the ball to squirm away from him, with Touray on hand to hack the ball away

That was Glover's final involvement in the game, as he was replaced by Sean Geddes two minutes later. Singh moved up front to cover, with Carline playing a more central role

Sammons once again failed to make the ninety minute mark, as he was replaced by the pacy Tristian Dunkley with ten minutes remaining

Crane was on hand to deny former team-mate Riley a goal with nine minutes remaining, saving well to hold the Nantwich substitute's header

Parton made a good stop to deny Williams, before Bramall wasted a superb chance to pick out Dunkley, crossing far too high over the head of the unmarked substitute with seven minutes left

Parton was again in action with five minutes remaining, punching a corner away from goal after Singh's shot was deflected behind

The evergreen Dave Walker - a persistent threat to previous Hednesford sides - somehow failed to score with a far post header on eighty seven minutes, directing the ball over the crossbar from six yards out

The game ebbed and flowed in the final minutes, as both sides looked to grab that elusive winner; Walker chipped wide for Nantwich, whilst Tom Thorley headed weakly towards goal at the far post and allowed the ball to be cleared

Both sides will feel that it was a point earned, rather than two lost, in a competitive encounter. The Pitmen welcome mid-table Mickleover to Keys Park on Monday night as they look for a quick response to successive league draws
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Lewis Wright 90    
Cohen Bramall 90    
Tom Thorley 90    
James Mutton 58 Williams  
Calum Flanagan 90    
Gurjit Singh 90   1
Simeon Maye 90    
Danny Glover 71 Geddes  
Ashley Sammons 80 Dunkley  
George Carline 90    
Reiss Wagstaff 0    
Michael Williams 32 Mutton  
Sean Geddes 19 Glover  
Joel Logan 0    
Tristian Dunkley 10 Sammons