DATE  22.10.2016
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Skelmersdale United  SKELMERSDALE UNITED (0) 1
 Hazeldine (52)
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 3
  Maye (9), Sammons (50), Logan (90)
MoTM  Lewis Wright
TOP SCORERS  Carline/Singh (7)
FORM GUIDE  W  D  D  W  L  W  L  W  L  L  W
1st Whitby Town 17 34
2nd Blyth Spartans 17 33
3rd Buxton 16 31
4th Rushall Olympic 16 30
6th Warrington Town 18 26
7th Spennymoor Town 13 25
8th Ashton United 17 25
9th Matlock Town 14 25
10th Mickleover Sports 17 25
11th Nantwich Town 13 22
12th Halesowen Town 15 22
The Pitmen get themselves back to winning ways this afternoon, as Liam McDonald's men earn all three points at bottom club Skelmersdale - but not without incident or drama

Tuesday night's poor display and subsequent defeat at the hands of lowly Barwell had seen McDonald make more changes to his side - Lewis Wright, Ashley Sammons and Jamie Matthews all came back into the XI in place of James Mutton, Tristian Dunkley and Joel Logan. There was no place in the matchday squad for Dan Crane, who was replaced by Reiss Wagstaff, with Desean Martin and Remeao Hutton making their first ever appearances amongst the Hednesford substitutes

Opponents Skelmersdale had sunk to the foot of the Evo-Stik Premier League in the past week, having lost twice in the last week - 1-0 to Whitby, 3-0 to Ilkeston - to leave Skem three points from safety at the start of play

Lloyd Ransome had his heart in his mouth in the very first minute of the game, as Skem striker Max Hazeldine made an immediate break through the middle of the Hednesford defence. Keeper Ransome came rushing out of his box and fouled Hazeldine as he made his way forwards. The referee recognised the number of defenders covering behind Ransome and showed him a yellow card

The Pitmen responded well from the early shock and settled into their sharp passing game and started to drag Skelmersdale around the pitch. Sammons tried his luck with an optimistic effort from thirty yards out in the sixth minute, lobbing Skelmersdale keeper Martin Fearon but also clearing the crossbar with his shot

George Carline went even closer to opening the scoring a minute later, as his run and curling shot was deflected inches wide of the left hand post for a Hednesford corner

Neat, incisive play by the Pitmen saw them open up Skelmersdale in the next attack, allowing Simeon Maye to fire home his second goal of the season as he was put through to slide the ball past Fearon from twelve yards out

A succession of Hednesford corners followed as Skelmersdale's defence adopted a 'safety first' mentality of clearing the ball at the earliest opportunity. However, the closest they came to adding to their lead came through George Carline's off-target header from Tom Thorley's deep cross

Skelmersdale forced a clutch of corners of their own midway through the half, with Ransome doing well to punch clear twice as the Pitmen confidently cleared their lines

A swift break out from the Pitmen on twenty seven minutes saw Carline collect the ball and attempt a lob over Fearon, only for him to lift the ball over the crossbar

Carline continued to waste the good opportunities that came to him in the first half, heading downwards from a Cohen Bramall cross and wide of goal, followed by a driven shot well wide of the target after being played in by Sammons

Gurjit Singh had been quiet for the majority of the first half, but came close to making his mark on the game just before half time. After making a run in behind the Skelmersdale defence, Singh cut the ball back and fired in a shot that came back off the angle of bar and post

  The Pitmen continued to dominate proceedings in the early stages of the second half, and added to their lead just five minutes after the restart. A cross from Bramall picked out Carline, who clipped the ball into the path of Sammons. Without checking his stride, Sammons unleashed a low volley that flew through a forest of legs and beat Fearon to his right

Many expected the Pitmen to go on and finish the game as a contest, but poor defending allowed Skelmersdale back into the game two minutes later. Maye was the culprit, losing the ball in midfield over-playing it. Luke Wall picked the ball up and fired in a shot that Ransome did well to save from close range. However, the loose ball looped up and fell kindly to Hazeldine, who nodded the ball into the empty net

The ineffective Matthews was taken off in favour of Dunkley on fifty eight minutes, with the former Witton Albion man still looking for his first Hednesford goal since joining in the summer

The Pitmen counted themselves lucky to stay in front on sixty three minutes, as Benito Lowe headed wide of goal at the far post after a deep left wing cross

Dunkley's afternoon came to a premature end before it had even started, as the striker was shown a straight red card for stamping on the foot of Tony Rendell as the pair challenged for a loose ball

In an attempt to allow for Dunkley's dismissal, the fleet-footed Logan came on in place of Singh to add pace to the attack as the Pitmen looked to play on the counter-attack

Logan used his pace to good effect on eighty two minutes, escaping the attention of his marker down the left but firing straight at Fearon from an angle

The Pitmen had another let-off with six minutes remaining, as a corner kick from Skelmersdale was flapped at by Ransome, allowing substitute Ben Hodkinson the chance to equalise. However, with the goal gaping, he skied the ball over the crossbar from close range and with that, Skem's best chance to claim a point

As the game entered added time, the visitors sealed the win with a swift counter attack from the excellent Wright, who slipped the ball through to Logan. The forward broke clear of the Skelmersdale defence and jinked his way past Fearon before clipping the ball into the empty net

3-1 appears to be a reasonably comfortable win, but it ad been anything but in a difficult and dramatic second half from the Pitmen. They take a well-earned break from league action next weekend by making a first-ever trip to Stamford's new Zeeco Stadium to face the Daniels in the first qualifying round of the F.A. Trophy
Gurjit Singh makes a run  George Carline and Tom Thorley  Goal! Simeon Maye receives the plaudits  Tom Thorley is watched by Calum Flanagan
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Lloyd Ransome 90  
Lewis Wright 90    
Cohen Bramall 90
Simeon Maye 90   1
Michael Williams 90    
Calum Flanagan 90    
Gurjit Singh 72 Logan  
Tom Thorley 90    
Jamie Matthews 58 Dunkley  
Ashley Sammons 90   1
George Carline 90    
Reiss Wagstaff 0    
Tristian Dunkley 10 Matthews  
Remeao Hutton 0
Desean Martin 0
Joel Logan 18 Singh 1