DATE  18.2.2017
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (3) 5
 Washbourne (6), McNaught (17), Brenan (43), Glover (58), McDermott (74)
Skelmersdale United  SKELMERSDALE UNITED (0) 0
MoTM  George Washbourne
TOP SCORER  Danny Glover (10)
FORM GUIDE  W  W  L  L  L  W  L  D  L  L  W
1st Blyth Spartans 32 71
2nd Buxton 33 57
3rd Whitby Town 33 56
4th Stourbridge 31 55
5th Grantham Town 35 55
6th Nantwich Town 31 55
7th Workington 33 54
8th Matlock Town 30 53
9th Spennymoor Town 29 50
10th Barwell 34 51
11th Rushall Olympic 31 49
Under a cloud of sadness, the Pitmen finally got themselves back on track with a comprehensive win over rock-bottom side Skelmersdale United this afternoon

The club had been shocked by the sudden death of club secretary Mick Johnson the previous week, with the Pitmen delivering a fitting tribute to the loyal club volunteer with an impeccably observed one minute's silence before kick-off. On the pitch, it was a warm welcome to new signing Nat Brown, with the highly-experienced 35 year-old centre back joining the Pitmen on a month's loan from Boston United. He came straight into the side in place of Gavin Caines, who dropped to the bench. Up front, Tony Clarke was given the nod ahead of Vinny Mukendi, who had blotted his copybook with a late red card on Tuesday night in the defeat to Buxton. David McDermott was restored to the side after recovering from injury, replacing Jordan Fitzpatrick in a midfield role

Skelmersdale's season had been one of real struggle, with the Lancashire side now rooted to the foot of the table after a nightmare run of results that had seen them lose every one of their six games so far in 2017, part of an overall winless run of twelve games dating back to November. This had led to the hard decision to sack long-serving manager Tommy Lawson two weeks ago after ten years in charge of the side. Former Nottingham Forest player Alan Rogers had been appointed as manager in an attempt to lift Skem away from the drop zone

The Pitmen were quick to dish out more misery on the away side however, as with the first meaningful attack of the game they took the lead through George Washbourne. The new signing from Sutton Coldfield seized upon Clarke's knockdown and skipped past a half-hearted challenge before firing home his first goal for the club in the sixth minute

The Pitmen continued to pile forwards as they looked to take advantage of Skem's dreadful form and low confidence, with keeper Chris Cheetham making a great save to deny McDermott after the fit-again midfielder was played clean through on goal

The hosts did double their lead on seventeen minutes, as they were given too much time and space to make a move down the right, with Kyle Haynes' cross finding Stuart McNaught on the edge of the penalty area. His low drive was enough to find the far bottom corner of the net, deceiving Cheetham after it had come through a number of players in front of him

Brown made his first significant contribution to his new team on twenty two minutes, making a vital block to deny Remmy Howarth a goal for the visitors after he had raced onto a ball from Michael Vaughan-Muscat and taken the ball around Dan Crane. The rebound fell to Jack Watts, who was also denied by Brown's smothering stop

The returning Darren Campion nearly scored his first goal since his return to the club in freak circumstances on thirty three minutes, as his high, drifting cross from the left bounced off the crossbar and out of play

Great wing play from man of the match George Washbourne saw the winger jink his way past a couple of challenges before crossing towards McDermott, who narrowly failed to connect with the ball at the far post

Top scorer Danny Glover was involved in the Pitmen's third goal of the afternoon just before half time, as his fiercely struck free kick was spilled by Cheetham, allowing centre back Dan Brenan to seize upon the loose ball and turn it home from close range for his second goal of the season

The away side came out with plenty of intention at the start of the second half, forcing successive corner kicks in the opening moments that were well dealt with by the Hednesford defence, looking far more accomplished with Brown giving the orders at the back. Vaughan-Muscat went close to reducing the deficit on fifty seven minutes, but his shot on the turn was too high to trouble Crane

A minute later, it was all over as a contest for Skem, as Glover got his name on the scoresheet with a fourth goal for the Pitmen. Clarke did well to close down Cheetham, who only succeeded in playing the ball into the path of Glover, who calmly slotted home for his tenth goal of the season

Skelmersdale's rotten afternoon got even worse in the seventieth minute, as Vaughan-Muscat was shown a red card for an over-the-top challenge on McDermott. After a spell of pushing and shoving, Vaughan-Muscat was sent off with Haynes and Clarke booked for their part in the following bout of handbags

The Pitmen took full advantage of their numerical superiority with a fifth and final goal on seventy four minutes, with Clarke winning the ball and playing in McDermott, who scored his first goal since his debut at Workington in November with a simple finish from ten yards out

Hednesford's caretaker management team could now afford the luxury of making a raft of changes in the final minutes, with Mukendi replacing McDermott, Lewis Wright coming on for McNaught on seventy nine minutes and on-loan Callum Roberts making a late appearance in place of Glover with five minutes remaining

There was still time for Clarke to go close to scoring his first ever goal for the Pitmen, but the big striker was denied once again by a good save from Cheetham as he continued to search for that elusive maiden strike

A morale-boosting five-nil win lifts the spirits at Keys Park, moving the Pitmen back into the top half of the table but still eight points off a play-off place. They face one of Skem's relegation rivals on Tuesday night, as they visit Ilkeston for the second time this season looking to earn the three points they thought they had previously earned in September before the game was abandoned late on
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Kyle Haynes 90    
Darren Campion 90  
Stuart McNaught 79 Wright 1
Nat Brown 90    
Dan Brenan 90 1
George Washbourne 90   1
Tom Thorley 90    
Danny Glover 85 Roberts 1
Tony Clarke 90    
David McDermott 75 Mukendi 1
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Vinny Mukendi 15 McDermott  
Gavin Caines 0    
Callum Roberts 5 Glover
Lewis Wright 11 McNaught