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Hednesford Town 0 - 2 Northwich Victoria
- Parent Category: Match Reports
- Written by Ben
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MARTIN Foyle’s cautious tactics paid off as Northwich Victoria moved up to second in the league with a hard fought win at Keys Park.
The former York manager said in a Northwich Guardian article that his focus was on making Northwich difficult to beat, and his well-organised side certainly achieved that feat.
Both sides created numerous chances in an action packed contest, but Northwich’s ability to close Hednesford down with a five man midfield and a solid backline – qualities missing from the performance against Kendal, proved the difference in this game.
Hednesford struggled throughout to keep possession and their play in the final third was largely disappointing, although Ben Hinchliffe did have to produce a few match winning saves in the Northwich goal.
The game started with some early Northwich pressure leading to a corner that was won by Michael Clarke, the following corner was out swung to Ian Kearney at the back post, who headed straight into Hednesford keeper Dan Crane.
In response, Elliiot Durrell created an opening for Hednesford that left Mark Beesley in space, only for the forward to scuff his shot wide.
Nick Wellecomme then struck a shot into the side netting after being picked out at the front post from a Durrell corner, as Hednesford started to settle down and play neat passing football.
Hednesford’s bright spell continued as they created a duo of chances, first Jamey Osbourne sent a free kick wide, and Chris Clements spurned a fabulous chance from Durrell’s cross as he blazed over with a gaping goal to strike at.
For Northwich, the unmarked Steve Abbot should have done better than head wide from Ryan Wade’s centre, in what was proving to be an end to end top of the table encounter.
But some late Northwich pressure paid dividends, as they took the lead on forty three minutes, largely due to the fact that Hednesford failed to clear Ben Hinchliffe’s free kick, leaving an unmarked Kearney to tap in from close range.
The second half started with Northwich again in control, and Wayne Riley fired wide after a knock down from Tony Evans.
Hednesford were being pegged back in their own half and resorted to long ball tactics, this put them under a considerable amount of pressure, and Northwich should have doubled their lead when some fine link up play between Tom Field and John Disney sent Wade through, one on one with the keeper, the former Skelmersdale man saw his shot saved.
But despite Northwich’s dominance, a brilliant one handed save from Hinchliffe preserved Northwich’s lead, after Ben Jevons had latched onto Osbourne’s low cross in the box.
Northwich sat back in the last fifteen minutes and preserved their lead, it nearly lead to their downfall with Kearney blocking Jevons shot, and Dominic Collins clearing Osbourne’s poke towards goal after a goalmouth scramble. Finally David Fitzpatrick managed to clear the ball away from danger as Hednesford bid to equalise.
Hednesford continued to push and Northwich played with nine men behind the ball, leaving Tony Evans isolated up front, but on the break Northwich doubled their lead from the penalty spot on ninety minutes. Fitzpatrick’s long ball fell to Wayne Riley, who raced into the box and was tripped by Cheyenne Dunkley.
In protest Darren Campion was dismissed for his second caution of the game, before substitute Kyle Armstrong stepped up to stroke the ball home from the penalty spot, and bag Northwich an important win in their quest to get into the play-off positions.
Hednesford: Crane (GK), Haynes (Landell 74), Campion (C), Dunkley, Johnson, Denny, Durrell (Jevons 68), Clements, Wellecomme, Beesley (Hay 68), Osbourne
Substitutes: Hay, Blakeman, Landell, Jevons, Bailey
Bookings: Durrell (y65), Haynes (y68), Dunkley (y90) Campion (SO 90)
Northwich: Hinchliffe (GK), Disney, Fitzpatrick, Collins, Kearney (C), Field, Riley, Abbott, Clarke, Wade, Woolfe
Substitutes: Roddy, Budrys, Armstrong (Wade 77), Evans (Clarke 45), Short
Goals: Kearney (43), Armstrong (90)
Referee: N Hobbis
Assistant (Red) M Brooks
Assistant (Yellow) J Walker