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Northwich Victoria 1 - 2 Hednesford Town
- Parent Category: Match Reports
- Written by Ben
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The news that Northwich Victoria will no longer be a Northern Premier League club come the end of the season, and the fact they will not be participating in this season’s promotion play-offs, placed an even further dampener on a miserable night which saw them lose to Hednesford. The fact Northwich have come to playing home games at Leek Town’s Harrison Park is suggestive of how much in the mire they really are. It could not have been more fitting that these events would happen on Friday 13th April.
On the pitch saw both teams battle away in wet and windy conditions, this contributed to a difficult, muddy playing surface. Manager, Martin Foyle took the conditions into consideration and went for a three man forward line of Chris Budrys, Tony Evans and Michael Clarke, all target men in favour of the width wide men such as Nathan Woolfe, Jordan Johnson and Ryan Wade would have provided.
Northwich had the better of the first half, but Hednesford appeared to take advantage of a rather sluggish Northwich side, clearly affected by off the field matters in the second half and got the goals their play merited.
The first ten minutes of the game were scrappy, and both teams found it hard to keep to their feet on a bobbly pitch. The first chance fell to Northwich with twelve minutes on the clock. Kyle Armstrong’s cute pass found Tom Field in space on the right hand side, this allowed him to cross into a danger area towards Budrys, but Cheyenne Dunkley managed to get in the way and head the ball out for a corner.
Hednesford suffered a blow on twenty six minutes, when number five Sam Craven landed awkwardly in winning a header. Elliot Durrell replaced the number five, who had to be carried off on a stretcher.
Northwich adapted better to the difficult playing conditions, and passed the ball around as well as could be expected. Budrys was hauled down by Durrell to earn Northwich a free kick. The following ball from Field was aimed towards Budrys, who glanced his header narrowly wide.
Hednesford looked to respond, and Dunkley used his strength to create an opening for the Pitmen. The centre back shoved Michael Roddy off the ball, and his cross was only partially cleared by the Northwich defence straight into the path of Chris Clements, who wildly blazed over despite being in space.
Then Hendesford really should have scored from their next attack. Armstrong slipped outside his own penalty area, inviting Mark Beesley to collect the ball and swerve around Northwich goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe, but Graeme Law was there to clear the forward’s resulting effort off the line as Hednesford ended the first half in the ascendancy.
Northwich started the second half strong enough, and created an opening – the source, Kyle Armstrong’s throw into the box. Clarke was there to get on the end of it, forcing Dan Crane in the Hednesford goal to tip the ball over the cross bar.
At the other end, the classy Clements created all sorts of problems for the Northwich defence. First, the midfield maestro curled a twenty yard shot over the cross bar, before he burst through moments later, only to see the same result from his strike.
But Northwich failed to take the hint, as Hednesford’s dominance lead to them taking the lead on the hour mark. There was no surprise in the ground that the goal scorer was Clements. The build-up to the goal saw Jamey Osbourne fend off the challenge of Steve Abbott and find Beesley on the edge of the box; Beesley then played the ball back into the feet of the goal scorer Clements, who drove a shot past the despairing dive of Hinchliffe to send the vocal Hednesford away following into raptures.
The goal prompted Foyle to make three changes with twenty minutes remaining, in an attempt to get back into the game. On came the width of Woolfe, Wade and Johnson for Abbott, Field and Clarke. The substitute would have instantly paid dividends, if only Johnson had done better than blaze over the bar from Evan’s assist.
Despite this chance for Northwich, Hednesford continued to be the dominant side, and doubled their lead from a defensive mix up. Durrell pounced on to the resulting loose ball to emphatically slot home into the bottom corner from inside the box on eighty minutes
By this time, Northwich were two goals down and disconsolate as the news spread about the league’s decision, but there was some slight cheer for Northwich hearts in the dying stages when they were awarded a penalty. The referee adjudged Dunkley to have handled in the box. Armstrong stepped up to send Crane the wrong way, in what will prove to be one of the dark nights in what is left of the history of Northwich Victoria.
Northwich: Hinchliffe (GK), Law, Fitzpatrick, Collins (C), Armstrong, Abbott (Woolfe 70), Roddy, Field (Wade 70), Budrys, Evans, Clarke (Johnson 70)
Substitutes: Woolfe, Wade, Johnson, Wright
Goal: Armstrong (90)
Hednesford: Crane (GK), Haynes, Shaw, Dunkley, Craven (Durrell 26), Denny (C), Osbourne, Clements (Blakeman 77), Wellecomme (Campion 83), Beesley, Jevons
Substitutes: Landell, Blakeman, Campion, Durrell, Ordish
Goals: Clements (59), Durrell (80)
Referee: P. Marsden
Assistant (Red) A. Bennett
Assistant (Yellow) M. Ryder
Man of the Match: Chris Clements, a classy performance from the midfield maestro on a difficult playing surface. His passing range was second to none and his goal well taken.