Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine went down to only their third League defeat of the season on Tuesday night, by 2-0 at Hednesford Town.
This was always a going to be a difficult test for Kevin Lynch’s men, with John Shaw’s first half dismissal making it even more so.
The Mariners started brightly and exchanged chances with the Pitmen in the opening twenty minutes, Andy Fowler and Shaw having good shots which forced saves from home goalkeeper Dan Crane.
Crane’s counterpart Ryan McMahon was also called in to action to keep out efforts from Nathan Woolfe and Aaron Rey, with other shots from Jamey Osborne and Woolfe going off target.
Town were in the lead on 28 minutes, Neil Harvey’s miscued shot finding Rey for the ex Mariner to fire low to McMahon’s left.
Harvey should have extended his side’s lead when latching on to Osborne’s cross, but he could only scoop the ball over the bar from six yards.
Controversy erupted after 38 minutes, Elliott Durrell falling on the ball and being penalised for a free kick, Shaw seeing red for a kick on the home player, although it was difficult to see precisely what happened given the usual melee of players pushing and shoving.
As might be expected with the extra man Hednesford made most of the second half chances, Woolfe’s free kick being parried by McMahon with the gloveman recovering to save Ben Bailey’s follow up from the edge of the box.
Karl Noon had an opening for the visitors, bursting in to the box from Jon Goulding’s pass but being foiled by a great saving tackle from another former Mariner in the shape of Sam Barnes.
Harvey put a free header over from Woolfe’s cross but the Pitmen made the game safe on 68 minutes, Osborne’s pass putting Durrell in on goal with the home player steering it past McMahon from just inside the box.
Substitute Michael Lennon might have extended their lead late on, McMahon pulling off a good stop and then the ex Nantwich man sending a lob from a tight angle narrowly wide of the far post.
Rey made McMahon beat away a strong shot with Danny Grannon almost pulling a goal back at the other end, his looping header from Michael Ordish’s cross being cleared off the line but Town saw out time to take all three points.
Hednesford Town: Dan Crane, John Disney, Darren Campion (Cap), Ben Bailey, Sam Barnes, Alex Melbourne, Jamey Osborne, Elliott Durrell (Sean O’Connor 82), Neil Harvey (Michael Lennon 82), Aaron Rey, Nathan Woolfe (Luke Bottomer 76).
Unused subs: Francino Francis, Sam Hornby. Cautions: Melbourne.
Marine: Ryan McMahon (Cap), Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Matty Brown, Danny Grannon, Robbie Lawton (Liam Dawson 68), Andy Fowler (Karl Noon 56), Jonathan Goulding, Paul Brown (Michael Ordish 41), Nick Rogan, Alan Burton.
Unused subs: Paul Lundon, Callum Williams (G/K). Cautions: Fowler, Dawson. Sent off: Shaw.
Referee: Mr. G. Taylor; Assistants Mr. S. Hill, Mr. R. Cairns.