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Come on you Pitmen - A Hednesford Story

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Hednesford Town

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This last Saturday my new adopted home town team of Hednesford got promoted to the Blue Square/Conference North after beating FC United 2-1 in the Evo-Stick Premier League Playoff final so I have decided to start a new save managing Hednesford to see if I can go one better and get automatic promotion.

Note:- I have competed my 1st season so will cover that over the next couple of posts then will do monthly ones for future seasons



Gone 1 Better - Automatic Promotion Achieved
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After a shaky start and some injuries to key players Elliott Durrell, keeper Danny Crane and star striker Sean O'Connor a late push had the Pitmen top of the league for the final run in. A final blip away to 3rd placed Matlock Town put Marine top with 1 game left but a Hednesford victory and a Matlock victory over Marine got the Pitmen the automatic promotion slot.

FA Trophy Run

After disappointing Challenge cup and FA Cup runs a FA Trophy run saw the mighty Pitmen beat higher level clubs Hayes & Yeading, Guiseley and Woking before falling to Grimsby over 2 legs in the semi final including a 4 goal spree from Nathan Woolfe in a 4-0 quarter final win over Woking

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With no transfer budget and a limited wage budget available loan signings played a big part in the season. The 1 main permanent transfer was Norweigan Alex Stockinger, a former Reading youth player scoring 7 in 45 appearances from midfield.

Three Pronged Attack

Sean O'Connor lead the line as the lone front man with Woolfe and Durrell playing as attacking wingers cutting in and scoring a bundle of goals. Behind was a midfield of 3 with a back 4 with attacking full backs.
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Conference North - Season 2


Again a lack of any transfer budget and with the club turning professional, meant a limited wage allowance for new players. Fortunately the club managed to sign some loan signings for the season alongside 2 ex internationals who have both played at the highest level.

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Recently released from French Ligue 1 club Dijon,Abdoulaye Meita has 48 caps for the Ivory Coast, having previously played for Marsielle, Bolton and WBA at the highest level. At 32 years old Meita has a good few years left at the lower levels

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At 35, Zimbabwean Benjani is more short term but having played for Auxerre, Portsmouth, Man City, Blackburn and Sunderland but will provide competition for Sean O'Connor up front

Pre Season

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A poor pre season started off with 2 wins against lower opposition before defeats to league clubs Gillingham and Premier league Wigan.


August 2013

Solihull Moors 0 Hednesford 4 - League

Meita (4)

Hednesford 0 Workington 0 - League

Worcester City 2 Hednesford 4 - League

O'Connor (2), Ridehalgh, Durrell

Hednesford 1 Corby Town 0 - League


Hednesford 4 Marine 2 - League

Benjani, Stockinger, Ridehalgh, Meita

League Table

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A promising start from the Pitmen see's them in 2nd place at the end of August having only dropped 2 points from 15. An unbelievable debut for Meita who scroed 4 on his debut from center back. On loan left back Liam Ridehalgh, from Huddersfield, also popped up with 2 goals with last seasons top scorer Sean O'Connor scoring 3 and keeping Benjani on the bench.

Abdoulaye Meita deservedly won the Player of the Month award scoring 5 goals in 5 games with myself coming 3rd in the Manager of the Month stakes

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September 2013
An eventful month, only 2 days after picking up Player of the Month award, Abdoulaye Meita picked up a sports hernia injury ruling him out until the end of October. Lacking experienced cover at center back the Pitmen turned to Africa again signing ex-PSV center back Eric Addo with 45 Ghana caps behind him. Addo at 34 as seen his best years but should still be class for the Pitmen. Also lacking cover in midfield and due to a shortage of midfield loan players available the Pitmen sign ex Man Utd trainee Jack Rudge.

Harrogate Town 1 Hednesford Town 0 - League

Histon 2 Hednesford Town 1 - League


Rushall Olympic 1 Hednesford Town 2 - FA Cup 4Q

Benjani, Ridehalgh

Tonbridge Angels 2 Hednesford Town 5 -Conference League Cup 2R

Benjani 2, Woolfe, Durrell, Barnes

Hednesford Town 2 Stalybridge Celtic 0 - League

Benjani, Durrell

League Table

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A poor month in the league for the Pitmen with the club only picking up 3 points out of a possible 9. Meita's injury seemed to hit the team, before the experienced Addo shored up and organised the back line. The Pitmen's dilemma up front deciding between last seasons top scorer Sean O'Connor and the experienced Benjani turned to the Zimbabwean's way with 4 goals in his last 3 games, with excellent support again from Woolfe and Durrell, with the former looking Hednesford's best player



October 2013 - Crisis up front
A mixed month for Hednesford in the league saw 8 points out of a possible 15 but a continuing run in both cups. The Pitmen having lost star center back Meita for 2 months, ended up losing replacement Eric Addo in a FA Cup match freak injury that saw the player suffer a broken wrist and a Red card in a ugly challenge. The real challenge was goals with Benjani getting injured for the month in the Telford game and replacement Sean O'Connor joining him on the treatment table for at least 2 months. Still by grinding out results Hednesford Town are still occupying a playoff position.


AFC Telford Utd 2 Hednesford Town 1 - League


Hednesford Town 2 Matlock Town 2 - FA Cup 1R

Campion, O'Connor

Matlock Town 0 Hednesford Town 1 - FA Cup 1R Replay


Vauxhall Motors 1 Hednesford 2 - League

Durrell, Woolfe

Hednesford Town 1 Guiseley 1 - League


Hednesford Town 1 Corby Town 0 - FA Cup 2R


Hednesford Town 2 Bradford PA 1 - League

Rudge, Meita

Hednesford Town 0 Tamworth 0 - League

League Table
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After a media prediction of 11th, newly promoted Hednesford Town can be rightly proud of sitting 4th after 13 games, especially coping well without new experienced signings Meita, Addo and Benjani. With Meita back and Benjani back early November the Pitmen will be looking to stay at the top with a busy league programme with 3 cups being played this month, starting with a home FA Cup game against league 2 team Bury.



1st Job Offer
After guiding Hednesford to promotion in his first season in management, Hednesford manager Collier seems to be gaining a promising reputation in the lower leagues which culminated in a job offer off Wycombe Wanderers. Wycombe, currently 2 divisions above the Pitmen and in 18th position offered to match Collier's wage and hoped the prospect of League football would tempt the young man.

Hednesford chairman Steve Price will be hoping that local boy Collier stays and continue's to build what seems a promising start to his career with the Pitmen
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November 2013 - Not our Cup Year
A busy November saw 8 games for the Pitmen, a job offer for manager Collier and the exit from 2 cups, more injuries for Benjani and the arrival of Hatib Cham. The big match in the FA Cup against League 2 Bury ended in defeat for the Pitmen, and 2 days later the Pitmen nearly suffered an even bigger loss when League 2 Wycombe made an approach for upcoming manager Collier which was promptly rejected from the Hednesford manager. Some progress was made in the league before losing the final 2 games of the month in cup and league.

Hednesford 1 Bury 3 - FA Cup 3R


Alfreton Town 2 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Benjani, Meita

Hednesford Town 3 Gosport Borough 0 - FA Trophy 4QR

Meita, Ridehalgh, Rudge

Nuneaton Town 2 Hednesford Town 3 - League

Benjani, Woolfe

Hednesford Town 5 Gainsborough Trinity 0 - League

Cham 4, Dunleavey

Hednesford Town 2 Welling Utd 2 - FA Trophy 1R

Woolfe 2

Stalybridge Celtic 3 Hednesford Town 2 - Conference League Cup 3R

Blanchard 2

Banbury Utd 2 Hednesford Town 1 - League


League Table
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The Pitmen continue their mixed but good form, with only some inconsistent results keeping them from challenging for top spot. Injury disruptions upfront and at the back seem to be easing and with Benjani, O'Connor and Cham now scoring hopefully the Pitmen will have a good Christmas



2nd Job Offer
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Only 6 weeks have passed since chairman Steve Price persuaded manager Lee Collier to stay on as Hednesford manager, and he must do the same again as Oxford United have offered their vacant job to the young manager. Oxford in the same division as Wycombe might be more appealing to young Collier


December 2013 - Merry Xmas at Keys Park
The previous 3 month's inconsistancy carried over into December with the wheels looking to fall off the Hednesford bandwagon before the Pitmen had a 100% record of 3 wins over the Xmas Period. Just before Xmas Hednesford manager Collier turned down his 2nd League 2 job off this season by rejecting Oxford Utd. Kerrea Gilbert, former Arsenal trainee currently with League 2 Kidderminster joined the Pitmen for a 3 month loan spell to help out at full back.


Welling Utd 1 Hednesford Town 2- FA Trophy 1R Replay

Benjani 2

Bury Town 2 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Wolfe, Dunleavey

Hednesford Town 0 Droylsden 1 - League

Eastleigh 0 Hednesford Town 0 - FA Trophy 2R

Hednesford Town 1 Eastleigh 0 - FA Trophy 2R Replay


Hednesford Town 2 Chester 0 - League

Woolfe, Robinson

Hednesford Town 5 Solihull Moors 1 - League

O'Connor 3, Woolfe, OG

Hednesford Town 4 FC Halifax Town 0 - League

Gilbert, Dunleavey, Blanchard, OG

League Table
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January 2014 - FA Trophy Run, Poor League Results
December's league run carried on with another 3 wins breaking Hednesfords record of consecutive wins to 6 in the league. The Pitmen showed their potential for the Conference division by knocking Stockport and Hereford out of the FA Trophy. On a negative note the Pitmen lost both games in the league after cup wins.

Experienced striker Benjani picked up his 4th injury of the season, this time for 3 months meaning it could be the last time he pulls on a Hednesford shirt. The question for the Hednesford board and management is whether Benjani has done enough to earn a years extension at the club or if its time to get rid due to the recurring injuries.


Workington 0 Hednesford Town 4 - League

Benjani, O'Connor, Durrell, Rudge

Hednesford Town 1 Worcester City 0 - League


Hednesford Town 3 Harrogate Town 1 - League

Durrell 2, Barnes

Stockport County 0 Hednesford Town 2 - FA Trophy 3R

Walton, Meite

Corby Town 3 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Woolfe, Ridehalgh

Hednesford Town 2 Hereford Utd 1 - FA Trophy QF

O'Connor, Durrell

Marine 3 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Cham, Durrell

League Table

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February 2014 - Wembley here we come :)
Hednesford had the chance to go 1 better than the previous campaign in the FA Trophy. Last time out the Pitmen lost to Conference team Grimsby, this time the opposition was Accrington Stanley who currently sit 10th 1 division above the Pitmen. The Pitmen had home advantage 1st and won 2-0, followed up by a 2-1 victory away from home to send Hednesford to Wembley. All 4 goals came from last seasons dynamic trio of O'Connor, Durrell and Woolfe.

In the league Hednesford lie 3rd but are trailing leaders Alfreton by 9 points.


Hendesford Town 2 Histon 0 - League

Tiofack, Stockinger

Hednesford Town 2 AFC Telford Utd 2 - League

Durrell, Ridehalgh

Stalybridge Celtic 2 Hednesford Town 1 - League


Hednesford Town 2 Accrington Stanley 0 - FA Trophy SF 1st Leg

O'Connor, Woolfe

Guisley 3 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Cham 2, Stockinger

Accrington Stanley 1 Hednesford Town 2 - League

Woolfe, Durrell

League Table
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FA Trophy Final 13-14
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What started out as a bad day for Hednesford when Damien Reeves scored for Mansfield after 12 minutes ended in joy for the Pitmen with 3 unanswered goals. Star of the match was on loan left back Liam Ridehalgh (Heddersfield Town) who put Hednesford 2-1 up with a brace either side of half time. Former Man Urd trainee Jack Rudge put the game beyond doubt with a 3rd goal leading Hednesford captain Sean O'Connor to lift the cup for the 2nd time in Hednesford's history.

Ridehalgh has now scored 8 in 39 appearances all from left back