Hednesford Town 2 Eastwood Town 0 Two goals in five minutes at the start of the second-half were enough to kill off Eastwood on Tuesday night as hosts Hednesford took three points.
While the outcome of the game was ultimately about right, the quickfire double was harsh on the Badgers who up to that point were arguably the better side.
But the goals knocked the stuffing out of them and in the end Hednesford could quite easily have won by a bigger margin.
After Jamey Osborne had fired a shot just wide in the fifth minute for Hednesford and Francino Francis was similarly close with a header from Elliott Durrell’s corner minutes later, Eastwood then took over proceedings.
They were unlucky not to be in front on 13 minutes when a mistake in defence let in Anthony Griffith Jnr who after going around the keeper in a crowded penalty area then stumbled to the ground from where he put the ball in the net - but the assistant referee had spotted TJ Nightingale was offside and interfering with play and the goal was disallowed.
Nightingale then found Jermaine Hollis at the back post whose powerful strike was saved, Paul Riley seeing his shot blocked on the rebound, and Markel Bailey was just wide with a free-kick moments later.
Hednesford battled back, Michael Lennon heading just wide, Durrell missing everyone with a dangerous free-kick into the six-yard box and then Ben Bailey hitting the crossbar with a header from a corner just on the half-time break.
But the hosts wouldn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough in the second-half. Four minutes had elapsed when Nathan Woolfe found space 25 yards out and hit a fine effort past Sam Andrew and into the corner of the net.
Riley then saw a curler tipped around the post by keeper Dan Crane - given the man-of-the-match award by the hosts at the end of the game - and that would be costly as Hednesford then doubled their lead, Sean O’Connor superbly heading home a pinpoint delivery from Durrell’s free-kick.
Hednesford then took control, Durrell, Lennon and Osborne all missing good opportunities to kill the game off, but the damage was done and the Badgers’ sixth defeat in a row was confirmed.
Hednesford: 1 Dan Crane 2 Alex Melbourne 3 Darren Campion 4 Ben Bailey 5 Francino Francis (c) 6 Phil Clarke (John Disney 80) 7 Jamey Osborne 8 Elliott Durrell 9 Sean O’Connor (Neil Harvey 76) 10 Michael Lennon (Aaron Rey 76) 11 Nathan Woolfe. Subs not used: Dave McPherson, Sam Barnes Scorers: Woolfe 49, O’Connor 54 Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Markel Bailey (Josh Raven 71) 3 Paul Riley (Paolo Piliero 86) 4 Romaine Graham 5 Deon Meikle (c) 6 Elliott Green 7 Danny Elliott 8 Alex Troke 9 TJ Nightingale (Gregg Simmons 82) 10 Anthony Griffith Jnr 11 Jermaine Hollis. Sub not used: Fabian Smith
Att: 439 Ref: B Rogers
by Mark Duffy