Harrogate Town kept up their play-off challenge with an excellent win at Keys Park, Hednesford.
Paul Clayton was recalled to lead the attack and new signing,Sidibe Lassana,was given a place on the subs bench.
Good work between Jack Emmett and Brendan Daniels saw home keeper, Dan Crane, have to race out of his goal to clear from James Cadman, but the Pitmen soon found themselves two goals down.
On four minutes,Lewis Turner’s pass sent Clayton clear, but Crane blocked his initial shot only to see the ball rebound off the striker into the net.
Simon Weaver’s decision to recall the target man again paid off handsomely four minutes later when Clayton’s header from a Jerry Yates cross, forced Crane into a diving save but Emmett reacted quickly to shoot home at the back post.
The Wetherby Roaders were in complete control and almost made it three when Yates was sent through by Daniels, only to fire just wide.
The Pitmen were finding it hard to contain Town and both Sean Williams and Matt Regan found their way into Referee Gibbons’ book as they sought to stem the tide.
A long throw from home skipper, Ben Bailey was headed over the bar by Kyle Perry and Williams brought a full length save from Peter Crook after a clever one-two with Paul Ennis.
The long expected rain arrived during the interval, but it did nothing to blunt Town’s cutting edge.
Within seconds of the restart a magnificent scissor kick by Clayton from Emmett’s centre gave Harrogate a seemingly unassailable lead.
Harrogate kept up the pressure and Crane blocked a Lloyd Kerry header from a Daniels cross, while Adam Thomas headed away a Daniels free kick,after a Kennedy Digie foul on Clayton.
Cadman unfortunately suffered a reoccurance of his foot injury and was replaced by Andy Gascoigne, while Danny Ellis limped off the field to be replaced by Matt Bloomer,mainly as a precautionary measure.
Both sides began to make mistakes as the conditions deteriorated under the incessant downpour and with a quarter of an hour left Hednesford opened their account.
Some neat interpassing on the edge of Town’s area saw debutant,Stephane Ngamvoulou break through to shoot past Peter Crook.
Crane saved well from Yates and Clayton as Harrogate hit back and Lassana was brought on to replace Yates with a few minutes left, but it was the Pitmen who had the last success when Shelton Payne made it 3-2 deep into stoppage time.
It was too little, too late,for the Pitmen and Town gained another valuable three points towards their title challenge.
Town, 1 Crook, 2 Turner, 3 Swain, 4 Cadman (Gascoigne 63),5 Ellis (c) (Bloomer 70), 6 McGurk, 7 Emmett, 8 Kerry, 9 Clayton, 10 Yates (Lassana 86), 11 Daniels.
Unused subs, 12 Thewlis, 14 Colbeck. Booking Kerry
Scorers Clayton 4,46, Emmett 8 Att.375
Hednesford Town 2 Harrogate Town 3 Att.375
By John Harrison