Nuneaton Town 3 Hednesford Town 0
Saturday 30th April, 2016;
Nuneaton Town ended their season with a comprehensive win against Hednesford Town but results elsewhere meant that their play-off dream could not be realised.
Denied the chance to fight for promotion via the play-offs by just one point, Boro face another season in the Vanarama National League North after a campaign which, in truth, surpassed the expectations of most.
After the midweek win against Bradord Park Avenue Nuneaton went into the game hoping that both Boston and Harrogate slipped up on the final day, but as it was both eased to comprehensive victories.
Of course results elsewhere only came into effect if the Boro were to win their own encounter – despite Hednesford already being relegated they did not look like they would make that easy.
Nuneaton stopper Jordan Smith was the busier of the two keepers in the first half though Boro dominated the possession and territory statistics.
Smith earned his money with wonderful reactionary stop to deny Sean Williams when he sent a fierce volley goalwards from the edge of the box.
Smith was also needed ten minutes before the break as he got down low to stop Tom Peers when he sent a tricky shot goalwards.
Hednesford needed that little bit of quality to convert those chances into goals, Shane Byrne showed them what they were missing on that front on the stroke of half time.
The Boro captain stepped up to take a free-kick on the edge of the area and he left Pitmen keeper Lloyd Ransome with no chance as he curled it fantastically into the top corner.
Either the goal, or the timing of it, had a profound effect on the away side as they just did not come out with the same drive after the break. That could have been because the Boro simply overran them.
Nuneaton started brightly and just did not give Hednesford a look in.
It was a matter of when – and not if – the Boro would make that advantage pay. As it was it did not take long as less than an hour was on the clock when Marlon Harewood rolled back the years to slot one in from 10 yards out. A wonderful goal from a player who has been scoring goals like that throughout his career.
Hednesford were obviously getting frustrated with the game and perhaps with their season, and that frustration came to a head with the dismissal of Jonathan Royce.
With the game descending into an end of season encounter the Pitmen's number eight decided to spice up the occasion, producing a horrible over the top tackle on the halfway line, and one that was always going to end up with him taking an early bath.
Nuneaton enjoyed the comfort of the extra man and made it pay with another goal – and another quality one at that.
Substitute James Reid was the man who got it as he was fed a free-kick via a back-heel from Byrne, Reid did the rest, though, as he smashed it past Ransome.
FT: Nuneaton Town 3 Hednesford Town 0
NUNEATON TOWN: J.Smith, Elliott, Warburton, Maguire, Rowe-Turner, Scott, Byrne, Morgan, Whitehouse (Reid 52), Daniels, Harewood (Ironside 64).
Subs not used: De La Paz, Waite, Lane.
HEDNESFORD TOWN: Ransome, Digie (Robinson 62 - Crane 85), Fitzwater, Bailey, Francis, Ennis, Williams, Royce, Glover, Thomas, Peers.
Subs not used: Patterson.