Hexham 2-0 Swalwell
It's getting to the crunch time in the promotion stakes and very point is vital but due to holidays and injuries Hexham had a few non runners in the race for elevation to the next tier against pre season favourites Swalwell. But the race for the top has passed by Swalwell and they have slipped down the field to languish next to bottom of the table. To their credit they attacked the home team who early on were trying to adapt to the formation and personal changes that was forced upon them.
On eight minutes Ali Stobbs had the first effort on goal and it was a thumping drive that keeper Scott Simpson did well to block. That was enough to kick start the match and both sides decided that the best form of defence was attack, from here on in Hexham had the better of the encounter but not without a couple scares along the way. After twenty one minutes Liam Heenan had the ball in the visitors net when he headed home a rebound, but he was adjudged to be in an offside position so the deadlock continued. The next fifteen minutes to the interval were an incredible combination of missed chances good saves and the woodwork took a battering. Swalwell almost took the lead when a Shaun Rogan drive looked to heading into the corner of the goal before hitting the upright spinning along and off the line before being cleared.
Hexham wound up the pressure on the Swalwell goal after this shock and ought to have been home and hosed by half time. First Liam Heenan shook off his marker to turn and shoot which Simpson managed to palm away, then Luke Parkinson hit a shot which crashed off the crossbar. In an amazing sequence of events when Heenan, Parkinson, North and Peel all had goal bound efforts saved by desperate blocks when a goal looked certain.
After the break a change of tactics was employed to unleash Thomas North from his enforced defensive duties to run at the Swalwell rearguard. This unsettled the defenders and had an immediate effect. A well worked move involving Jamie Peel and Neil Tiffin gave North the chance to break through the ranks of Swalwell and as Simpson came off his line Thomas slipped the ball under the advancing keeper and into the net. Two minutes later Hexham doubled their lead, a cross into the box was flicked on by Stephen Brown and Liam Heenan volleyed home for his twenty first goal of the season. These goals came within a five minute spell to kill the match as a contest and secure the much needed points. Even though the home side dominated the proceedings Swalwell never gave up and almost reduced the arrears when Darren Frizzell crashed a header off the Hexham crossbar.
Apart from that scare and the shot which hit the post in the first half home goalkeeper Carl Robinson had a quiet afternoon, everything that was thrown at him he handled competently. Further chances came Hexham's way with Kurtis Harvey and Ali Stobbs both going close but the two goals were enough to edge closer to leaders Red House Farm. The chasing pack is lead by Northbank Carlisle and taking the worse case scenario if the Cumbrian's win all their remaining games Hexham still need thirteen points to take the title from their remaining five matches.
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