Hemsworth’s promotion hopes slip after derby defeat

Nick Guest, on target in vain for Hemsworth MW against Pontefract Collieries.

Nick Guest, on target in vain for Hemsworth MW against Pontefract Collieries.

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Hemsworth MW’s promotion hopes have been left hanging by a thread following a 2-1 home defeat to leaders Pontefract Collieries in Division One of the Toolstation NCE League on Tuesday night.

The result left Wayne Benn’s men in fourth place, 12 points behind Pontefract and five behind second-placed Clipstone, who have a game in hand.

Welfare looked set for a second success against Colls this season when they went in front through Nick Guest on the stroke of half-time.

But the league leaders hit back after the break to clinch victory with two goals in two minutes from centre-back Nigel Danby and Aaron Joseph.

Hemsworth returned from Rossington Main’s Oxford Street ground with all three points on Saturday as goals from Jack Steers and Lee Swift sealed a 2-1 victory.

Following the defeat to Hallam in midweek manager Wayne Benn rang the changes, giving Jimmy Walker his first start up front in place of Dom Blair while Lee Swift paid the price for his sending off, being replaced by Robbie Crapper and Will Kemp came in for Adam Wilson on the left of midfield. Cameron Clark also returned to action after a three week injury lay-off, replacing the unavailable Rob Tonks at left-back.

Against the wind in the first half, Hemsworth started brightly with Clark and Kemp dangerous down the left and Nash Connolly on the right.

Clark got to the by-line and forced a corner and Connolly’s delivery was met by Steers whose header was over the line as a Rosso defender cleared. The linesman signalled a goal to put Welfare one up after eight minutes.

Rossington worked hard and harassed Welfare into making countless mistakes as the game became scrappy, but the home team were reduced to efforts from range.

Kemp was the next to threaten with a superb ball into the box, Walker just failing to get in front of his marker to head the ball home. From the corner Sam Colbear’s header just shaved the post with the keeper beaten.

Rossington had more pressure leading up to the break, but Hemsworth’s aerial advantage ensured everything was cleared to safety and they took a lead going into half-time.

With the wind in their favour, Hemsworth piled on the pressure in the second period, but the second goal was proving elusive.

Crapper had a couple of efforts which went wide and Nick Guest made the keeper work with a stinging shot from just inside the box.

Kemp hit a free-kick straight at the keeper and Connolly found Crapper again in the box, but after a poor first touch he was rushed into firing over.

Rossington kept pegging away, but the defence held firm with big headers and Jack Bentley’s handling was faultless between the sticks.

Finally Welfare could breath a little easier on 82 minutes as substitute Swift won the ball in midfield and drove at the Rossington defence before drilling a shot into the corner of the net.

Rossington hit back and a deflected free-kick by top scorer Lee Holmes made it a nervy last five minutes for the travelling fans, but Welfare hung on to take the points back to West Yorkshire and keep their slim promotion hopes alive. With four games left Hemsworth know they will probably have to win them all if they are to go up and this Saturday they are at home to Eccleshill United (3pm).