28.7.2018

Pre-Season Friendly

Alvechurch

March (40)

(1) 1

Hednesford Town

Cockerline (18), Dodd (67)

(1) 2

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Attendance

N/A

MoTM

Dan Cockerline

Current Form

W D D W D W

Next Match

Wolves U23 (H) 31.7.18

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The Pitmen continued their unbeaten start to pre-season this afternoon at a showery Alvechurch, making it six without defeat after edging out the Southern League Central new boys on their own pitch

 

The Hednesford side has started to take on a more settled look to it in recent games as the number of triallists has started to dwindle, with only one triallists starting the game for the visitors, wearing their new red away kit for the first time. Jose Veiga was handed his first start of the pre-season campaign between the sticks after James Wren and academy keeper Joe Williams had played in the previous games

 

Alvechurch - promoted from the Midland Football League last term - had split their squad in two for games against Highgate and Hednesford - with the majority of their first team facing the Pitmen as they looked for a good workout against a fellow step three side

 

A dreary day in Worcestershire - at odds with the scorching weather of the previous week - greeted the teams at kick-off, with Alvechurch straight into the action on the heavy, uneven surface. Aaron Birch tested Veiga's reflexes in the eighth minute, trying his luck with a driven shot into the near post that the veteran stopper claimed at the second attempt

Josh March was next to test the Veiga on eleven minutes, heading straight into the keeper's arms after rising highest to a cross from the left

 

The visitors took the lead on eighteen minutes, courtesy of a defensive mix-up from Alvechurch, as a long ball forwards was left by the Church centre-backs, allowing Dan Cockerline to seize upon the bouncing ball. The on-loan striker needed no second invitation to lash the ball home beyond former Sutton Coldfield keeper Matt Sargent from twelve yards out to make it two goals in three games since arriving from Southport

 

The hosts responded strongly, as Birch's cross somehow failed to find an Alvechurch player in the six-yard box on twenty-three minutes before Aaron Lloyd went close with a shot that was just wide of goal

 

The dangerous Cockerline almost doubled his tally for the game on the half-hour mark, as he once again got the better of the Alvechurch defence and attempted a lob over Sargent, who this time did enough to deny the tall striker and divert the ball away from goal before his defence mopped up the loose ball

 

An acrobatic effort from Lloyd had Veiga scrambling across his goal on thirty-nine minutes, turning the striker's overhead kick away for an Alvechurch corner kick

 

From the resultant corner, March rose highest to head the ball goalwards, with Veiga perhaps guilty of palming the tame header into his own net to gift the home side an equaliser

 

Cockerline was once again alert to an Alvechurch defensive error just before half-time, seizing upon a loose pass on the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a brilliant effort that came back off the crossbar

 

A loose ball from Hednesford skipper Stefan Galinski almost let in Alvechurch early in the second half, but Veiga's quick reactions prevented Mamoke Akauna a chance on goal

 

Further chances were to follow for the visitors on fifty-four minutes, as Kieran Cook's shot just clearing the Hednesford crossbar, with Veiga beaten. Akauana was also denied a clear shot on goal a few minutes later due to Nathan Fox's quick reactions

 

On sixty-seven minutes, however, a moment of magic from Matt Dodd grabbed the lead once more for the Pitmen. The winger did brilliantly to weave his way inside from the wing, beating two players before prodding his shot goalwards. Former Hednesford keeper Paul Evans - on at half-time for Sargent - made a meal of Dodd's shot, allowing it to squirm under his body at his near post, with a further deflection off his arm enough to turn the ball over the line

 

A minute later, a great through ball from Josh Craddock found Dodd on the edge of the penalty area, with the winger's dipping shot clearing the crossbar

 

Substitutions started to affect the flow of the game, with both sides making changes throughout the second half.  Substitute Akauana went closest to getting Alvechurch back into the game on seventy-six minutes, with his powerfully-struck shot coming back off the crossbar

 

There were two half-hearted penalty claims from the hosts in the closing stages, but the Pitmen did enough to earn themselves their third win od the pre-season programme so far. It was a good workout for both sides against opponents more relative to their league positions in the forthcoming season, with further tests to follow for Hednesford this midweek with two home games - against Wolves U23 and another Southern League Central side, Tamworth

Hednesford Town: Veiga, Curley, Fox, Fitzpatrick, Galinski ©, Mendez-Jones, Dodd, Craddock, Cockerline, Hollis, triallist no. 11. Subs: Davies, Griffiths, Hill, Gatter, Wren, triallist no. 17

 

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