Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Stenson (81)

Hednesford Town

Fitzpatrick (85)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Jim Mutton


Cleethorpes Town (H) 11.11.17

The Pitmen put Tuesday night's defeat to Grantham behind them as they earned a point a fellow mid-table lurkers Barwell this afternoon in a game of few chances and little quality from either side


With next week's potentially profitable F.A. Trophy game against Cleethorpes Town on the horizon, manager Rob Smith made two changes to his side with Alex Melbourne and Danny Glover dropping to the bench in favour of Joey Butlin and AJ George. Sam Oji also missed out after failing to prove his fitness and was replaced by Tuesday night's goalscorer Chekaine Steele


Barwell's form had been similarly patchy to the Pitmen this term, with Jimmy Ginnelly's side on a current run of three successive defeats in the Evo-Stik Premier League. Former Hednesford striker Kyle Perry had departed the club last week to join Stourbridge, although former Hednesford midfielder Jake Heath was named in the starting line-up for the hosts


 A chilly day in rural Leicestershire started with the Pitmen initially on the front foot, with Jordan Graham looking to continue his fine form after extending his loan at the club for a further month this week. In the fifth minute, the young forward did well to outmuscle Barwell defender Craig Stanley, but was pulled up for the foul before he could shoot


Darren Campion - who had a great game on Tuesday - blotted his copybook early on in the game with a crude challenge out on the left earning himself a stern talking-to from the referee and conceding a free kick in dangerous territory. Fortunately for the left back, James Wren was in commanding form and claimed the free kick with authority


Barwell skipper Stanley did well to deny Graham for a second time in the game on sixteen minutes, sliding in the block the forward's goalbound shot after he had drifted inside from the left wing


Wren was called upon to make another one of his trademark stops on nineteen minutes, blocking a low shot from Nigel Julien with his legs after Tom Bates had played the midfielder through on goal


Campion eventually did get his name taken by the referee after one foul too many and a mouthful for the officials saw him shown a yellow card for his efforts midway through the first half


A neat piece of build-up play from the Pitmen on twenty-seven minutes saw the ball fall to Graham on the edge of the penalty area, but his rising shot horribly missed the target from twenty yards out


Barwell keeper Liam Castle was called upon to make his first save of the afternoon on the half-hour mark, turning George's drive away from goal after Steele had made a jinking run down the right and crossed for the Mansfield Town loanee


The same duo linked up once again two minutes later to create another opening, with Steele's deep cross finding George once again, although on this occasion George failed to control the ball and allowed Jake Whitmore to clear


King thought he had put the Pitmen into the lead on thirty-three minutes, brilliantly firing home on the volley but being denied by the referee's whistle as he disallowed the goal for an earlier foul


The dangerous Graham was looking the best bet for a goal for the away side, creating another opening for himself on thirty-nine minutes as he cut inside from the left and curled a shot just beyond the upright at the far post


A towering header from Bates threatened from a Barwell corner on forty-two minutes, but his effort lacked direction and flew wide of goal with Wren guarding his near post


Butlin - still without a goal since his return to the club last month - had the final chance of the first half, curling a shot over the crossbar after turning smartly just inside the penalty area


In added time at the end of the first half, Liam Kay was booked for the hosts for a flailing arm on Campion in midfield which irked the former Telford man somewhat as the pair had words


The Pitmen started the second half strongly, forcing a number of corner kicks without any real penetration as Barwell defended well. Ben Bailey's long throws were also in full effect, with Stanley and Kay doing well to deny the Pitmen an opening


The second half was very more a war of attrition during it's opening fifteen minutes, with both sides struggling to open up the two stubborn defences. Graham and Butlin did well to link up once more on the hour mark, but the burly Butlin lost the ball at the crucial moment and allowed Kay to hack the ball away before he could shoot at goal


George - who had been quiet and a little ineffective - was booked on seventy-two minutes for diving in the penalty area as he attempted to earn the Pitmen a penalty kick. This was to be George's final involvement in the game, as he was taken off in favour of James Lawrie


Young Barwell forward Matt Stenson went close to opening the scoring in a dreary game on seventy-four minutes, racing through the Hednesford defence and rounding Wren. However, his shot lacked power and allowed Bailey to get back and block the shot at the near post and turn it behind for a corner


Stenson went close again for the hosts four minutes later, firing just wide of the near post I what had been Barwell's best chance of the game up to that point


Back came the Pitmen, with Butlin heading Campion's cross goalwards on seventy-eight minutes, only for Eddie Nisevic to partially clear the ball. It fell to Joe Fitzpatrick, whose shot ended up well, well wide of goal


Barwell finally broke the deadlock with nine minutes remaining, as a long ball down the middle opened up the Hednesford defence, falling to former Leicester Road striker Stenson. He did well to bring the ball down and turn Campion, before firing confidently past Wren from fifteen yards out


In an attempt to rescue a point for the away side, the Pitmen put on Glover in place of the tiring Steele, who had been virtually anonymous in the second half


The Pitmen's pressure earned them an equaliser with five minutes remaining, as a deep Lawrie free kick was partially cleared by Barwell, falling to Fitzpatrick on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder took a touch before steadying himself and sidefooting the ball past Castle and into the corner of the net for his first Hednesford goal


Stenson could have won it for the hosts in the final minute of time, blazing over the crossbar from an excellent position, before the final kick of the game almost sealed the win for Barwell; winger Ryan Baldwin tried his luck with a low drive, that Wren did enough to get a touch on to divert it onto the post before gathering the loose ball and the second attempt


All in all, a fair point for both sides, as neither team had enough quality to earn all three points. A rare week off for the Pitmen this week, with no midweek game for the first time this season, before Cleethorpes Town make their first ever visit to Keys Park on Saturday as both sides look to make progress in the F.A. Trophy


Barwell: Castle, Whitmore, Nisevic, Stanley © , Kay , Julien, Hildreth, Heath (Tweed 73), Barlone, Bates (Baldwin 59), Stenson       Subs Unused: Turner, Story, Hadland


Hednesford Town: Wren, Thorley ©, Campion Bailey, Mutton, King, Steele (Glover 83), Fitzpatrick, Butlin, Graham, George (Lawrie 72 )       Subs Unused: Melbourne, Oji, Crooks

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