Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Basford United

Fenton (65)

Hednesford Town

Howard (22), Gatter (32)

(0) 1

(2) 2



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Josef Bursik




Gainsborough Trinity (H) 25.8.18

Hednesford Town got their season up and running at the second attempt this evening, as they inflicted a first home defeat on newly-promoted Basford United in their first ever visit to Greenwich Avenue


Wounded from their opening day defeat to Scarborough Athletic on Saturday, the Pitmen arrived in Nottingham with a point to prove after falttering to deceive in their Keys Park opener. Manager Rob Smith made two bold changes to his side ahead of kick-off, dropping both Charley Edge and Josh Craddock and bringing in Callam Mendez-Jones and Michael Howard in their places. Teenager Owen Turner was rewarded for his pre-season form with a call-up to the the first team - a first for the club in promoting a 16 year-old to the senior ranks


Basford - promoted from Evo-Stik Division One South as Champions last term - had impressively strengthened their ranks as they prepared for life at step three. Manager Martin Carruthers had been busy recruiting the likes of Nat Watson (Coalville), Greg Tempest (Gainsborough), Kieran Preston (Grantham) and Dom Roma (Scarborough) in an attempt to make the step up with ease. Another notable signing from pre-season was the acquisition of former Mansfield wonderkid Jack Thomas, a former loanee at Keys Park during the 2014-2015 season


The Pitmen made an outstanding start to the evening's proceedings, streaming forwards from the kick-off as they looked for their first goal of the new season to get off to a quick start. Preston was called upon for the first time in the evening in the second minute, making a fine save from new boy Howard to turn his dipping shot over the crossbar after Dan Cockerline had fed the winger on the edge of the penalty area


A tricky piece of wing play from Matt Dodd earned the Pitmen a free-kick in a dangerous position on seven minutes, with Joe Fitzpatrick's inswinging ball in creating havoc at the far post before Preston finally retrieved the ball


Basford responded with a great chance of their own on ten minutes, as Stefan Galinski scuffed his clearance straight into the path of Liam Hearn, only to be denied by a fine low stop from Josef Bursik. In the ensuing melee, Watson claimed he deserved a penalty as he challenged for the ball with Galinski, only to be told to get back to his feet by the referee


Bursik made another fine save at his near post two minutes later, parrying Liam Hearn's shot away from goal at his near post before Galinski completed the clearance


Preston was called upon again to keep Basford on level terms on sixteen minutes, making a flying dave to his right to tip Cockerline's goalward header away from goal when it looked certain that the youngster was to open his account for the Pitmen


Youngster Howard was to break the deadlock in spectacular style on twenty-two minutes, as the winger broke down the left flank before cutting inside and unleashing a brilliant dipping, swerving effort that sailed over the head of the perplexed Preston and found the top far corner of the net to open the Pitmen's account for the new season. A great goal


Hearn dragged a cross-cum-shot wide of goal for Basford five minutes later, before the Pitmen struck again with a deserved second goal on thirty-two minutes through Charlie Gatter. A Fitzpatrick corner kick made it all the way through to Gatter, who managed to do enough to sidefoot the ball home from close range to double the away side's lead


 Patient build-up play from Basford played the dangerous Watson in on goal on thirty-five minutes, but the striker's effort skewed horribly wide of the target when he should have tested Bursik from close-range


Cockerline - having a fine game in creating issues for the Basford defence - should have done better with a Matt Curley cross on forty minutes, glancing the inswinging cross over the crossbar


Half-time saw Basford make a substitution, with Courey Grantham coming on in place of skipper Lewis Carr, meaning a change in formation for the home side that saw striker Grantham adding firepower to the forward line in after sacrificing defender Carr


This was to prove a game-changer of sorts for the hosts, who played ten yards further forward and pushed the Pitmen back into their own half in the early stages of the second period. Bursik was once again on the spot to claim Kieran Fenton's looping header on fifty minutes


A quick break from the Pitmen down the right wing saw Howard force a save from Preston at his near post four minutes later with a low drive towards goal that was palmed behind by the former Grantham man


The busy Bursik was again on hand to frustrate the hosts on fifty-six minutes, turning Liam Bateman's low cross over the crossbar as the full-back drilled his cross into the six-yard box


Just after the hour mark, the Pitmen made a double substitution with the introduction of Mikey Nelson in place of Dodd and Nathan Fox making his full debut for the club as he replaced Howard


Basford got the goal that their pressure deserved on sixty-five minutes, as a questionable free-kick awarded against Sam Griffiths saw Reid swing in a cross that was headed firmly home by Preston at the far post to reduce the deficit


Last-ditch defending from Galinksi kept out Basford on sixty-eight minutes, turning a cross away from goal under pressure from Watson. A minute later, Hearn's dangerous cross was fielded well by Bursik at his near post as the hosts continued to press for a leveller


Basford were on top at this point in the game, as Watson somehow failed to turn home a cross from the left-wing at the far post after the Hednesford defence had failed to deal with the ball in


A superb cross from Bateman on seventy-four minutes found the head of Hearn, but the big striker headed over the crossbar at the far post as he rose above Gatter to reach the cross


After weathering the storm, Hednesford came back into the game in the final ten minutes as they launched a number of counter-attacks to combat Basford's more attacking approach. With two minutes of normal time remaining, youngster Romario Martin was handed his Hednesford debut as he replaced Cockerline, who had run himself into the ground in a hard-working display


The game became end-to-end in added time, as the referee somehow conjoured up six minutes of additional time at the end. More last-ditch defending from Galinski denied Matt Thornhill a certain goal from two yards out; from the resultant corner, Waston headed wide of goal with a glancing effort at the near post


There was still time for the Pitmen to have two great chances to finsh the game as a contest, as Nelson's goalbound shot was blocked by Ellis Storey in the fourth minute of added time and the same player forcing a save from Preston with virtually the last kick of the game


It's a pleasing result for the Pitmen, as their season finally gets off the ground with a backs-to-the-wall performance in the second half. A tough challenge looms on Saturday as they look to follow up this excellent result, with the visit to Keys Park of the powerful and much-fancied Gainsborough Trinity, who will provide a stern test of the Pitmen's fragile confidence from this evening's result


Basford United: Preston, Bateman, Storey, Thornhill, Carr © (Grantham 45), Roma, Bell-Toxtle, Fenton, Watson, Hearn, Reid    Subs Unused: Thomas, Meikle, Wakefield, Lewis


Hednesford Town: Bursik, Mendez-Jones, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick, Galinski ©, Gatter, Dodd (Nelson 62), King, Cockerline (Martin 88), Howard (Fox 62), Curley  Subs Unused: Craddock, Turner