12.9.2020

Pre-Season Friendly

Hednesford Town

Turner (87)

Basford United

Thornhill (15)

(0) 1

(1) 1

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Dan Turner

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Stourbridge (H) 19.9.20

The Pitmen end their topsy-turvy pre-season campaign with a battling draw at home to Northern Premier League opponents Basford United this afternoon as Dan Turner's late header levels matters for the hosts

The game had been hastily arranged by the two clubs in midweek after Hednesford's original fixture against Wrexham had been called off last weekend due to COVID restrictions. Hednesford boss Andy Morrell was able to bring Callam Mendez-Jones back into the side after the defender had missed the past three games due to injury, replacing the error-prone Dan Preston alongside Ben Bailey in the centre of defence

Former Northern League rivals Basford arrived at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park off the back of a fine 2-2 draw over Nottingham Forest's U23 side in midweek, with manager Steve Chettle naming former Hednesford men Stefan Galinski, Charlie Gatter and Kieran Preston in his squad ahead of today's final friendly tie

It was a beautiful, bright and sunny afternoon in South Staffordshire, with the Keys Park pitch looking resplendent ahead of kick-off. The Pitmen started in a lively fashion as an early cross from Jed Davies saw Danny Glover and Basford keeper Jordan Pierrepont clash at the far post, leaving the Pitmen's player/assistant manager down and requiring treatment

The hosts were quick and direct in the opening ten minutes of the game, looking for the willing runners of Dan Turner and George Cater at every opportunity. A cross from Kieron Dawes looked to play Cater in at the far post in the tenth minute of the game, only for a timely interception from the experienced Dom Roma to see the ball out for a corner kick

A terrible pass from Davies gifted Basford their first opening of the game in the twelfth minute as an aimless pass from the midfielder played Revernell James in on goal; Davies was thankful for keeper Andy Wycherley's awareness in rushing out to the edge of the penalty area to block the striker's effort and turn it behind with his legs for a Basford corner

 

Basford took the lead in the fifteenth minute as they broke down the right-hand side through James, who did well to turn past Dawes and Mendez-Jones before laying the ball off to skippr Matt Thornhill on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area. The former Nottingham Forest midfielder executed a fine first-time shot that curled away from Wycherley and into the far corner of the net to give the visitors the lead

Wycherley was involved again for the Pitmen three minutes later as he punched a dangerous inswinging free-kick away for a corner kick to deny Niall Towle a clear header at goal

The Pitmen were severely lacking in the midfield area, playing a number of aimless and often overly-ambitious balls that were easily dealt with by an expensively assembled and experienced Basford side. Galinski was relishing his battle with Glover and Turner, whilst the pacy and direct James caused the Pitmen's defence much trouble with his movement throughout the first period 

A neat passage of play from the Pitmen on the half-hour mark saw them play the ball into space down the right before Davies sent over an inswinging cross to the near post that Pierrepont claimed in front of Glover before dropping the ball and recovering just in time before Glover could pounce on the rebound

Davies tried to create a chance for himself on thirty-five minutes after picking the loose ball on the edge of the area before being crowded out by the Basford defence

Three minutes later, Cater was handed a glorious chance to level matters for the Pitmen as a superb piece of forward play from Turner saw him skip past two Basford palyers and slip the ball through to Cater, who took one touch too many as he faced Pierrepont one-on-one. This allowed the Basford stopper to get enough on Cater's scuffed shot at goal and turned the ball around the post for a corner kick

From the resultant Davies corner kick, Glover rose highest at the far post and narrowly missed the target with a flying header that was a matter of inches away from finding the back of the net

The final action of the first half saw Glover waste a good chance as he tamely struck a low shot straight into the Basford wall after Cater had won a free-kick right on the edge of the Basford penalty area

Half-time saw Mendez-Jones taken off after feeling the back of his leg at the end of the first period and was replaced by Preston at the centre of defence alongside Bailey

After being second best for much of the first period, the Pitmen emerged with more purpose and threat, playing a higher line and forcing set-pieces inside the Basford third of the pitch. A long throw from Rhys Thompson on forty-nine minutes found Turner, who saw his shot blocked by a Basford defender before being cleared

Basford seemed content to soak up the Hednesford pressure and look to catch them on the counter-attack as James showed Preston a clean pair of heels two minutes later down the right flank before Wycherley did well to cut out his pull-back from the bye-line

The Pitmen did well to control possession in and around the Basford box following a Davies corner kick on fifty-three minutes, culminating in Turner stepping past James Clifton but firing well wide from twelve yards out

A dangerous inswinging free-kick from Ryan Wilson evaded everyone in the Hednesford penalty area two minutes later, drifting only a couple of feet wide of Wycherley's far post

A more direct approach from the Pitmen on the hour mark saw Wycherley's long ball flicked on by Glover for Turner, who in turn found Glover out on the right-wing. The striker's cross was inadvertedly headed just over his own crossbar by Thornhill, who was tracking back and almost turned the cross into his own net. Davies's subsequent corner was eventually worked to Cater on the edge of the penalty area but was driven high over the bar and into the Heath Hayes terrace by the young forward

Hallahan wasted another great chance to pull the Pitmen level on sixty-one minutes as Cater's cross from the left was flicked on by Glover and into the path of the midfielder, who somehow drove his close-range effort high over the crossbar from a matter of six yards out. A poor miss

Hallahan tried his luck from long-range on sixty-eight minutes as Glover laid the ball into his path, only for Pierrepont to make a fairly comfortable save to hold the rising effort

On seventy-four minutes, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon as young winger Will Norcross was brought on in place of Cater down the left flank

Clever wing play from the experienced Kane Richards on seventy-five minutes saw the former Kidderminster man outmuscle Preston in the corner and jink past him before squaring the ball into the six-yard box, where there was no-one in orange able to apply the finish from close range with the ball running away to safety for the hosts

With six minutes of the game remaining, the Pitmen made a double change as Rhys Thompson was replaced by John Dodd and Lee Smith came on in place of Hallahan. A minute later, the Pitmen's triallist A was given a late run-out as assistant manager Glover was rested for the final minutes

A brilliant cross from Dawes on eighty-five minutes found the head of Turner in the Basford box, only for his glancing header to drift wide of goal as he and Glover were challenged by substitute Gatter

The Pitmen finally got themselves level with three minutes of the game left; Dawes played the ball down the right flank to Dodd, who did well to send over a fine cross that Turner brilliantly diverted beyond the reach of Pierrepont and into the far corner of the net with a superb glancing header

 

Before play restarted, teenager Josh Kilford replaced the impressive Dawes at right-back for the remainder of the game as the Pitmen's final substitution of the afternoon

It had been a competitive encounter from both sides, with the Pitmen doing well to come back into the game after a poor first-half display. Morrell has one more week to fine-tune his squad, possibly with one or two more new faces coming in, before they face one of the title favourites in the form of Stourbridge in next weekend's league curtain-raiser

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Dawes (Kilford 87), Lycett, Bailey ©, Mendez-Jones (D. Preston 45), Thompson (Dodd 84), Cater (Norcross 71), Hallahan (Smith 84), Glover (Triallist A 85), Davies, Turner       Sub Unused: Veiga

Basford United: Pierrepont, Roma, Wilson, Thornhill ©, Galinski, Carr (Gatter 71), Clifton (Dixon 80), Chettle, Towle (Richards 61), James, Howes (Carvell 61)      Subs Unused: Hines, K. Preston

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