Pre-Season Friendly


Curtis (67)

Hednesford Town

Landell (43), Cater (77)

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Andre Landell



Buxton (H) 24.7.21

Hednesford maintained their 100% pre-season record this evening with a less-than-flattering victory at near-neighbours Chasetown, courtesy of a goal in each half from Andre Landell and George Cater

The postponement of tomorrow night's friendly at Walsall Wood due to a COVID-19 outbreak gave Keenen Meakin-Richards much to ponder in terms of how he was to hand minutes out to his players for tonight's game. Club captain Ben Bailey had returned from holiday to line-up alongside Callam Mendez-Jones at centre-back, whilst Reece Styche had also returned from a short spell in Gibraltar to take his place amongst the substitutes

Chasetown had also started their pre-season programme well, winning at Heath Hayes, Wednesfield and Brocton as well as drawing with AFC Wulfrunians ahead of tonight's derby. Manager Mark Swann included the usual plethora of former Hednesford players in his ranks with Alex Melbourne and Ryan Wynter starting the game and Kris Taylor, Michael Williams and Adam Jenkins coming on later in the game

It had been another scorching hot day as the UK continued to bask in soaring temperatures, with the mercury still hitting 27 degrees at the start of the game. The Pitmen were almost caught cold with the first attack of the game in the seventh minute as Melbourne's angled ball forwards was missed by former team-mate Bailey and allowed the ball to drop to Jack Langston, only for the former Stafford Rangers man to drag his shot across goal and well wide of the target

Langston almost found himself presented with a gift of a chance four minutes later as the Pitmen got themselves into all sorts of a mess at the back trying to play the ball out of their own box, with youngster Costa Mario giving the ball away to the Chasetown number nine, only for Mendez-Jones to make a timely challenge and snuff out the danger

The Pitmen's first sight at goal came in the fifteenth minute as Carter Lycett did well to get down the left flank and cross low into the feet of Landell, only for the former Stourbridge man to pull his shot wide of Curtis Pond's far post with a left-footed effort

Andy Wycherley was having a shaky evening between the sticks for the Pitmen and presented Liam Kirton with an opening for the home side on nineteen minutes as he inexplicably dropped Melbourne's deep free-kick at the feet of the striker, only for the stopper to recover sufficiently to block the striker's shot at goal and clear for a corner kick

Pond was called upon to make a good save for Chasetown on twenty-four minutes as Landell was played into space down the right by Courtney Richards and crossed for Andre Brown, whose lay-off was struck goalwards by former Chasetown man Jed Davies, only for Pond to make a good save

Brown and Landell were linking up well for the Pitmen up front, and the pair exchanged passes on the edge of the Chasetown penalty area on twenty-eight minutes before Landell attempted a curling shot that Pond tipped away high to his left-hand side

The Pitmen wasted their corner kick and allowed Chasetown to break quickly through Dilano Reid, who made it all the way into the Hednesford penalty area after running sixty yards unchallenged before Lycett came across to deny him a scoring chance. Reid managed to recycle the ball and play it to Danny O'Callaghan, only for the ex-Rushall man to fire straight into the arms of Wycherley

Another dreadful piece of defensive play from the Pitmen on thirty-two minutes saw them once again struggle to get to grips with playing out from the back as Bailey played a simple pass into the path of O'Callaghan, who got his shot away at the second time of asking and forced Wycherley into a save low down to his left from twenty yards out

Mendez-Jones played Langston in on goal once more four minutes later as his blind back-pass towards Wycherley was intercepted by the forward, only for Wycherley to stick his boot out and take the ball off the toes of Langston before he could shoot

With the game drifting towards half-time, the Pitmen grabbed the opening goal of the game with just a couple of minutes remaining in the half; Davies's deep corner was met by Bailey, who headed back across goal and into the path of Landell, who had the simple task of nodding home from close-range. Ironically, Landell's last goal for the Pitmen - way back in March 2012 - was also at Chasetown at the very same end of the ground

Chasetown almost levelled matters straight from the restart as Reid made a darting run down the left and crossed for Langston, who had to stretch to reach the cross and could only volley the ball high into the air. The ball dropped into Wycherley's hands on the goal line, with the home supporters claiming that the keeper had carried the ball over the line as Langston challenged him. the referee was unimpressed with the calls and the game continued

Half-time saw Chasetown make a raft of changes as Taylor and Jenkins were amongst five players brought on by the scholars. The Pitmen made just the two as Lewis Ison came on for Bailey and Cater replaced Kieran Wells

Wycherley was at the centre of the action once more just five minutes after the restart as made a hash of Taylor's looping cross and dropped it at the feet of O'Callaghan, who skewed his shot wide of goal via a deflection off the boot of Mendez-Jones

From Taylor's resultant corner kick, half-time substitute Alex Curtis met the ball with his head at the far post but was denied by the fists of Wycherley, who could only clear as far as Wynter, whose half-volley hit the side-netting from close-range

A raft of Hednesford substitutes followed on fifty-five minutes as Sam Griffiths, Josh Webb, Kyle Rowley, Todd Parker, Triallist 1, Reece Flanagan, Styche and Rob Hanna all came on in place of Mario, Lycett, Mendez-Jones, Richards, Davies, Brad Birch, Brown and Landell respectively


Webb and Cater linked up well just after the hour mark down the left, with Cater cutting inside and unleashing a low shot from the corner of the penalty area that skipped past Jenkins' near post

Neat play involving Styche and Flanagan on sixty-four minutes saw former Walsall man Flanagan lay the ball off the Cater once more, only for the former Chasetown man to lash his shot over the bar

The hosts were level once more three minutes later as another error of judgement from the normally reliable Wycherley gifted them an equaliser; good play down the left from Chasetown saw new signing Andy Parsons send over a deep cross to the edge of the Hednesford penalty area, which Wychreley failed to deal with as was put under pressure by Wynter. He dropped the ball once again, this time at the feet of Curtis, who showed good composure to fire home from fifteen yards out despite Wycherley's best attempts to recover the situation

Reid could have turned the game on its head four minutes later as a quick break down the middle saw Wynter - now playing up front for the Scholars - exchanging passes with the winger before Reid dragged his shot just wide of Wycherley's far post

The Pitmen had looked completely devoid of ideas going forwards in the second half so far, despite Styche's probing and Cater's running. And yet they were to take the lead once more with thirteen minutes remaining as Hanna and Styche linked up well down the left-wing, with Styche showing fine vision to clip the ball into the path of the onrushing Cater, who finished well with a low drive beyond Jenkins from a tight angle. It was Cater's second goal in three pre-season games so far

Poor lazy passing out from the back from the Pitmen almost caught them out once more with seven minutes to go as Rowley's pass went straight to triallist A, who played the ball to midfielder Oli Hayward. His well-struck drive from twenty-five yards out was well saved by Wycherley, pushing the ball away to his right-hand side

A good work-out for both sides and another win for the Pitmen to add to those against Sporting Khalsa and Stafford Rangers in the past week. However, Meakin-Richards remarked afterwards that he was unhappy with the display and will be looking for his players to cut out the sloppy mistakes on Saturday when they return home to face former manager Gary Hayward and his expensively assembled Buxton side

Chasetown: Pond (Jenkins 45), Melbourne (Curtis 45), Wynter, Riley-Stewart (Parsons 45), Evans (Taylor 45), Hayward, Reid (Foster 45), O'Callaghan, Langston (Triallist A 65), Kirton (Triallist B 75), Smith (Williams 57)     Subs Unused: None

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Mario (Griffiths 55), Lycett (Webb 55), Bailey © (Ison 45), Mendez-Jones (Rowley 55), Richards (Parker 55), Davies (Triallist 1 55), Birch (Flanagan 55), Brown (Styche 55), Landell (Hanna 55), Wells (Cater 45)       Subs Unused: None

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