2.4.2022

Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Coalville Town

Hednesford Town

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Oliver Basey

L L L D W L W L W D

 

Alvechurch (H) 9.4.22

Hednesford and Coalville have to be content with a point apiece from this afternoon’s uninspiring Pitching In Southern Premier League Central game at the Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium

Having been buoyed by a Leroy Lita-inspired display on Tuesday night to beat Stourbridge 3-1, Hednesford manager Keenen Meakin-Richards elected to make two changes to the side that had started the midweek win at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park as Kyle Bennett returned to the side in place of Cain Smith and Carter Lycett replaced Josh Webb at left-back

Coalville - sitting in second place in the table ahead of play - had beaten Leiston 3-0 last weekend to consolidate their place as the 'best of the rest', as the Ravens sat twenty points behind champions-elect Banbury United. Manager Adam Stevens stuck with the same XI that had beaten Leiston as he looked to continue their fine recent run of form that had seen Coalville lose only two of their last ten games

On a cold afternoon in Leicestershire, it was the hosts that made all of the early running as they forced the Pitmen onto the back foot from the off and won several early set-pieces. On-loan Oliver Basey did well to claim two corners in succession from Luke Shaw's delivery out on the left as the midfielder looked to pick out veteran defender Chris Robertson each time at the far post

The all sky-blue visitors had to scramble the ball away from danger in the fifth minute as a cross from Tom McGlinchey, looking for the prolific Billy Kee, was hacked clear by Lewis Ison as the former Accrington Stanley striker looked to get on the end of the cross

The infamous Joe Doyle-Charles - still a figure of disdain amongst the Hednesford supporters after breaking Billy Daniels' cheekbone in a clash on this very pitch two seasons ago - tried his luck from twenty-five yards out in the tenth minute after picking up an errant pass out of defence from the Pitmen but shooting over Basey's crossbar

The Pitmen's first opening of the game came two minutes later as Todd Parker's header fell into the path of Bennett, who controlled the ball on the edge of the Coalville penalty area before slipping the ball into the path of Riley O'Sullivan on the right-hand side of the box. The striker took a couple of touches to take the ball on but drilled his low shot into the side-netting as goalkeeper Tiernan Brooks covered his near post

A typically route one move from the hosts almost led to the game's opening goal in the sixteenth minute as Brooks' long punt forwards bounced over the head of Ison and into the path of Kee, who escaped the attentions of the Hednesford skipper before lobbing Basey from eighteen yards out, just getting too much on his effort and sending it over the crossbar with the goal gaping

Basey made a superb stop to deny McGlinchey in the twentieth minute as patient build-up play from the Ravens down the right flank saw Kee and Alex Dean work the ball into the box, where Harvey Portman was on hand to clear the ball; Dean's lofted pass back into the area found McGlinchey, whose lay-of to Tim Berridge saw the striker unselfishly lay the ball off to the forward once more, with McGlinchey's half-volley brilliantly saved at his near post by Basey. The ball ran to Kee, who was denied by the outstretched arm of Basey once more as the young stopper made a superb double save

The Pitmen were forced into their first substitution of the afternoon a minute later as Portman - who had only just passed a fitness test ahead of kick-off - was replaced by Martin Riley in the centre of defence

Lita - the star of the show on Tuesday night - had seen very little of the ball so far and was pulled up for a tight offside call against him on twenty-three minutes after Reece Flanagan and Bennett had linked up to play the veteran striker in behind the Coalville defence

The Pitmen had struggled to get into the game thus far as Coalville's strong and experienced players gave the Hednesford attackers no time and space to work the ball. On twenty-seven minutes, Basey once again denied the hosts as Steve Towers' right-wing cross was cleared by Ison but only as far as McGlinchey, whose first-time effort was pushed away by the goalkeeper at his near post for another Coalville corner kick

Shaw's resultant corner kick somehow ended up skipping across the six-yard box and dribbling away for a goal kick as no one on either side could get a touch to it

Excellent tracking back from Parker - who had just committed his future to the club for next season in midweek - saw him make a timely block on twenty-nine minutes to deny Shaw from a free-kick

The visitors felt that they had a strong shout for a penalty kick three minutes later as Yoane Zohore won a free-kick to the left-hand side of the Coalville penalty area, prompting Flanagan to float the ball into the path of Ison at the far post. The defender went down under a challenge from Robertson, only for the match officials to wave away the Pitmen's protests

A good run from Zohore three minutes later was halted by Dean as the on-loan forward looked to trick his way into the Coalville penalty area down the left, only to have the ball stolen away from him at the last moment by the full-back

The Pitmen were starting to see more of the ball, with Parker a prominent figure in their spell of possession; his long-range effort on thirty-seven minutes forced what was to be successive corner kicks for the away side, dealt with competently by the Ravens defence

The Ravens were forced to make an injury-related substitution of their own just before half time as Jake Eggleton was taken off after receiving treatment and was replaced by Kian Taylor

In added time at the end of the half, Lita and Zohore both got their heads to the ball to play Lewis Hayden in on the right-hand side of the penalty area, with the full-back forcing Brooks into a good save at his near post with a swerving shot from eighteen yards out

The final action of the half saw Coalville's Elliot Putman shown a yellow card for clattering into O'Sullivan as the pair chased a ball down on the Hednesford right

The Pitmen had been resolute and spirited in defence during a tight first half, not allowing their hosts to gather up a head of steam going forwards and frustrating them, although they had offered very little themselves as an attacking threat. Zohore was replaced by George Cater before the second half kicked off after having a quiet first period down the left flank

The Ravens came out fighting at the start of the second half and had much the better of play in the opening exchanges. Ison was called upon to make a spectacular goal-line clearance to deny Shaw just three minutes after the restart as McGlinchey's jinking run and cross from the right found its way out to Shaw on the opposite side of the penalty area - his right-footed shot beat Basey but Ison produced a wonderful clearance to head the ball over the crossbar and deny the hosts a certain goal

Neat play from the Pitmen on fifty-one minutes saw them counter quickly through Flanagan and Bennett, with the returning number ten playing a neat pass into the path of Cater on the left. The substitute looked to pull the ball back into the path of Flanagan but found Brooks in his way, making a smothering stop at his near post

The Pitmen's proclivity of giving the ball away cheaply was in full effect one more on fifty-three minutes as Ison was guilty of losing the ball just inside the Coalville half and gifting it to Kee, who took the ball back into the Pitmen's half before playing it out to Shaw. The midfielder cut past Hayden and unleashed a right-footed effort that whistled inches wide of Basey's right-hand post

Having struggled to keep a foothold in the game at the start of the second period, the Pitmen calmed things down and regrouped well as they took the sting out of the game by keeping the ball for longer periods and not looking to rush their set-pieces. Just before the hour mark, Flanagan pulled a long-range shot just wide of the target from twenty yards out after good approach play from Lycett down the left

On sixty-one minutes, a Shaw corner kick was cleared by the Pitmen but only as far as Putman on the edge of the box, with the former Barwell defender striking a first-time effort just wide of Basey's left-hand post

The visitors made their final change of the afternoon on sixty-five minutes as Cain Smith made a swift return to the side after being dropped, coming on in place of the ineffective Bennett

Cater was presented with a glorious opportunity to give the Pitmen an unlikely lead on sixty-six minutes as the away side worked the ball out of defence and sent Lycett away down the left flank; he toe-poked the ball through to Cater, who escaped the attentions of Towers as he ran into the penalty area but saw his right-footed effort saved by Brooks at his near post

From Flanagan's resultant corner kick sent to the far post, Ison headed the ball back into the danger area where Lita was on hand to head goalwards, only to be denied by Brooks at his post as the on-loan Notts County man parried the ball away from goal

Doyle-Charles worked the ball well down the left to Shaw two minutes later, with his low cross from the byeline somehow skipping across the face of Basey's goal and away from danger as he failed to find anyone in the six-yard box in a black and white shirt

A minute later, Berridge produced a similar cross from the opposite side, which again bounced across the penalty area before being hacked clear by Hayden

The Pitmen were doing well to frustrate their big, strong and powerful opponents, with Ison, Basey and Riley putting in impressive shifts to deny the Ravens. Basey punched the ball off the head of Berridge on seventy-four minutes as Kee flicked Shaw's corner on at the near post

With thirteen minutes remaining, Berridge did get his head to a corner taken by Putman, rising above the Hednesford defence eight yards from goal but heading well wide of the far post

More excellent defending from Riley on eighty-three minutes saw the veteran defender make a timely interception to clear Shaw's dangerous cross as both Kee and Berridge looked to pounce in the six-yard box

Three minutes later, a free-kick from Doyle-Charles found McGlinchey in space down the right, with the dangerous forward getting past Lycett but finding Riley in his way once more with another timely block tackle at his near post

Former Notts County and Tamworth striker Tyrell Waite came on with two minutes remaining as he replaced Shaw, almost grabbing the headlines with his first touch just sixty seconds later as Berridge and Taylor worked the ball wide to Shaw on the left-wing, who in turn played Waite in behind Hayden with a delightful reverse pass. Basey was alert to the danger and made a fine block at his near post to stop the substitute from toe-poking the ball past him from six yards out

All in all, a fine point for the Pitmen at a ground that they have traditionally struggled to make much impact on in previous visits, frustrating their hosts and fully deserving a share of the points even if they offered very little at the opposite end of the pitch. A well-earned week off sees the Pitmen regroup ahead of next week's return to the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park when they entertain surprise play-off chasers Alvechurch

Coalville Town: Brooks, Dean, Putman , Eggleton (Taylor 44), Robertson, Towers ©, Shaw (Waite 88), Doyle-Charles, Berridge, Kee, McGlinchey      Subs Unused: Bukowski, Assuncao, Connor Smith

Hednesford Town: Basey, Hayden, Lycett, Portman (Riley 21), Ison ©, Flanagan, O'SullivanParkerLita, Bennett (Cain Smith 65), Zohore (Cater 45)      Subs Unused: Tilt, Williams