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Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Coalville Town

Doyle-Charles (68), Thanoj (80), Berridge (85)

Hednesford Town

Lita (5), (19)

(0) 3

(2) 2



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Leroy Lita



Bromsgrove Sporting (H) 27.9.22

Despite a rousing first-half display from the visitors, the Pitmen are condemned to a sixth defeat in succession this afternoon as a storming second-half comeback from league leaders Coalville saw the hosts claim the points late on

The Pitmen had seen ten days elapse since their last game, a 1-0 defeat at Alvechurch. Manager Steve Burr had been busy bringing in new faces to freshen up his flagging squad with the signing of winger Adam Livingstone from local rivals Stafford Rangers and bringing the popular Chris Clements back to the club after a ten-year gap that had seen the midfielder play for several Football League sides. Both players came into the side for today’s trip to Leicestershire as two of three changes to the side that had started against Alvechurch, replacing Mason Birch and Kyle Bennett respectively. Martin Riley made his first start of the season at centre-back as he replaced Luke Rowe as the third change to personnel for the visitors. Ben Bailey was handed the captaincy after his recent return to the club, taking the armband off Todd Parker. Burr also had a familiar face alongside him in the dugout, having appointed the popular former Hednesford manager Neil Tooth as his new assistant last week

Table toppers Coalville had made progress in the F.A. Cup last weekend with a 1-0 win over Macclesfield at home to set up a third qualifying round tie against AFC Sudbury next weekend. Former Rushall Olympic defender Orrin Pendley had arrived overnight on a dual registration deal from Hereford and came straight into the side as the only change to the Ravens side that had started against Macclesfield, with manager Adam Stevens playing Pendley ahead of the injured Alex Dean in defence

On an overcast afternoon in rural Leicestershire, the Pitmen started with real purpose as Burr's team talk rang in their ears early on. In the first minute of the game, Riley O'Sullivan - playing up front alongside Lita - did well to control the ball and turn past Pendley before striking a shot at goal that was deflected behind for an early corner kick

Sixty seconds later, Joe Cuff was narrowly off target as he cut in from the right flank with a typically bustling run past Elliott Putman but drove his low shot just wide of goalkeeper Paul White's left-hand post

White had to be alert to the further danger created by Cuff two minutes later as the winger won the ball from a dawdling Pendley and sent a ball across into the penalty area, where Leroy Lita was just beaten to the bouncing ball by the Coalville stopper

The sky blue-clad Pitmen were rewarded for their bright start to the game with the opening goal of the afternoon sixty seconds later; Livingstone's first involvement saw the Scottish winger pick the ball up out wide on the left, crossing into the box where his compatriot Chris Robertson could only clear the ball as far as Todd Parker. The highly-rated young midfielder headed the ball into the path of Lita, who turned well on the edge of the penalty area past Pendley and slotted the ball past White with a well-struck low, driven shot

The hosts really had not got started at all so far, struggling to get the ball into their highly-regarded attacking players as the likes of Bailey and Riley marshalled the Hednesford back line well. On nine minutes, Connor Smith picked up the game's one and only booking in the ninth minute as his wild challenge on auxiliary right-back Lewis Ison was deemed worthy of a yellow card

After a lengthy spell of treatment, Ison took the resultant free-kick and looked to pick Bailey out at the far post, only for the Hednesford skipper to be denied by a clearance from Jake Eggleton

Smith was guilty of missing a glorious chance for the Ravens a minute later as Ashley Chambers and Joe Doyle-Charles worked the ball into the Hednesford penalty area down the right before teeing up the former Nottingham Forest midfielder, who skied his effort over the crossbar from twelve yards out

A quick lump forwards from former Coalville loanee Tiernan Brooks almost caught the hosts out on twelve minutes as he found O'Sullivan racing onto his punt into the Coalville penalty area, only for O'Sullivan's shot to lack any real power and was easily fielded by White

Brooks made a smart save to deny his former team in the fourteenth minute, pushing the ball away from close range after Robertson had headed Putman's corner goalwards. After claiming Chambers' rebound, Brooks quickly played the ball up to Cuff, who had made a move into the Coalville half but was caught offside

A cross from Tom McGlinchey three minutes later somehow failed to find both Tim Berridge and Chambers, as his right-wing ball flashed across the face of the Hednesford goal with neither striker able to turn the ball home

The Pitmen doubled their lead in the nineteenth minute as ace marksman Lita once again proved his worth with another poacher's goal. Clements picked up Pita's knock-down and slipped the ball into the path of O'Sullivan, who took the ball wide onto the left and sent over a delightful cross to the far post that Lita had the simple task of nodding into the net from close range. Of the six goals scored by the Pitmen this season, Lita has grabbed five of them

O'Sullivan caused the Pitmen a moment of concern as he was floored by an innocuous challenge from Robertson midway through the first half that left the striker requiring treatment from sports therapist Shannon Kincade. The striker was helped to his feet but could not continue and had to be helped off by new Tooth and Kincade before being replaced by Cameron Ebbutt

White was alert once more to the threat of the lively Lita on twenty-four minutes, coming out of his goal to claim a bouncing ball ahead of the striker after Clements had looked to play the veteran in once more with a probing pass

Neat play from the hosts two minutes later saw McGlinchey and Chambers link up once more down the right, playing Doyle-Charles into space on the overlap. His cross was a little too deep for Berridge, however, and the impressive Bailey cleared the danger inside his six-yard box

On the half-hour mark, a scuffed clearance from Pendley found Cuff in space just inside the Coalville half; the winger played the ball into the feet of the ever-willing Lita, whose lay-off to Clements on the edge of the penalty area was cleared by Robertson before the returning midfielder could shoot

On thirty-two minutes, Livingstone made a strong run down the left and sent over a low cross in the direction of both Lita and Ebbutt, but neither player could apply the finish as the ball skipped across the face of the Coalville goal

Riley somehow avoided becoming the second player to be booked three minutes later as he clearly brought Chambers down thirty yards from goal as the pair challenged for a high ball, only for referee Mr Cooke to wave play on, much to the irk of the home supporters who felt that the veteran centre-back should have been punished

A lovely cross-field ball from Clements on thirty-eight minutes found Livingstone, whose control and pace took him past Eggleton and into the penalty area, only for his cross into Lita to be claimed by White at his near post

Harvey Portman made an important block for the visitors to maintain their two-goal advantage on forty minutes as Berridge was played into space down the right by Smith, seeing his low driven shot from an angle blocked by the youngster and turned behind for a corner kick

Lita was sensing a first-half hat-trick and was handed a great chance to grab it a minute before the break as a long Brooks free-kick into the Coalville half was headed into the path of Clements by Putman, with the midfielder showing his class with a neat backheel into the path of Lita, who got goal side of Pendley but was denied by a smothering save from White

It had been a fine half of football from the visitors, who had turned the form book on its head in the opening forty-five minutes with easily their best half of the season so far to take a deserved lead in with them at the break. Stevens countered this with a bold attacking double change at the break as Pendley and Smith were taken off in favour of the experienced duo of Andy Thanoj and Billy Kee, moving to a 3-4-3 formation for the second half

The rain started to fall right on cue at the start of the second half, with intermittent spells of drizzle punctuating proceedings. Coalville's change of formation made an immediate impact as they dominated possession and started to create openings in a bid to get themselves back into the game. Kee tested Brooks with an early sighter on forty-nine minutes as he took the ball forwards after Chambers had flicked the ball on to him, only for his low shot to be claimed by his former team-mate down to his left

Neat build-up play from Coalville on fifty-three minutes saw Chambers pick the ball up and play Berridge into space down the right, with his low cross evading everyone and eventually falling to Luke Shaw, whose first-time shot from fifteen yards out was parried away by Brooks down to his right. Kee followed the ball in but turned the rebound horribly wide of goal from ten yards out

Bailey's superb positioning saved the Pitmen on fifty-six minutes as Putman's deep cross was volleyed goalwards by Berridge, who was denied a certain goal by the defender's sliding challenge to turn the ball away at the base of the far post for a corner kick

Brooks was having a good game for the Pitmen but almost blotted his copybook as he flapped at a Putman corner kick on the hour mark, missing the ball completely but fortunately saw the ball drift away from danger at the far post

The Pitmen were living dangerously, conceding far too much time on the ball to Coalville, who were finding more and more space in and around the Hednesford penalty area. Some unorthodox defending from the Pitmen on sixty-four minutes saw Portman and Lita somehow manage to smuggle the ball away after a Thanoj corner was turned back towards goal by Berridge's half-volley

Three successive corner kicks continued to put the squeeze on the Pitmen's overworked defence before the hosts finally managed to make one of them count on sixty-eight minutes; Thanoj's inswinging kick from the right bobbled around inside the Hednesfird six-yard box, with skipper Doyle-Charles just getting enough purchase on the ball to prod it home from a matter of inches out 

The hosts had their tails up and continued to press the hesitant and error-strewn Pitmen back line. On seventy-one minutes, Ison allowed Shaw to rob the ball off him in a dangerous position, relying on the superb Bailey to get him out of jail as the Hednesford captain came across to block an attempted shot from Chambers on the edge of the penalty area

A rare counter-attack from the Pitmen sixty seconds later saw Ebbutt's clever through ball play Lita in on goal, only for the wet conditions to play against the veteran as the ball ran away from him and out of play before he could get a shot in

Back came the hosts, with Shaw picking out McGlinchey with another fine cross on seventy-four minutes; on this occasion, the forward got his angles all wrong and could only screw his shot well wide of goal at the far post

Riley incurred the wrath of the Coalville supporters a minute later as he went down with a knock that required treatment after a clash with Chambers. Some of the home supporters felt that the veteran was milking the injury and trying to play for time, despite the Pitmen preparing to bring on Birch in his place. After a spell of treatment, Riley returned to the pitch, much to the disdain of the home support 

Riley was in the thick of it once more on seventy-nine minutes as he gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position after going over the top of Kee and landing on the substitute as the pair challenged for a header. After another spell of treatment, Riley returned to the pitch and went into the wall for the free-kick, taken by Thanoj. The former Harrogate and Boston man executed a superb curling free-kick over the wall and past Brooks, finding the top left-hand corner of the net with a superb strike to level matters once more

Before play could restart, the Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon as the hard-working Parker was replaced by the more attack-minded Kyle Bennett

You felt that there was to be only one winner at this point, as the visitors were simply hanging on against the incessant waves of Coalville pressure. Shaw made another one of his strong runs down the wing on eighty-two minutes and pulled the ball into the path of Chambers, only for Bailey to once again make the interception and see the ball back to Brooks

Berridge showed Ison a clean pair of heels on eighty-four minutes, running past the defender and crossing towards McGlinchey which forced Portman to make a hurried clearance

The comeback was complete a minute later as Coalville grabbed the winner through Berridge; a low cross from Thanoj saw the midfielder make his way to the right-hand byeline and pulled the ball back into the six-yard box, where no one in black and white could take advantage. Chambers picked up the loose ball on the left and sent over a cross into the six-yard box, where Berridge was on hand with a diving header to turn the ball past Brooks from close-range

The hosts lowered the tempo of the game after taking the lead and ensured that the Pitmen did not see much of the ball in the closing stages of the game to get themselves an equalising goal. A rare chance that fell the Pitmen's way came with two minutes to go as Bennett and Portman linked up down the left to play Livingstone into the penalty area, only for his cross-cum-shot to be turned away by the covering Robertson at his near post

In the second of five minutes of added time, Portman picked up a knock in a challenge with Eggleton and was forced to limp off the pitch before being replaced by recent signing Mason Birch for the remaining moments

Despite their spirited first-half display, a sixth defeat in a row dumps the Pitmen to the foot of the Southern Premier League Central table after AFC Rushden & Diamonds jumped above them courtesy of a 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Barwell. Burr's men are in dire need of a boost and will now aim to take the positives of today's first-half display into Tuesday night's home game against sixteenth-placed Bromsgrove Sporting as they look for that elusive first win of the season at the tenth attempt

Coalville Town: White, Eggleton, Putman, Pendley (Thanoj 45), Robertson, Smith ▆ (Kee 45), Shaw, Doyle-Charles ©, Berridge, Chambers, McGlinchey     Subs Unused: Leban, Wilson, Taylor

Hednesford Town: Brooks, Ison, Portman (Birch 90), Bailey ©, Riley, Clements, Cuff, Parker (Bennett 81), Lita, O'Sullivan (Ebbutt 22), Livingstone      Subs Unused: Wilding, Clayton

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