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Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Coalville Town

Shaw (45), (90)

(0) 0

(1) 2



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Todd Parker



Royston Town (A) 20.11.21

The Pitmen suffer their third defeat in a row this evening as table toppers Coalville Town score late on in each half to retain their three-point lead at the top of the Southern Premier League Central table

Having had ten days off between games following postponed games against both Stratford Town and Banbury United, the Pitmen returned to the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park looking for a response to their recent dip in results after back-to-back defeats to Peterborough Sports and AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Manager Keenen Meakin-Richards made two changes to his side from the one that had started against Rushden with Kyle Rowley returning to the side in place of Josh Endall, whilst Chay Tilt came back into the side in place of Aram Soleman

Coalville were living up to many experts' tip for the title in the opening two months of the season and had moved to the top of the table after beating Lowestoft Town 2-1 at the weekend. Manager Adam Stevens, perhaps unsurprisingly, kept faith in the same XI that had started against Lowestoft as they looked to continue their fine run of league form that had seen the Ravens remain unbeaten in their past twelve games

It was a cool and autumnal evening in South Staffordshire, although the crowd remained impressive at just under 500 souls who had turned up to watch this evening's game. The hosts were almost gifted a bizarre opening goal inside the first sixty seconds as Reece Flanagan played Andre Brown through on goal down the right; Brown's angled drive across goal diverted goalwards by the covering Alex Dean, prompting a diving save from goalkeeper Tomasz Bukowski to spare the full-back's blushes

Wide men Shaquille Master and Tilt linked up well in the seventh minute to create a good opening for the hosts as Master's incisive pass through to Tilt forced Bukowski into another save, this time pushing the ball away at his near post to deny Tilt a clear sight at goal. From the resultant Carter Lycett corner kick, Rowley rose highest at the far post but headed well wide of the target

Bukowski's busy start to the game continued in the tenth minute as he raved out of his goal to make a smothering save to deny Andre Brown once more after Flanagan had slipped the ball into the big striker's feet

Coalville, however, have genuine quality in their front three in the form of Tom McGlinchey, Billy Kee and Tim Berridge and the visitors started to create chances for their exciting forward line as the half wore on. Lee was first to get a sight at goal in the fifteenth minute as Dean's long, searching ball forwards from his own half caught the Pitmen ball-watching and allowed the former Accrington Stanley man in on goal. Despite calls for offside, the game continued as Kee brought the ball down but dragged his shot across the face of Jono Brown's goal and wide of the far post from fifteen yards out

Four minutes later, Lycett made an enterprising run into the Coalville penalty area down the left as he got the better off Dean but saw his low drive deflected wide of goal by the experienced Chris Robertson

Master was on the end of a good move from the Pitmen on twenty-five minutes as Lycett made a run into the penalty area from the left flank before laying the ball off to Todd Parker, who in turn played Master in down the right. The former Rushall man was off-target however as he lashed his shot over the crossbar

Coalville continued to look a real threat on the break and almost took the lead just before the half-hour mark; Wes Atkinson lost the ball in midfield to Joe Doyle-Charles, whose long ball forwards found Kee in behind the Hednesford defence once more with another marauding run. Tilt came back to cover and attempted to clear the ball but only succeeded in playing it straight into the path of the oncoming Luke Shaw, whose low shot was held by Jono Brown at his near post

Rowley was the first player of the evening to be shown a yellow card three minutes later as he clattered the tricky Shaw six yards outside the Hednesford penalty area. Kee took the resultant free-kick and clipped the wall with his effort that dipped onto the roof of the net for a Coalville corner kick


 The resultant corner kick was cleared as far as the livewire Shaw, who controlled the ball just outside the Hednesford penalty area before drilling a low shot inches wide of Brown's right-hand post


The visitors were starting to dominate proceedings at this point as all of the play was coming in the Hednesford half of the pitch; Towers was the first player in blue to pick up a caution from referee Mr Pattison on thirty-seven minutes as he brought down skipper Courtney Richards in full flight and was deservedly shown a yellow card

Andre Brown picked up a painful-looking knock on forty-one minutes after a coming-together with Robertson and was given extensive treatment from Even Littler before carrying on with the game

This stoppage was to prove crucial in the destination of the points, as Coalville stole into the lead in the minute of added time at the end of the half; Shaw worked the ball from left to right and into the path of Dean, whose one-two with McGlinchey opened up the Pitmen down their left side. Dean's cut-back found Shaw fifteen yards from goal, who confidently applied the finish with a powerful effort beyond the reach of Jono Brown

It was cruel on the Pitmen, who had looked comfortable on the ball for much of the half but had been too meek in front of goal in the early stages and had allowed their confident and in-form visitors to play their way back into the game and punish them for not making their early possession count

The home side started the second half with authority and went close to an almost-immediate equaliser through Richards in the fiftieth minute. Picking up a pass from the ever-willing Parker, the Hednesford captain let fly from twenty-five yards out but lifted his effort over the crossbar

Good football down the right flank from the Pitmen three minutes later saw Master and Parker link up to play Atkinson into space down the right, only for Robertson to make a timely challenge to cut out the full-back's cross, aimed at Andre Brown

The hosts made a double change to their side on fifty-nine minutes as they looked for something different from their play as Riley O'Sullivan replaced the disappointing Flanagan and Master was surprisingly taken off in favour of Endall. This saw a shift in the Pitmen's formation as O'Sullivan lined up alongside Andre Brown and Endall slotted into a defensive three with Lewis Ison and Rowley

Tilt - who had moved over to the right flank as part of the tactical shake-up - created an opening for Atkinson on sixty-two minutes with a fine threaded pass in behind the Coalville defence to the frill-back, whose low cross was parried away by Bukowski, denying Andre Brown a clear strike at goal

O'Sullivan was denied his first-ever goal at Keys Park a minute later as another fine cross from Atkinson - this time an inswinging cross from out wide - was glanced goalwards by the head of the substitute, only for Bukowski to make a brilliant one-handed save at his near post to deny the former Coventry United man an equaliser for the hosts

The visitors remained a threat on the break and Kee sent McGlinchey clear of the Hednesford defence three minutes later with a quick turn and pass out to the right. The ball appeared to bobble at the wrong moment for the forward as he out-paced Rowley as he drove a low shot wide of the far post from twelve yards out

Bukowski was involved again for the away side on sixty-nine minutes as he pushed away Lycett's cross at his near post for a corner kick to the Pitmen after the youngster had got goal side of Dean

The Pitmen's final substitution of the evening came with twenty minutes left as top scorer Andre Landell came on in place of Atkinson, prompting another switch of tactics that saw Tilt drop to right wing-back and Landell join O'Sullivan and Brown up front

Parker and Lycett linked up down the left on seventy-two minutes, with Lycett's cross eventually falling at the feet of O'Sullivan, standing twelve yards from goal. He turned on the ball but could not get enough purchase on it and was fired tamely into the hands of Bukowski

Shaw had been less effective for the away side in the second half thus far, with his only real contribution to the second period being a booking on seventy-three minutes for a foul on Parker

He was quickly followed into the book by the aggressive Landell, who was also shown a yellow card a minute later after reacting angrily to Taylor's challenge out on the right flank and instigating a bout of pushing and shoving

Kee's clever pass into the path of Shaw opened the Pitmen up once more down the left on seventy-nine minutes, with Shaw's shot scooped away by Brown and into the path of Berridge, only for an offside flag to deny the striker a shot at goal

Doyle-Charles - a pantomime villain in the eyes of some Hednesford supporters as he somehow escaped a red card in a game between the two sides two years ago after a forearm smash into the face of former player Billy Daniels - was also booked with seven minutes remaining as he committed one foul too many on Tilt down the Hednesford right

The bookings were totting up for the big, aggressive visitors as the experienced Robertson was also booked on eighty-six minutes for bringing O'Sullivan down to the right-hand side of the penalty area. Lycett's inswinging free-kick was met by the head of Ison, but his effort looped up and over the crossbar from ten yards out

The final booking of the evening came the way of Taylor, who was shown a yellow card with a minute remaining as he blatantly looked to waste time and break up play by holding onto the ball for too long

This was followed by words between the two benches as Taylor was once again involved on the touchline in front of the dugouts, rolling around in anguish at a challenge from Tilt that took place off the pitch but saw the left-back roll back onto the field of play which forced Mr Pattison to halt proceedings, something that irked the Hednesford bench who felt that the defender was once again playing for time

The Pitmen's late salvo in added time saw Andre Brown played in on goal by Parker, only to see his low drive charged down by Robertson. Coalville worked their way back up the pitch and looked to keep the ball in the corner area through substitute Connor Smith, only for Parker to nick the ball. However, his toe-poke fell to skipper Steve Towers, who in turn slipped the ball into the feet of Shaw. The goalscorer took a couple of touches before firing past Jono Brown from the edge of the penalty area to seal the points for the Ravens

The Pitmen had once again come up a little short against well-organised, powerful opponents, despite enjoying plenty of possession and the better of the play in the opening twenty minutes of the game. However, the reality is that Meakin-Richards' side simply do not have the quality in key areas to challenge the better sides in the league and have been shown up in recent games for showing bouts of naivety and lack of clinical nature up front. This weekend sees the Pitmen back on the road in the first of three successive away games as they travel to ninth-placed Royston Town

Hednesford Town: J. Brown, Atkinson (Landell 70 ), Lycett, Rowley , Ison, Richards ©, Tilt, Parker, A. Brown, Flanagan (O'Sullivan 59), Master (Endall 59)     Subs Unused: Soleman, Clarkson

Coalville Town: Bukowski, Dean (Tomlin 59), Taylor , Eggleton, Robertson , Towers © , Shaw , Doyle-Charles , Berridge (Smith 88), Kee, McGlinchey       Subs Unused: Jardine, Assuncao, Carter

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