BetVictor Southern Premier League Central




Hednesford Town

Truslove (78) (penalty)

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Kieran Morris




Needham Market (H) 31.8.19

On a scorching afternoon in Staffordshire, Hednesford Town claimed the derby bragging rights courtesy of a narrow win over Tamworth at the Lamb ground this Bank Holiday Monday afternoon


Coming off the back of a fine 3-0 win at home to Alvechurch on Saturday, Gary Hayward's side made the short trip down the A5 in confident form having moved into one of the play-off places with successive league wins in the Southern Premier League Central over the past week. Hayward was forced into one change to his starting line-up after Jack Hallahan was ruled out due to injury, being replaced by Charlie Gatter in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role


Tamworth - one of the pre-season title favourites after an impressive recruitment policy over the summer months - had found consistent form a little hard to come by, with two wins, one draw and one defeat from their first four games. A 2-1 win over Leiston on Saturday had lifted the Lambs up to tenth in the table, with joint managers Gary Smith and Andrew Danylyszyn naming former Hednesford striker Ahmed Obeng amongst their substitutes in a strong-looking matchday squad


With the mercury hitting over thirty degrees at kick-off, a fine crowd of just under 900 witnessed a slow start to proceedings as both sides conserved their energy as they played their second game in three days in hot conditions. Tamworth made the better fist of the early play, with Tyrell Waite giving former Tamworth man Matt Curley a tough time in the opening ten minutes with his power and direct running. One such run in the ninth minute saw the former Notts County man drift across the Hednesford penalty area before being stopped by the excellent Kieran Morris


An angled cross into the Hednesford penalty area was headed goalwards by Dan Creaney and into the path of strike partner Jordan Clement in the seventeenth minute of the game, only for the striker to roll his shot into the side netting as Daniel Platt closed him down


An assertive run from skipper Ben Bailey saw the pitch open up on front of him on twenty minutes as he strode deep into the Tamworth half before trying his luck from long range, but failed to test Jas Singh in the Tamworth goal with a wild effort at goal


A deep corner kick from Tom Elliott found the head of Morris on twenty-seven minutes, but the in-form centre back could not replicate his goal against Alvechurch at the weekend as he headed straight into the arms of Singh


The Pitmen afforded Clement far too much time and space to run unchallenged into the Hednesford half a minute later, with the striker's low shot skipping just past Platt's far post as he was allowed to get his effort away from the edge of the Pitmen's penalty area


Sam Griffiths made a rare foray into the Tamworth third of the pitch on the half-hour mark, shimmying his way past two challenges before lifting his shot well wide of Singh's goal


The mercurial Abadaki was having another fine game on the wing for the Pitmen as their most creative output once more, making a surging run past two defenders on thirty-three minutes before a last-ditch block from skipper Ryan Beswick stopped the winger from getting his shot away


Platt was called upon to keep the scores level on thirty-eight minutes, as a spell of pinball inside the Hednesford six-yard box following a long throw finally fell at the feet of Clement, who forced Platt into a fine save with his feet to deny the striker a certain goal


Bailey tried his luck from long-range once more on forty-two minutes, lashing his shot wide of the post with an instinctive first-time effort from fully thirty yards out


Having been a little lacklustre going forwards in the first period, the Pitmen started the second half with more purpose and almost forced an opener inside the first ten seconds of the restart; Jordan Gough missed a long ball forwards by Kristian Scott, allowing Danny Glover to nip in and pick up the loose ball. With the striker through on goal, Gough recovered but appeared to bring the striker down as he released his shot. Some referees may have deemed Gough to have been the last man and sent him off, but the defender escaped with a caution and a free-kick to the Pitmen on the edge of the Tamworth penalty area, which Glover wasted


Glover was next to test the reflexes of Singh on fifty-one minutes, heading a raking free-kick from Scott into the grateful hands of his former Telford team-mate with a looping effort from ten yards out


The Pitmen made an early attacking substitution on fifty-seven minutes, as the more defensively-minded Gatter was replaced by attacking midfielder Liam Truslove


A long ball forwards from Platt on fifty-eight minutes saw Kieran Wells and Glover both flick the ball on and into the path of Elliott, whose well-struck shot was saved by Singh at his near post as the Pitmen continued to press


Tamworth's best chance of the game came on the hour mark, as Clement took advantage of a slip by Curley to get in behind the Hednesford defence down the left-wing. His low cross was begging to be turned home by waite, who somehow failed to connect with the ball in the six-yard box and allowed the ball to run across the face of goal and away from danger


Good play from Curley at the other end opened the game up for Glover on sixty-five minutes as he played the ball into the feet of the in-form striker, only for Glover to lift his shot from the edge of the penalty area over the crossbar


This was to be Glover's final offering of the afternoon, as he was taken off with three-quarters of the game gone and replaced by the pacy Izak Reid in a move that saw Kieran Wells move into the centre-forward position


Another break down the wing from Clement saw him again supply a fine cross for anyone in red to turn the ball home, only for ex-Hednesford man Obeng to drag his shot wide of goal as he arrived at the far post - a great chance wasted by the hosts at a key time in the game


Waite's strength saw him get the better of Curley three minutes later, standing up a fine cross that was once again allowed to drift away from goal without a home player around to turn the ball home


Another powerful run from Abadaki was the catalyst for a great chance for the away side on seventy-one minutes, as his initial cross was not dealt with by the Tamworth defence, allowing the Pitmen to recycle the ball twice through Wells and Reid before shots from Truslove and Scott failed to find the net from close-range as Tamworth hung on


The Pitmen finally made the crucial breakthrough with twelve minutes remaining as Scott played Curley through down the right, culminating in a cross from Curley that was struck the arm of Gough as he attempted to block the ball in. The referee took his time before pointing to the penalty spot, allowing Truslove to fire confidently past Singh from twelve yards out to record his first goal for the Pitmen


The final ten minutes saw the hosts on top but susceptible to the counter-attack, as Abadaki and Reid combined with five minutes remaining to break through the retreating Tamworth defence and test Singh with a low shot from the Hednesford substitute


In the final minute of the game, Louis Ezewele made his belated Hednesford debut as a substitute as he came on in place of Elliott to offer an extra layer of protection to the Pitmen's impressive last line


Despite a late flurry of set-pieces, Tamworth could not muster a shot in anger at Platt or the Pitmen's defence in the seven minutes of added time, leaving the Pitmen to celebrate a rare win at the Lamb which moves thm into joint second place in the league table after today's round of games. Whilst it had not been pretty, and with the weather playing a big part in the overall quality of the game, Hayward's men have proved that they have plenty of spirit and character in their ranks as they continue to defy expectations in their return to the Southern League. They return to Keys Park at the weekend for their final game of the month against Needham Market, who will be the first of a number of sides to face the Pitmen for the first time in their history during the 2019-2020 season

Tamworth: Singh , Wilder , Ambris (Hoenes 80), Beswick © , Gough , Rowe-Turner, James (Obeng 62), Fry (Yafai 85), Creaney, Clement, White      Subs Unused: Walton, Howes


Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey © , Morris, Scott, Gatter (Truslove 57), Abadaki, Glover (Reid 67), Elliott ▆ (Ezewele 89), K. Wells ▆       Subs Unused: B. Wells, Veiga


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