Match deleted from records in MaY 2020 after 2019-2020 season voided due to coronavirus


BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Abadaki (4), Glover (49), Morris (51), Brown (82)

Hitchin Town

Barker (42), Jellis (90)

(1) 4

(1) 2



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Osebi Abadaki



Nuneaton Borough (H) 10.12.19

The Pitmen end another tumultuous week in the history of the club with a fine win this evening, beating struggling Hitchin Town at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park to move back into fourth place in the Southern Premier League Central table

It had been a rollercoaster seven days for the club with news on Monday that manager Gary Hayward and assistant Mark Ward had resigned their positions to take up the vacant management job at Buxton. The club had turned to senior players Danny Glover and Ben Bailey to prepare the side for this afternoon's game, with Danny's father Dean - the former Port Vale manager - taking his place in the dugout for today's game with the pair starting the game. Osebi Abadaki returned to the side after missing last weekend's defeat to Biggleswade in one of four changes, joined by Matt Curley, Jack Chambers and Tom Fry in the starting XI in place of James Hurst, Jack Hallahan, Andre Brown and the now-departed Tom Elliott. Carter Lycett was called up to the substitute's bench for the first time since August as the temporary management team rang the changes

Hitchin had spent the majority of the campaign struggling in lower mid-table, with Mark Burke's Canaries arriving in Staffordshire for the first time in fourteen years off the back of a poor 3-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Lowestoft Town. Recent form had been patchy, although recent wins over Barwell and basement side Redditch United had lifted the Hertfordshire club away from the danger zone. Burke made two changes to his side from the one that had lost on Monday night, brining in Kai Phelan and Brad Bell in place of Dan Webb and Max Ryan. New signings Jamie Jellis and Josh Coldicott-Stevens had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes for today's encounter after signing for the club yesterday

The hosts had made a habit of making quick starts to their home games this season, and got themselves off to another flyer with their first attempt on goal after four minutes; Fry's free-kick was stolen back by Reece King as Hitchin failed to clear their lines, playing Osebi Abadaki in down the right flank. The powerful winger cut inside two Hitchin platers before side-footing the ball beyond the reach of Charlie Horlock in the Hitchin goal and finding the far corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season

Abadaki went agonisingly close to doubling his, and the Pitmen's, goal tally for the afternoon four minuets later, as a clever reverse pass from Glover played the winger clean through on goal, only for Horlock to deny Abadaki another goal with a fine save down to his right hand side

O'Hanlon - playing in a new position as a floating playmaker in midfield - did well send over a fine cross to Abadaki in the thirteenth minute of the game, with the winger's low cross hacked away from the danger zone before Glover could turn the cross home. From the rebound, Chambers' floated effort sailed just wide of the far post as Horlock watched it out of play

Horlock did well to deny Glover on eighteen minutes, making the correct call to race out to the edge of his box and claim a long kick forwards from Andy Wycherley right from under the nose of the hard-working Glover

Morris and Bailey were dominating the aerial exchanges between the two sides, heading away any intermittent Hitchin balls into the penalty area, whilst Wycherley was having arguably his best game for the club as he took charge of his penalty area to good effect following a questionable performance at Biggleswade last weekend

Kieran Morris was on hand to deny Hitchin a clear shot at goal with their first real effort of the game on twenty-nine minutes, blocking a low shot from recent signing Jake Hutchison as the Colchester Unite loanee got into a fine position inside the Hednesford six yard box. Twice Hitchin looked to recycle the ball as the Pitmen struggled to clear their lines, with Jack Green flying in on Chambers in the third phase of play and committing a terrible foul on the youngster. A bout of handbags ensued before Green was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Green, with King and Lewis Rolfe also booked for their part in the fracas that followed

Fry - assuming the free-kick responsibilities following the departure of Elliott - swung in a fine ball from forty yards out on thirty-three minutes and found the head of Glover, whose looping header over the top of Horlock saw the Hitchin keeper scramble back and catch the ball on his goal-line under pressure from the onrushing Morris

Glover tried his luck three minutes later with a shot from the right-hand angle of the penalty area that was lifted just over the crossbar, before the ten men of Hitchin got themselves back into the game on forty-two minutes. A low cross from the right wing by Alex Marsh caught the Hednesford defence ball-watching, allowing Lewis Barker to sidefoot past Wycherley from twelve yards out to level matters once more

The visitors finished the half the stronger, buoyed by their equaliser, but could not find a way through in the closing moments as the Pitmen held firm from a number of set-pieces

Hednesford regrouped at half-time and emerged with more attacking intent at the start of the second half as they put the game beyond the visitors with a double-whammy of goals. On forty-nine minutes, Bailey's long free-kick was headed into the path of Abadaki by Morris, with Abadaki showing great composure to pull the ball back across the face of the Hitchin box from a tight angle, where Glover was on hand to score his tenth goal of the season as he turned the ball into the net from close-range

Two minutes later, Glover on a free-kick midway inside the Hitchin half, which Fry took quickly and played to O'Hanlon. The wing-back's cross found the head of Morris, who did well to beat Horlock to the cross and head home from six yards out

Hitchin showed resolve as they tried to muster up a response to the Pitmen's quick fire double, but a string of set-pieces failed to test Wycherley and his defence as they stood firm against a limited Canaries attack

The Pitmen made their first change just after the hour mark, with Charlie Gatter coming on in place of Chambers to add a layer of protection to the centre-backs

Three minutes later, the hosts made their second change of the game as Glover was afforded a round of applause from the Hednesford fans as he was taken off in place of Brown

King should have done better with a chance presented to him on sixty-nine minutes, as he turned O'Hanlon's deep cross wide of the far post from a fine position just a few yards out

With twenty minutes of the game remaining, Abadaki was also handed a rapturous round of applause from the Keys Park crowd as he was replaced by Izak Reid down the flank

The Pitmen did well to win the ball back from Hitchin on seventy-four minutes, with Reid playing in O'Hanlon down the left. The former Wolves man did well to create space for himself and send across a ball that Horlock smothered at his near post before his defence completed the clearance

The hosts put a gloss finish on their display with a fine fourth goal on eighty-two minutes; a lovely move down the right wing involving Fry and Curley saw the pair exchange passes before Curley burst past two Hitchin players and into the space behind them. His cross was chested down by Brown, who confidently slotted past Horlock from close range for a sixth goal of the season

Brown could have doubled his afternoon's tally three minutes later, but scuffed an effort wide from close-range after Morris had headed the ball into the feet of the substitute

The spectre of the Pitmen's poor defending continues to haunt them however, and another sloppy moment at the back saw Hitchin grab a consolation goal in the final minute of the game; Wycherley's ball to Bailey saw the Hednesford skipper lose the ball cheaply after a bad touch to gift it to substitute Jellis, who took full advantage of a Hednesford defence on retreat to glide past both Morris and Wycherley and turn the ball home from an angle

A fine win nevertheless for the Pitmen and the perfect response to the issues of the last week to move them up to fourth place in the league table. The inconsistent Nuneaton Borough make the short journey to Keys Park on Tuesday night in the second of three successive home games, culminating in the F.A. Trophy game against Vanarama National League North outfit Chester next weekend


Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey ©, Morris, Chambers (Gatter 61), O'Hanlon, King , Glover (Brown 64), Fry, Abadaki (Reid 70)      Subs Unused: Lycett, Veiga

Hitchin Town: Horlock, Green ▆ (29), Walster , Rolfe , Phelan, Bickerstaff ©, Barker (Ryan 83), Dhillon (Jellis 58), Hutchison, Marsh, Bell (Coldicott-Stevens 63)       Subs Unused: Gauge, Donnelly

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