Evo-Stik Northern Premier League


Archer (33), Rowe (63)

Hednesford Town

(1) 2

(0) 0



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James Wren


Sutton Coldfield Town (H) 9.9.17

The Pitmen crash to their second 2-0 defeat in three days this evening as Stourbridge living up to their title as favourites for the league championship with a straightforward win over a dreadfully uninterested Hednesford side

Neil Tooth - under pressure to provide a response to a poor F.A. Cup defeat to Boston Town on Saturday - was able to call upon James Wren once more after the goalkeeper missed the Boston game with a slight injury. Tooth also handed a debut to defender Tyler Lyttle, having registered the former Bristol Rovers man earlier in the day. Sam Oji replaced Ben Bailey at centre back and Luke Rodgers replaced Danny Glover in two further changes to the side

Gary Hackett's Stourbridge side had once again made a strong start to the campaign, particularly away from home. There were a number of familiar faces in opposition at the War Memorial Ground, with former centre back Paul McCone captaining the Glassboys and Matt Dodd renewing acquaintances with the team-mates he left last week. Long-serving duo Leon Broadhurst and Drew Canavan - who boast nearly 1000 appearances between them for the club - were both in the Stourbridge squad, underlining their strength in depth at Hackett's beck and call


 In front of a decent crowd for an early season game the hosts made a meaningful start to proceedings, with Wren making the first of a number of saves in the game on four minutes, pushing a Jordan Archer effort away from goal and into the path of Lewis Wright

Dodd - now well-known to both sets of supporters for his ability down the wing - forced Oji into a late challenge on twelve minutes, signalling the first yellow card of the evening for the burly centre back

From the resultant free kick, Stourbridge won a corner out on the left with Archer somehow heading the ball in wide of goal as he rose highest at the far post to meet Aaron Forde's cross

A goalmouth scramble on seventeen minutes saw the Pitmen living dangerously within their own penalty area with Jim Mutton eventually hacking the ball clear before Ryan Rowe could pounce on the loose ball

Another great run from Dodd on twenty minutes saw the winger drift past Wright and send over a dangerous cross that somehow drifted across the face of Wren's goal without being turned in by anyone in red and white

The busy Rodgers had been left fighting for scraps up front on his own, with the veteran striker getting a shot in on goal that was easily fielded by Stourbridge keeper Matt Gould on twenty-five minutes

Stourbridge cranked up the pressure on the Pitmen's goal as the game hit the half hour mark, with Alex Melbourne blocking Dodd's goalbound shot and conceding a corner that Wren did well to claim under pressure from a number of Stourbridge players

The Pitmen were the architects of their own downfall three minutes later however as a dreadful error from Kris Taylor handed the home side the opening goal; the experienced midfielder lost the ball in a crucial area and gifted the ball to Archer, who fired past Wren and into the net via a deflection off the post from twelve yards out

Stourbridge didn't take their foot off the pedal despite taking the lead, with Mutton denying Rowe a second goal on thirty nine minutes by deflecting the striker's shot away for another corner kick

Rowe did have the ball in the Hednesford net with the final action of the first half, but was chalked off for a well-spotted handball in the build-up to the goal

Wright tested Gould's reactions at the start of the second half, driving in a shot in from long range that was easily claimed by the keeper as he calmly collected the right-back's rising effort

The Pitmen made a double substitution on the hour mark with Jordan Nadat coming on for the ineffective James Lawrie and Stephen Palmer given a run-out in place of Taylor in midfield

This seemed to disturb the Pitmen momentarily, as they conceded almost immediately on sixty-two minutes. An inswinging corner kick was headed goalwards by Jack Duggan, allowing Rowe to turn the ball into the net from close range unchallenged by a hesitant Hednesford defence

Gould made another simple save to deny Nadat on sixty-eight minutes, closely followed by another chance for Rowe at the other end as the striker headed wide of goal from close range

Wren came to his side's rescue again on seventy-seven minutes, making an outstanding flying save to deny substitute Danny O'Callaghan a certain goal at the far post with a one handed stop

Chief tormenter Dodd almost capped a fine display from himself with a rising shot on eighty minutes that just missed the frame of the goal after he had cut in from the touchline and drifted past Melbourne

With eight minutes remaining, Glover came on in place of the luckless Green, who had been a peripheral figure for most of the evening's woeful showing as he had been left to plow a lone furrow up front

Two minutes later, Wren made another superb stop as he got down low to his left to palm away a goalbound effort from midfielder Forde to deny him a certain goal

Dodd left three Hednesford players in his wake with a superb piece of skill out wide on eighty eight minutes, turning Melbourne, Thorley and Palmer and sending over a deep cross that was just out of O'Callaghan's reach

All in all, a poor showing from the Pitmen, who offered their supporters little reaction to Saturday's dreadful cup exit. Tooth will now be under severe pressure to find a reaction from his players ahead of a busy September schedule which will start to shape the way the season will pan out. Saturday gives the Pitmen the perfect opportunity to turn their form around as they face struggling Sutton Coldfield Town at Keys Park - Tooth's former employers and a club he is still revered at after his heroics there in recent years

Stourbridge: Gould, Chrisophorou, Westlake, McCone ©, Duggan, Forde, Dodd, Broadhurst, Archer, Rowe (Hague 80), Green (O'Callaghan 70)     Subs Unused: Pierpoint, Cooke, Canavan

Hednesford Town: Wren, Wright , Melbourne, Taylor (Palmer 60), Mutton, Oji , Lyttle, Thorley ©, Rodgers, Lawrie (Nadat 60), Green (Glover 82)     Subs Unused: Bailey, Veiga