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

21.12.2019

BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Glover (70) (penalty)

Stratford Town

(0) 1

(0) 0

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

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269

Osebi Abadaki

D W W L W L W D L W

 

Rushall Olympic (A) 26.12.19

The Pitmen shrug off Tuesday's disappointment to make it back-to-back league wins at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park this afternoon after ending out a defensively-minded Stratford Town side

Tuesday's defeat at Chester in the F.A. Trophy had seen Hednesford push their higher-league opponents all the way with a superb second half display, only to fall just short against the Vanarama National League North high-flyers. The interim management team of Dean Glover, Danny Glover and Ben Bailey made one change to the side that had started at the Deva Stadium with Elliot Hodge returning to the starting XI in place of the injured Ben O'Hanlon. Striker Ethan Jones had returned to the club this week after rejoining from league rivals Alvechurch, coming in to take his place amongst the substitutes for today's game

Stratford arrived at Keys Park sitting in a precarious eighteenth place in the table, having only picked up that one win against Hednesford in their last ten league games. Manager Paul Davis continued to tinker with his squad on a weekly basis, having already seen nearly fifty players represent the club this season including former Hednesford defender Kyle Rowley, who lined up in central defence for this afternoon's game.  Davis made one change to the side that had lost to Bromsgrove Sporting last weekend, bringing in Tom Mehew ahead of Tamworth loanee Kyle Ambris in midfield as he looked for a turnaround in his team's fortunes ahead of the festive programme

The Keys Park surface had had to overcome a lengthy pitch inspection during the morning for the game to go ahead as planned with the visitors finding the net in the third minute through Christopher Wreh, only for the referee to pull the play back after Wreh had fouled Andy Wycherley in the build-up

The Pitmen had the first genuine sighting at goal three minutes later as Osebi Abadaki's cross eventually fell at the feet of Hodge, whose effort was blocked before James Hurst fired wide from the edge of the penalty area

A loose pass from Bailey in the ninth minute handed possession back to the away side, with Wreh testing the Hednesford skipper's resolve as he darted into the Hednesford penalty area. Bailey allowed the striker to turn him and get his shot away, firing just wide of the far post with an angled effort

Three minutes later, Stratford keeper Sam Lomax was called into action for the first time in the game to make a fine stop down to his right to push away a powerful shot from Abadaki after Reid's deep cross had found him unmarked on the edge of the Stratford penalty area. Glover was alive to the rebound, but found Rowley in the way of his shot as he turned the ball behind for a corner kick

Glover was unlucky not to find the target again on fifteen minutes as a bouncing ball in the Stratford penalty area eventually dropped at the feet of Hednesford's top scorer, whose cross-cum-shot across the face of the Stratford goal was inches away from being tapped home at the far post by Reid

Wreh felt that he had a legitimate shout for a penalty kick on twenty minutes as he fell in the area under pressure from Bailey, but the overly-fussy referee Mr. Davis continued with play and waved away the striker's pleas

Both sides traded set-pieces in the next fifteen minutes to no real benefit, as both defences stood firm against the opposition attack. Stratford were already showing signs of breaking the game up on purpose to slow down the tempo as their clear game plan to play for a point started to become clear as a frustratingly poor first-half came to an end without any further clear-cut chances

The visitors had the first real opening of the second period on forty-eight minutes, with Stratford skipper Lewis Wilson getting the better of Bailey down the right wing and pulling the ball back into the path of Mehew, whose shot was brilliantly saved by Wycherley from close-range to deny the striker a certain goal

The Pitmen responded three minutes later with a floated cross from Matt Curley that was headed on by King and into the path of Reid, whose weak header was straight into the grateful arms of Lomax from eight yards out

Hurst tried his luck with a trademark long-range effort from thirty yards out on fifty-five minutes but lifted his effort high and wide over the Hednesford end of the ground

King was the first man to be shown a yellow card three minutes later after a heavy challenge on Wilson left the Stratford skipper in a heap on half way. The combative midfielder was perhaps a little fortunate to only receive a yellow card for his wild lunge when he had been shown a red card previously for fairer challenges

The Pitmen's first change of the afternoon was an enforced one on sixty-four minutes, as Morris was forced off after falling heavily in his own penalty area defending a set-piece. He was replaced by Charlie Gatter in a like-for-like swap at centre-back

A long ball forward from Wycherley led to a great chance for Glover three minutes later, as the Hednesford striker beat Matt Bower in the air before attempting a spectacular half-volley from the edge of the penalty area that dipped just over the crossbar

Glover almost took advantage of a slip from Lomax on sixty-eight minutes, as the Stratford keeper dropped a Bailey cross at the feet of the striker, only for the Stratford defenders to smother the shot and clear as far as King, whose follow-up effort was held by Lomax at the second time of asking

The Pitmen's pressure had been slowly building on the Stratford defence as the half had worn on, with the hosts awarded a penalty kick with twenty minutes remaining; Glover slipped Abadaki in behind the Stratford defence with a slide-rule pass, only for Lomax to halt the winger's run by hauling him down. Regular penalty taker Glover stepped up and fired past Lomax to put the hosts in front and register his twelfth goal of the season

Lomax did well to deny Reid a chance four minutes later, claiming a cross from the excellent Abadaki just before Reid could turn the ball home from six yards out

Jones was handed a second debut for the Pitmen on seventy-six minutes as he came on in place of the hard-running Reid, who had done well playing out of position in a more central role than he is usually accustomed to

Lovely footwork from Glover on eighty minutes saw him brilliantly turn Bower on the halfway line and run in behind the Stratford defence, only to blot his copybook right at the end of the move as he drove his shot wide of the far post rather than square the ball to the unmarked Jones, who was standing six yards from goal

Stratford's game plan to keep the game tight had unraveled somewhat since the Pitmen's goal, with Davis's men seemingly out of ideas going forwards as the minutes ticked by. A free kick from Wreh that flew high and wide of Wycherley's goal was the closest they were to come to an equaliser as the Pitmen continued to press in the closing stages

With five minutes remaining, a lovely reverse pass from Jones set Hodge on his way in behind the retreating Stratford defence, only for Rowley to block the winger's shot with a last-ditch tackle. From the resultant corner, King headed horribly wide from a great position on the penalty spot as he met Hodge's cross unmarked

Back-to-back league wins at home moves the Pitmen back into fourth place in the table, well positioned with games in hand agaisnt sides around them going into the Christmas schedule. It's a short trip across the border into the West Midlands on Boxing Day, where the Pitmen make the trip to local rivals Rushall Olympic looking for three wins on the bounce in the Southern Premier League Central to further cement their place amongst the chasing pack to league leader Tamworth, who visit the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park themselves on New Years Day

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey ©, Morris (Gatter 64), Hurst ,  Hodge, King , Glover, Reid (Jones 76), Abadaki     Subs Unused: Fry, Hallahan, Veiga

Stratford Town: Lomax, Vann, Wollard-Innocent (Ambris 86), Richards, Bower, Rowley, Wilson ©, Nabay, Wreh, Mehew (Clement 86), Davidson (Campbell-Mhlope 78)       Subs Unused: Bennett, Atkins

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