23.7.2019

Pre-Season Friendly

Hednesford Town

Truslove (10), K. Wells (20), B. Wells (29), (45), O'Hanlon (40) (penalty), Barrett (60) (OG)

Gresley

Sullivan (90)

(5) 6

(0) 1

Attendance

MoTM

Current Form

Next Match

191

Tom Elliott

W L W W W W

 

Heanor Town (A) 27.7.19

The Pitmen's run of pre-season games at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park sees them win their fourth game in a row tonight, as they sweep aside Midland Football league opponents Gresley with a five-goal first-half salvo of clinical finishing

Mark Ward - still deputising for the unwell Gary Hayward - named a strong side ahead of this evening's game by bringing all of the players who sat out Saturday's win over Darlaston Town back into the squad. The only absentee was player/coach Danny Glover, who was still unavailable due to the striker's holiday commitments

Gresley had recently named former Hednesford midfielder and assistant manager Gavin Hurren as their new manager, with the ex-Kidderminster man bringing a raft of former Hednesford players to the Moatmen during the summer. David McDermott, Jordan Fitzpatrick and Paul Sullivan had all been added to the ranks, with Hednesford great Dan Crane also joining the club from Alvechurch as player/coach. Former Hednesford midfielder - and Gresley legend - Jamie Barrett was amongst the visitor's substitutes after returning to the club following a spell away from football earlier this year

It was a simply glorious night in South Staffordshire, with the temperature still in the high twenties at kick-off as the sun set behind the main stand. The Pitmen made a bright start to proceedings, with Kieran Wells flicking an early header wide of goal from Kristian Scott's cross

The hosts were in front in the tenth minute after a spell of pressure, Ben O'Hanlon's cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Kieran Wells. He found Liam Truslove lurking in the six-yard box, with the attacking midfielder stooping to head home from close range. Despite appeals from the Gresley players for an offside flag, the goal was given as Truslove notched his fourth goal of the pre-season campaign

Gresley responded with fine strike from Fitzpatrick in the thirteenth minute, hitting a firm rising shot from the edge of the penalty area that Daniel Platt did brilliantly to turn onto the underside of the crossbar before the Hednesford defence cleared their lines

The other former Hednesford player in the Gresley midfield McDermott was next to try his luck from long-range dragging his low shot well wide of goal in the seventeenth minute as the Moatmen looked for a leveller

Sullivan wasted a glorious chance to equalise for Gresley a minute later as he robbed Jack Hallahan of the ball before trading passes with strike partner Nehemia Zazi. With Matt Curley bearing down on him, Sullivan got his angles all wrong and lashed his shot over the crossbar from a promising position

The Pitmen thought they had doubled their lead in the nineteenth minute, as Kieran Wells sent over a delightful cross that brother Brad headed past Ben Allsop in the Gresley goal from close range, only to be denied by a late offside flag

 

The hosts did find a way through the Gresley defence a minute later, however, as neat play down the right wing involving Curley, Tom Elliott and Brad Wells culminated in Elliott unselfishly laying the ball off to Kieran Wells, who slotted home from close range after a deflection off a Gresley defender

Truslove's shoot-on-sight policy almost brought him another  goal on twenty-three minutes, lashing a half-volley just wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area after a flick-on from Kieran Wells had found him lurking

A flowing move from the Pitmen down the right once more led to a third goal of the game on twenty-nine minutes, as Kieran Morris's ball forwards found Kieran Wells in acres of space. He picked out brother Brad with a perfectly weighted pass, allowing Brad to side foot home past Allsop from close range with ease

Platt was forced into a regulation save at his near post on thirty-three minutes, plucking the ball out of the air to deny Sullivan a goal after the striker had turned former team-mate Ben Bailey just inside the Hednesford penalty area

The busy, tidy Scott almost caught Allsop out with an audacious effort from thirty-five yards out on thirty-six minutes, striking an ambitious half-volley at goal that dipped just wide of the left-hand post

The Pitmen were awarded a penalty kick in the fortieth minute, as Elliott's surging run into the Gresley penalty area was halted illegally by Ben Healey. The cultured left foot of O'Hanlon duly dispatched the resultant kick to make it 4-0 to the hosts

As the half entered added time at the end of the first period, the Pitmen made it five as O'Hanlon's long, raking ball found Brad Wells on the shoulder of the Gresley defenders, finishing well from the edge the penalty area with another well-taken strike

Half-time saw changes for both sides, with Charlie Gatter, Joey Evans, Izak Reid and Osebi Abadaki coming on in pace of Morris, Hallahan, Truslove and Kieran Wells as Ward gave some players short of match practice valuable game time

The hosts continued to dictate the tempo of the second half, with Abadaki and Reid offering pace and guile to the side down the flanks with Brad Wells playing up top. Abadaki rifled an early shot wide of the Gresley goal on fifty-one minutes after one of his trademark powerful runs down the wing before cutting inside

 

Barrett - on as a substitute for the visitors - was not to have the best of returns to Keys Park, as he inexplicably turned the ball into his own net for the Pitmen's sixth goal of the evening on the hour mark after Abadaki's run and cross down the right flank

 

Substitutes Evans, Abadaki and Reid linked up for the Pitmen to create a great chance of Reid on sixty-five minutes, with Evans feeding Abadaki down the flank before the winger drove in a low cross that Reid was inches away from turning home at the far post

Another break from the impressive Abadaki saw him break through the Gresley defence with a powerful run on seventy-one minutes, but found Allsop in commanding form as he beat the winger's shot away from goal

Sullivan - looking Gresley's best bet for a goal - fired just over the bar for the visitors on seventy-four minutes, picking the ball up at an angle, twelve yards from goal before lifting his shot over the bar

Another raft of substitutions followed with fifteen minutes left, as Morris, Truslove, Hallahan and Kieran Wells all came back on after a well-earned second half rest, replacing Bailey, Scott, Elliott and Brad Wells respectively

A low cross from Sullivan on eighty minutes found the boot of Gresley substitute Jared Grant, but his scuffed shot from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area flew high and wide of Platt's goal

Kieran Wells did well to control the ball with eight minutes remaining before laying the ball off to Reid, whose powerful shot from twenty yards out was well fielded by Allsop

In the final minute, a poor challenge from Hallahan left Fitzpatrick grounded and in pain. Rather than send the player off, the referee gestured to the Hednesford bench to replace Hallahan before he could show him a red card, which saw Elliott return to the field for the final moments. Hallahan was not amused at the decision and took his frustration out on the water bottles in front of the dugout

Sullivan finally got the goal his efforts deserved in the ninetieth minute, sending over a cross-cum-shot that deceived Platt and dipped into the far corner of the net - it was Platt's first goal conceded in the four games since he arrived at the club from Halesowen Town

So, four wins in a row adds a bit of gloss to the Pitmen's pre-season programme, as they now head out for a number of friendlies on the road ahead of the new season. Whilst it is always nice to see goals going in and players playing well, there has to be question marks over the quality of opposition in this pre-season programme and the benefits it brings in terms of competitiveness for the Hednesford players, who have had no benchmark games against similar quality opposition to test their ability and team ethic

Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, O'Hanlon, Bailey © (Morris 75), Morris (Gatter 45),  Scott (Truslove 75), Hallahan (Evans 45), Elliott (Hallahan 75 (Elliott 89)), K. Wells (Abadaki 45), Truslove (Reid 45), B. Wells (K. Wells 75)    Subs Unused: Ezewele, Veiga

 

Gresley: Allsop, Bennett-Tindall (Potts 55), Haynes, Lansdowne, Healey (Barrett 52), Westwood, McDermott (Grant 63), Fitzpatrick, Sullivan ©, Zazi (Hartfield 66), Lee (Sturgess 55)       Subs Unused: Thomas

 

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