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


BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Hurst (45) (penalty), Glover (84)

Banbury United

(1) 2

(0) 0



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Tom Elliott



Barwell (H) 21.9.19

The Pitmen reach the Southern Premier League Central summit in only their eighth game back in the league, as Gary Hayward's side turn in another strong, disciplined display to beat Banbury United tonight and move above Rushall Olympic and Stourbridge in the table by clinching all three points


Saturday's fine win over Kings Langley had lifted the Pitmen to a season-high third place going into tonight's round of games, with Hayward making one change to the side that had returned from Hertfordshire with the win as Kristian Scott came back into the team in place of Brad Wells. Left-back Ben O'Hanlon and midfielder Jack Hallahan were still unavailable for selection due to their ongoing injury issues


Banbury's season had started in a similar vein to Hednesford's, with Mike Ford's side only tasting defeat once this season to leave them just behind the Pitmen in fourth place in the table. Ford made two changes to the side that had drawn against Hitchin Town at the weekend, bringing in Gedeon Okito and Roger Ngaah-Bosio at the expense of Jaanai Gordon and Anderson Cayola-Villarroel as the Puritans went in search of a win to potentially lift them to the top of the table


Saturday's fine weather had given way to a bright, but chillier evening in Staffordshire for tonight's game, with the Pitmen having a glorious chance to strike early on through James Hurst; in the sixth minute, Osebi Abadaki's fine cross to the far post was headed back across goal by the former West Brom man, only for a fine goal-line clearance from Connor Roberts to deny Hurst his first goal since returning to the club


Banbury were to have a great chance of their own to open the scoring, however, four minutes later as John Mills played Giorgio Rasulo clean through on goal with a defence-slipping pass, only for Daniel Platt to make a fine smothering save twelve yards from goal


Kieran Wells almost took advantage of a poor clearance from Banbury keeper Jack Harding on sixteen minutes, latching onto a lax kick from the Puritans number one before trying his luck from long-range with a first-time effort that sailed over the crossbar


A quickly-taken free-kick from the visitors on twenty minutes saw Mills involved once more, sending over a fine cross to the far post that the onrushing Roberts turned narrowly wide of the post from close-range. A let-off indeed for the Pitmen


Banbury were forced into an early change on the half-hour mark as Rasulo was forced off due to an earlier injury and was replaced by Cayola-Villarroel in midfield


A long, searching ball forwards from Matt Curley found the head of Reece King on thirty-five minutes, who flicked the ball into the path of Wells once more. Slightly on the stretch, Wells managed to get goal-side of Roberts but turn the ball wide of goal from six yards out


A quick break from Banbury on forty-three minutes saw Tom Elliott intervene illegally just inside his own half bringing down Mills with a crude challenge that produced a worthy yellow card. The Pitmen were, however, angry at play being allowed to carry on after Scott had been left in a heap inside the Banbury half with play continuing around him in the build-up to Elliott's booking


  Elliott was involved at the right end for the hosts in the final minute of the half, as he seized upon more lax play at the back from Banbury to steal the ball and make inroads into the penalty area. Harding came out to meet the midfielder before pulling him down as he took the ball around the stopper. The referee had no doubt about the award of a penalty, which Hurst spotted before lashing past Harding and found the top corner of the net to hand the Pitmen a barely-deserved half-time lead


Half-time saw the Pitmen forced into a change of their own, as Scott failed to shake off the challenge on him just before the break and was replaced by Brad Wells at the start of the second period. Banbury made their second change of the game already too, with Gordon coming on for Roger Ngaah-Bosio up front


Banbury's admirable attempts at playing out from the back had got them into all sorts of trouble in the first half, yet they persisted with it and almost conceded a second soft goal on fifty-four minutes to the pestering Kieran Wells. Roberts and Harding both left a bouncing ball to each other just inside the Banbury half, allowing Wells to nip in and take the ball around Harding. Midfielder Claudio Dias was on hand to deny Wells a tap-in, getting enough on the ball to turn it behind and deny the striker a sixth goal of the season


The resultant Elliott corner forced a mass scramble inside the Banbury penalty area, with Kieran Wells and Hurst both trying to force the ball home from close range. Hurst's follow-up shot looked to have crossed the line from some angles, only for Banbury skipper Jack Westbrook to hook the ball off the line and away from danger


 A quick break down the left from the Pitmen on sixty-three minutes saw Elliott set Abadaki on his way, allowing the winger to cut inside and play the ball into the path of Brad Wells, whose wild effort flew high over the crossbar from a good position eighteen yards from goal


The home side made their second substitution of the night on seventy-two minutes, as Kieran Wells was taken off after picking up a knock in a previous move; fellow top scorer Danny Glover came on in his place up front


A fantastic piece of vision from Hurst set up Elliott for a great chance on seventy-five minutes, playing an inch-perfect ball with the outside of his boot to the impressive midfielder, who found himself in behind the Banbury defence. Harding was quick to react, however, and made a smothering save to block Elliott's attempted lob from just inside the Banbury penalty area


With Banbury pushing up and the Pitmen playing on the counter-attack, the on-form hosts grabbed the all-important second goal on eighty-four minutes through Glover, as Kieran Morris's clearance was inadvertently flicked on by Dias, allowing Glover to scamper in behind the Banbury defence. The experienced striker showed great composure to take the ball past Harding and finish via a ricochet off Westbrook's shin to make if five goals this term already for the former Port Vale man


Ben Bailey - amazingly, still without a goal for the club since his return in January - went close to finding the net for the hosts three minutes later as he strode forward from defence to latch onto a loose ball before shooting from distance with a powerful effort that cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches


With the game petering out in added time, the Pitmen made their third and final change of the game as Tom Fry made a brief home debut in place of the excellent Elliott in midfield


It had been an accomplished and confident game from the home side, who learned of dropped points for Rushall and Stourbridge at the final whistle to confirm their leadership of the league at the final whistle. They will be looking to take this fine recent form into the F.A.Cup tie against Barwell on Saturday as Hednesford go looking for a place in the third qualifying round and the riches of £6,750 for the winning side


Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey © , Morris, King, Hurst, Scott (B. Wells 45), K. Wells ▆ (Glover 72), Elliott  (Fry 90), Abadaki    Subs Unused: Gatter, Daniels


Banbury United: Harding, Roberts, Okito ▆ (Johnson 77), Westbrook ©, Hawtin, Rasulo (Villarroel 30), Dias, Ngaah-Bosio (Gordon 45), Henderson, Mills, Haysham      Subs Unused: Odhiambo, Silva


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