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


BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Nuneaton Borough

Kettle (7), Goddard (51), Benbow (85)

(0) 0

(1) 3



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Tom Hewlett



Kings Langley (H) 8.2.20

The Pitmen's alarming slump in form, particularly at home, continues this evening as they are easily turned over by Nuneaton in front of a pitiful crowd at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park to make it four successive defeats on their own patch

Saturday's frustrating defeat to Needham Market had ended the Pitmen's recent good run of form on the road, making it back-to-back defeats in the league to leave any lingering hopes of a play-off push looking decidedly ropey. As a reaction to the defeat on Saturday, the Pitmen's interim management team made three changes to the side that had started in Suffolk, bringing in Izak Reid for the hapless Matt Curley at right-back, Elliott Hodge for youngster Soiyir Sanali and new loan signing Tom Hewlett for Ben O'Hanlon

Nuneaton were in similarly inconsistent form to the Pitmen, dipping below the lofty expectations placed on them at the start of the season as many people's pick as league champions. Manager Jimmy Ginnelly stuck with the same side that had defeated Lowestoft Town at the weekend, bringing the prolific Luke Benbow back into the squad as a substitute after the striker had recovered from injury. Former Hednesford loanee Tony Breeden started between the stocks for Boro, having memorably missed a penalty against the Pitmen earlier this season when playing for Bromsgrove Sporting

Considering the relatively short distance between the two clubs, the evening's attendance was downright embarrassing, as many home fans voted with their feet after witnessing three successive defeats at Keys Park since the New Year. The cold weather and F.A. Cup replays on the television will also have been reasons behind some supporters staying away from this evening's local derby

Hodge - scorer of a fine goal on Saturday after coming on as a substitute - was the first player to register a shot in anger with an early free-kick, forcing Breeden into a save low down to his right with a dipping, swerving effort form twenty-five yards out

Unfortunately, this was essentially as good as it was going to get for the Pitmen this evening, as they found themselves chasing the game for much of the rest of the game as Nuneaton took the initiative and pushed the hosts back into their own third. A great run from Jordan Goddard in the sixth minute saw him ghost past three half-hearted challenges before driving a low shot in at goal that was deflected just wide of goal


From the resultant corner kick, Nuneaton snatched an early opener as Rhys Sharpe's fall corner was flicked on at the near post by Isiah Osbourne to allow Joel Kettle a simple cushioned header into the net from close range at the far post

Breeden did well to spit imminent danger to his goal in the eleventh minute, making a timely run out of his penalty area to deny Danny Glover a free shot on goal after Hewlett had cleverly played the ball through the Nuneaton defence with a reverse pass

The Pitmen were forced into their first change of the evening in just the eighteenth minute as West Brom loanee Tom Solanke pulled up suddenly in the centre circle holding his hamstring and was immediately replaced by Jack Hallahan

Ben Bailey's recent inconsistent form reared it's head once more on twenty-three minutes as he was dispossessed cheaply by Riccardo Calderon the edge of his own penalty area. The former Telford midfielder attempted to place his shot into the far corner of the net from a tight angle but drilled his effort wide of goal. A real let-off for the Hednesford skipper once more, who had been culpable for a number of soft goals in recent times 


Calder tested Shaun Rowley's reflexes a minute later as he cut inside from the right wing and let fly with an angled shot that the on-loan Solihull Moors keeper did well to hold

A brief moment of attacking play from the Pitmen saw Sam Griffiths send over a cross to Hodge in the thirty-fourth minute, with the winger's knock-down fore over the crossbar by new boy Hewlett on the edge of the Nuneaton penalty area

Half-time arrived without any more real efforts on goal, with Nuneaton comfortably holding the lead against a dreadfully poor Hednesford side that looked devoid of confidence and ideas in a dire first-half display

The second half was to prove a similar outcome to the first, as Boro continued to have most of the possession and chances, whilst the hosts struggled to put anything meaningful together, particularly in the final third where they were well shackled. Rowley was called upon to make a fine double save in the forty-seventh minute to make two fine saves to deny Ryan Edmunds on both occasions after the right back had elected to shoot early from the edge of the penalty area

Nuneaton finally took one of the chances that was presented to them in the fifty-fifth minute as Goddard doubled their advantage with a goods strike. The Hednesford midfield can be disappointed with their half-hearted approach to challenging the midfielder in the build-up to the goal however, as both Hallahan and Reece King made only fleeting attempts to tackle Gooddard before he drove a low shot beyond Rowley and into the corner of the net via a touch off the post

Calder continued to lead the Hednesford defence a merry dance, tricking his way into the penalty area on the hour mark before a late block from Griffiths denied the midfield man a clean strike at goal

Five minutes later, Izak Reid was at fault for pulling out of a 50-50 challenge and allowed the ball to be fed to Sharpe down the flank, whose inviting cross into the danger zone was somehow missed by all of the incoming players in yellow

On sixty-seven minutes, the hosts made their second substitution of the game as the disappointing Abadaki was hauled off in favour of young Stoke City loanee Soiyir Sanali

Rowley was alert to a looping header from Miles Addison on seventy one minutes, touching the ball over the crossbar to deny the defender a goal after he had risen highest to head a Jack Byrne free-kick towards goal

The Pitmen continued to plod through proceedings, but looked out of inspiration and ambition throughout the second half, with a number of key players looking both tired and uninterested in the game as simple passes went astray and key tackles were missed

Charlie Gatter was deservedly shown a yellow card on eighty-four minutes for hacking down Devon Kelly-Evans just outside the penalty area, allowing Benbow - freshly on as a substitute - to step up and take the free-kick, which he hammered into the top corner of the net with his first touch of the ball, bouncing off the underside of the crossbar before settling in the net in a similar manner to a goal he scored for Stourbridge against the Pitmen a couple of seasons previously at the very same end of the ground

A late shot from Hodge that dribbled wide of Breeden's post was all the Pitmen could muster up in a meek final few minutes with the game now well and truly lost

It had been a thoroughly miserable evening's viewing for the loyal Hednesford supporters who had dragged themselves into the cold January evening air to support their team and witnessed arguably their worst performance of the season to date. It's now four defeats in a row at Keys Park, something the players get a chance to put right on Saturday when they face the in-form Kings Langley looking to somehow find some semblance of form once more as the season starts to peter out

Hednesford Town: Rowley, Reid, GriffithsBailey ©, Gatter , King, Hodge, Solanke (Hallahan 18), Glover, Hewlett, Abadaki (Sanali 67)     Subs Unused: O'Hanlon, Curley, Veiga

Nuneaton Borough: Breeden, Edmunds, Sharpe (Julien 69), Hood, Addison, Kettle, Calder (Powell 75), Byrne ©, Osbourne (Benbow 83), Kelly-Evans, Goddard      Subs Unused: Belford, Maphosa

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