BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town


Yafai (13), Lait (68), (87)

(0) 0

(1) 3



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Charlie Gatter



Lowestoft Town (A) 4.1.20

The ten men of Hednesford battle bravely against table toppers Tamworth for over seventy minutes of this New Year's Day local derby, but ultimately came up short against some decisive finishing from the Lambs

The Pitmen - still smarting from their defeat to Rushall Olympic on Boxing Day despite dominating the game - made one change to the side that had started at Dales Lane, with Jack Hallahan replacing the injured James Hurst in midfield. New signing Mitchell Glover was named amongst the substitutes after his recent switch to the club after being cleared in time to be involved in today's local derby. Ben O'Hanlon's injury at Chester had proved to be less serious than first expected, so he returned to the squad as a substitute to replace Kieran Morris

Tamworth made the short journey down the A5 sitting top of the Southern Premier League Central table ahead of today's game after an exciting 3-3 draw at home to deadly rivals Nuneaton Borough on Boxing Day. The Lambs had only lost one of their past seven games to extend their lead at the top to three points. Joint managers Gary Smith and Anthony Danylyszyn made only one change to the side that had played six days earlier, bringing in James Fry in place of Walsall loanee Luke Little to freshen up the right side of defence with Aaron Forde dropping back to deputise

It was a cold day that greeted the players and supporters on this, the first day of both a new year and a new decade, with a healthy crowd assembled for a derby game that contained two sides both in the top six of the table. Joint caretaker manager Danny Glover was the first player to register a shot in anger in the forth minute of the game, drilling a low shot narrowly wide of goal after being played in by Osebi Abadaki

Four minutes later, Hednesford danger man Abadaki created a superb opening for Elliot Hodge as he sailed past the challenge of Tyrell Waite down the left wing and crossed for his fellow winger, only for Tamworth to smuggle the ball away from goal before the former Notts County man could react

Tamworth responded with a cross from their own wing wizard Rhys Hoenes from the left wing, getting in behind Charlie Gatter and sending over a low cross that just evaded the reach of Waite

The league leaders took advantage of the Hednesford defence switching off momentarily on thirteen minutes, as Hoenes slipped the ball in behind the ball-watching Hednesford defence and into the path of Bilal Yafai. The forward showed great composure to lift the ball over the advancing Andy Wycherley and find the far corner of the net

The Pitmen responded with more keen wing play from Abadaki on sixteen minutes, sending over a cross that Hallahan dragged well, well wide of goal from a promising position on the edge of the Tamworth penalty area

The game turned in favour of the visitors on twenty minutes, as Hednesford were reduced to ten men with skipper Ben Bailey shown a straight red card. Hoenes was played in behind the static Hednesford defence once again by Waite's through ball, with Bailey struggling to keep pace with the winger and blatantly tripping the player as he bore down on goal. The players and supporters of the Pitmen feared the worst, which was realised as the referee gave the centre-back his marching orders for such a crude foul

From the resultant free-kick Tamworth skipper Ryan Beswick curled a low shot past the Hednesford wall and only a matter of inches wide of Wycherley's post

The Pitmen made a substitution to counter the loss of Bailey a minute later, bringing on Izak Reid for Tom Fry to allow Sam Griffiths to play at centre-back in Bailey's absence and playing Reid at full-back

Tamworth started to control the tempo of the game from this point onwards, forcing the Pitmen to chase the game as they made the Keys Park pitch as big as they could. Reece King made a timely block on twenty-seven minutes to deny Dan Creaney a clear shot at goal after the ball had dropped at the striker's feet just ten yards from goal

Glover was again at the centre of the action on the half hour mark, crashing a shot off the underside of the crossbar after being played through on goal by Hodge. Abadaki failed to get his rebounded shot on target and lifted his effort wide of goal

The visitors also hit the woodwork three minutes later, as another curling free-kick from Beswick on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area came back off the underside of the crossbar before being claimed by a grateful Wycherley

A long range effort from Yafai on thirty-eight minutes had Wycherley scrambling across his goal to watch the dipping effort from the striker drift just wide of his left-hand post

The Pitmen had done well to get themselves to the half-time break with no more damage done, allowing them to regroup under Dean Glover's observations from the bench and plan an unlikely way back into the game

Abadaki almost found this way back into the game with the first action of the second half as he robbed Forde of the ball down the wing before cutting inside from the left and firing a shot across goal that Jas Singh brilliantly tipped away from goal at his near post

A rangy run from Waite was ended by a superb block from Gatter on fifty-two minutes, with Reid doing equally well to divert Henri Wilder's follow-up shot away from goal.The ball continued to bobble in and around the Hednesford is yard box before being cleared by Gatter

Wycherley - brushing off his harsh penalty giveaway on Boxing Day - made a fine save to deny Yafai on the hour mark after Beswick's cross was headed into the Tamworth goalscorer's path of Creaney

The Pitmen made their second change of the afternoon on sixty-four minutes, with O'Hanlon returning to the side to play at left-back as he replaced there disappointing Hodge. This saw another reshuffle of the team with Matt Curley returning to right-back and Reid playing down the wing in front of Curley

Chris Lait - on as a substitute for Waite at the same time as O'Hanlon's introduction - made an immediate impact on the game with a killer second goal for the Lambs on sixty-eight minutes. Cutting in from the left wing, the former Telford man skipped past Curley and Gatter before firing home from twelve yards out

With time running out for the hosts, striker Ethan Jones was brought on to play up op with Glover on seventy-two minutes, with the tiring Abadaki replaced by the former Alvechurch man

Forde was forcibly replaced by Tamworth two minutes later after a fiery exchange between Smith and his right-back saw the former Stourbridge man hauled off and replaced by Jordan Gough. Three minutes later, former Hednesford striker Ahmed Obeng was also introduced as he came on for the excellent Hoenes

Creaney was denied by Wycherley at his near post with eleven minutes remaining, before Reid's curling cross-cum-shot was whipped off the head of the incoming Jones by Singh

Cannock-based Lait was to have the final say of the afternoon with six minutes remaining, turning the ball home at the second attempt after Obeng's run and shot was deflected into the path of the winger, whose initial shot was blocked before wrong-footed Wycherley with his follow-up effort that found the far corner of the net

 The Pitmen were now running on empty having defended for such a long time, as were indebted to Wycherley in the final minute for the game as the on-loan stopper made another good save to deny Beswick. The final whistle was a welcome sound for the weary home side, who can be pleased with their effort in keeping the league leaders at bay as long as they did with depleted numbers, only to lack quality in the final third and stamina in the final fifteen minutes that saw the Lambs run away with the game. It's a quick turnover of games for the Pitmen , as they make the longest journey of the season to deepest Suffolk on Saturday to face struggling Lowestoft Town in the reverse fixture from this season's opening league game

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths , Bailey © ▆ (20),  Gatter Hallahan, Hodge (O'Hanlon 64), King D. Glover, Fry (Reid 21), Abadaki (Jones 72)    Subs Unused: M. Glover, Veiga

Tamworth: Singh, Forde (Gough 73), Wilder, Beswick ©,  Magunda, Rowe-Turner, Waite (Lait 64), Fry Creaney, Yafai, Hoenes (Obeng 77)     Subs Unused: Little, Howkins

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

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