Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Green (1), Rodgers (9)

Halesowen Town

(2) 2

(0) 0



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Matt Dodd

 D L L W

Lancaster City (H) 26.8.17

The Pitmen finally got their spluttering Evo-Stik League campaign off to a winning start, defeating local rivals Halesowen Town this evening with a swift two-goal salvo in the opening ten minutes to earn them all three points at Keys Park this evening


Saturday's tame defeat to Shaw Lane had been enough for manager Neil Tooth, who made the first major changes to his team for the first time this season as Ben Bailey, Joe Ballinger, Danny Glover and James Lawrie were all moved to the substitute's bench after poor performances in Yorkshire. Alex Melbourne, Jim Mutton, Kris Taylor, Jordan Nadat and debutant Devarn Green were all brought into the team in their place as Tooth rang the changes

Halesowen's start to the season had been similarly spluttering, with the Yeltz only managing a solitary win from their first three games against Barwell last week to leave them just above the Pitmen in the early league standings. Manager John Hill named former Pitmen Luke Shearer, Asa Charlton and Danny Bragoli in their squad for tonight's local derby as well as former Hednesford trialist Kyle Morrison in the centre of defence


The Pitmen were straight into the action, and took an early lead with the first attack of the game; Taylor's deep cross into the box bounced around, and with Halesowen failing to clear their lines, Green forced the ball home from close range for his first goal for the club with his first touch as a Hednesford player


A quick corner kick from the Pitmen almost caught Halesowen out in the sixth minute, but quick thinking by Morrison saw him block Taylor's shot at goal from the edge of the penalty area


It mattered little, as the Pitmen extended their lead in the ninth minute through Rodgers. A Taylor free-kick was whipped into the far post, with the veteran striker heading home unchallenged for his first goal of the season from close range


Morrison was again alert to deny the Pitmen a third goal on a minute later, heading over his own crossbar for a corner to deny Rodgers a free header at goal from Matt Dodd's cross


The highly-rated Halesowen keeper Daniel Platt was tested by Rodgers in the twelfth minute, driving a shot in on goal that Platt was forced to hold down low to his left to stop Rodgers from seizing on the rebound


Platt was again in action on fifteen minutes, saving well from Nadat after the diminutive striker had quickly turned his marker and got his shot away from the edge of the penalty area


Halesowen had to be patient for their first chance of the game, which came on twenty-six minutes through a drifting free kick from Lee Chilton, who fired over the crossbar from a good position


A late offside flag denied Rodgers the chance to add to his goal on thirty-two minutes, as Mutton's ball just caught the striker the wrong side of the Halesowen defence


The marauding Melbourne - enjoying his first start of the season at left-back - fired in a shot that rebounded to Rodgers on thirty-six minutes, with the striker lifting his effort over the crossbar from ten yards out

Dodd was having another effective game out on the wing and almost opened up the Halesowen defence on thirty-nine minutes with a slalom-like run that was eventually halted by veteran defender Charlton for a Hednesford corner

Halesowen finished the half strongly as Lewis Wright denied former team-mate Shearer a clear shot on goal on forty-two minutes with a last-ditch challenge to clear the ball away from the feet of the striker


Wren was forced into a save late on in the first half, turning Shearer's sharp shot away from goal with a two-handed parry to keep the Pitmen two goals to the good at the break


The Yeltz made a double change at half time as Hill shook things up with the introduction of midfielder Joe Howell and forward Wade Malley in a bid to get back into a contest they had fallen out of in the first period


Skipper Tom Thorley was a busy influence on the home side early in the second half, firing wide of goal in the fifty-first minute after being teed up by Rodgers on the edge of the penalty area


Shearer was again denied by Wren on fifty-six minutes, with the Hednesford stopper turning Shearer's shot away from goal and relying on Sam Oji to complete the clearance from inside the six-yard box


Big striker Roland Agbor again forced Wren into a good save on sixty-four minutes, as the Hednesford number one got down well to turn the former Evesham man's shot wide for a corner kick


A great floated cross from Dodd on seventy minutes was begging to be turned home by Nadat, but the Hednesford striker headed over the crossbar when he should have done better


Debutant Green's game came to an end on seventy-two minutes, as Lawrie came on to replace the youngster in a move that saw the substitute move into a more central role


The game started to become stretched, as both sides created chances in the final fifteen minutes; Platt made a great save on seventy-six minutes to deny Rodgers, who was played through on goal by a clever ball from Dodd, but was once again denied by the gloves of the former Crewe stopper


After Shearer had fired wide from a useful position for the Yeltz, the Pitmen made their final change of the evening with Glover replacing Nadat up front on seventy nine minutes


Glover headed wide of goal from a Dodd cross on eight four minutes, followed by a great run from Lawrie that saw the midfielder test Platt with a long range shot three minutes later

In the final minute, the busy Lawrie saw his shot once again saved by Platt, who parried the substitute's shot away after more good work from the industrious Rodgers

A much-needed win for the Hednesford players and management this evening, which relieves a little bit of the pressure building on them after just four games. It is important that they follow this positive result up with another good performance on Saturday required when newly-promoted Lancaster City visit Keys Park

Hednesford Town: Wren, Wright, Melbourne, Taylor, Mutton, Oji, Dodd, Thorley © , Nadat (Glover 79), Rodgers , Green (Lawrie 72)   Subs Unused: Ballinger, Bailey, Veiga

Halesowen Town: Platt, Lewis, Kelly (Howell 45), Goddard (Walker 71), Morrison, Charlton, Woodhouse (Malley 45), Bragoli ©, Shearer, Agbor, Chilton   Subs Unused: Clarke, Steele