BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Elliott (41), Glover (67), Morris (82)


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Ben Bailey



Tamworth (A) 26.8.19

The Pitmen's fine early season form continues this afternoon with another three-goal win and a clean sheet as Gary Hayward's side follow up their win at Stourbridge with one over lats season's play-off finalists Alvechurch


Last week's fine victory over Stourbridge had given the Pitmen real momentum going into this Bank Holiday weekend run of fixtures. Manager Hayward was happy to name the same side that had put Stour to the sword, with key players Ben O'Hanlon, James Hurst and Billy Daniels still unavailable for selection due to various injuries


Alvechurch arrived for their first-ever visit to the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park off the back of a comprehensive 5-0 win over Hitchin Town last weekend, with former Hednesford striker Ryan Nesbitt bagging a hat-trick in the game at Lye Meadow. Nesbitt was one of four ex-Hednesford players in Darren Byfield's matchday squad, with Kyle Morrison, Kyle Rowley and new signing Lewis Archer all joining Nesbitt in the Church ranks


It was another beautiful late summer's day in South Staffordshire, with the sun shining brightly as it had done last weekend at Stourbridge. The visitors were the ones on the front foot from the off, playing some neat, tidy football in midfield and threatening through the trickery of Kevin Da Veiga Montiero and the pace of striker Javia Roberts


It was Alvechurch skipper Jamie Willets who was to have the best chance of the opening exchanges, heading against the underside of the crossbar from a long throw out on the left-hand side that left Daniel Platt flat-footed and reliant on Kristian Scott to clear their lines


The Pitmen were struggling to get a foothold in the game during the opening fifteen minutes, misplacing passes and struggling to play Danny Glover and Kieran Wells into the game as the striking pair were left to battle in isolation against a strong Alvechurch back line. A superb inswinging corner kick on ten minutes from Scott almost found Wells at the far post, only for the midfielder to get a little too much curve on the ball and sail over the head of the striker and out of play


Two minutes later, Alvechurch's early pressure appeared to have paid dividends as Jordan Goddard's low shot was deflected into the path of Da Veiga Montiero by Roberts, with the midfielder firing into the roof of the net from close range. However, Roberts' flick to Da Veiga Montiero ultimately played his team-mate offside, with a flag on the main stand side ruling the goal out


The hot conditions were taking their toll on the players, with the first of three water breaks coming into effect after twenty minutes as Jack Hallahan received a bout of treatment


A superb run from Osebi Abadaki on twenty-nine minutes saw the in-form winger drift past two challenges down the right-wing before cutting inside and driving a shot across goal that was deflected away for a corner kick before either Glover or Wells could get on the end of


Kieran Morris gifted Alvechurch a great chance from a free-kick on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area as he gave the ball away cheaply to Roberts before pulling the striker down to earn himself a yellow card. From the resultant Goddard free-kick, Platt made a fine one-handed save to tip a low shot away from goal down to his right-hand side

Despite being second best for much of the first half, the Pitmen showed great character and resolve to push forward and take the lead against the run of play with four minutes remaining in the first half. A Ben Bailey long throw was returned to the Hednesford skipper on the right-wing, with the centre-back sending over a fine cross that was flicked into the path of Tom Elliott by Glover. The midfielder took a touch before dispatching a fine lob over the head of young Alvechurch keeper Josh Bradley-Hurst to find the net with a brilliant instinctive finish


Hallahan had picked up an injury earlier in the game and was once again left laid out on the turf on forty-two minutes, requiring more treatment. He appeared to be taken off but came back on in an attempt to run off his injury. However, the midfielder finally had to admit defeat a minute later as he limped off after a couple of loose passes in midfield that proved he was struggling to keep up with play. Charlie Gatter came on in his place to play just in front of the centre-backs in a slightly unfamiliar role for the defender in midfield


In first-half added time, a fine through ball from Ben Usher-Shipway sent Nesbitt in behind the Hednesford defence, only for the former Hednesford youth team player to lash his shot high and wide of goal from a decent position just inside the hosts' penalty area


The Pitmen went in at half-time feeling a little grateful at being ahead in a game that they had struggled to get a foothold in for much of the first period, much in the same way that they had earned their three points in their last home game against Lowestoft Town. Hayward's half-time team talk seemed to galvanise the hosts, who emerged with a more assertive display in the second half as they played ten yards further forwards to bring Wells and Glover back into the game


Glover tested the reflexes of Bradley-Hurst on fifty-four minutes, driving in a low shot that looked destined for the far corner of the net until the young keeper produced a superb one-handed save to his left-hand side to deny the striker a fourth goal in four games and turn the ball away for a Hednesford corner kick


Archer made his debut for Church on the hour mark, coming on for Roberts in one of two quickfire attacking changes by Byfield as he looked to get his side back into the game. The visitors had struggled to match their first-half performance so far as they struggled to cope with the Pitmen's more aggressive approach to the game, introducing the pacy Archer to play on the counter-attack against his former team-mates


The Pitmen's direct approach to the second-half paid off for them on sixty-seven minutes, as a superb free-kick from Elliott was headed home by Glover from six-yards out, beating Bradley-Hurst to the ball to confidently nod into the empty net and continue his superb start to the new season in front of goal


Abadaki - who had once again proven his worth with another assertive display down the wing - was afforded generous applause from the Keys Park crowd on seventy-six minutes, as he was taken off in favour of fellow winger Izak Reid


Alvechurch has visibly wilted in the sunshine during the second half, allowing the Pitmen to build up another spell of pressure that saw them force three corners in a row on eighty-one minutes. From an Elliott corner kick, the Pitmen finally settled the game as a contest on eighty-two minutes as Morris rose to powerfully head the inswinging ball past Bradley-Hurst from eight yards out for his first Hednesford goal 


With the game now won, the Pitmen made their final substitution of the game with seven minutes remaining, as top scorer Glover was warmly applauded off by an appreciative home crowd as he was replaced by Liam Truslove


It had been another lesson in finishing from the Pitmen, who once again turned a tight encounter their way by taking their chances when the opposition had failed to take theirs. They now sit second in the league table going into Bank Holiday Monday's tough-looking encounter at local rivals Tamworth high on confidence and with two impressive three-goal wins under their belt. More of the same, please, Hednesford


Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey ©, Morris , Scott, Hallahan (Gatter 43), Abadaki (Reid 76), Glover (Truslove 83), Elliott , K. Wells      Subs Unused: L. Ezewele, B. Wells


Alvechurch: Bradley-Hurst, Morrison, Rowley, Goddard, Willets ©, Da Veiga Monteiro, J. Ezewele, Usher-Shipway (Okofor 74), Nesbitt, Roberts (Archer 60), Atherton (Suane 61)      Subs Unused: Ransome, Till


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