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Pre-Season Friendly

Heath Hayes

(0) 0

Hednesford Town

Traillist no. 9 (9), Craddock (19), Triallist no. 16 (53), Triallist no. 15 (66) (penalty)

(2) 4

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Jed Davies

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Mansfield Town (H) 15.7.18

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The Pitmen eased to victory in this evening's opening pre-season friendly against near-neighbours Heath Hayes, with the excellent Hednesford turnout rewarded with a confident display from a Hednesford side heavily leaning towards players on trial


Rob Smith took the opportunity to start with a number of his permanent signings on a warm, pleasant evening at the Coppice ground. Of last season's squad, only James Wren and Charlie Gatter started the game, lining up alongside new signings Josh Craddock, Sam Griffiths, Jed Davies and Matt Dodd. Smith selected four trial players to start the game, with one player a very, very familiar face to the attending Hednesford supporters


It took the away side only nine minutes to get themselves on the scoresheet, as triallist number nine opened the scoring with an impressive lob over the advancing Heath Hayes keeper from the edge of the penalty area


Ten minutes later, the Pitmen doubled their advantage from a Davies corner, with Craddock rising highest to glance the ball into the corner of the net to put the visitors two goals to the good


Triallist number nine tested the Heath Hayes keeper with a low, driven shot five minutes later as the Pitmen continued to press before the talented Dodd also tried his luck from long range after a mazy run inside


The familiar triallist no. 11 was next to test the study Heath Hayes keeper, firing in a low, bobbling drive that was easily handled by the home keeper


The home side offered very little on the parched Coppice pitch, with only speculative efforts from long range to offer which Wren watched wide of his goal


Excellent link-up play on thirty-four minutes saw Griffiths and Dodd play the ball down the wing, with Dodd's cross headed straight into the arms of the Heath Hayes keeper by triallist no.9, who had impressed with his movement up front for the Pitmen


Wren's one and only save of the half came on forty minutes, easily handling a long-range shot from Heath Hayes' number seven


A raft of changes for the Pitmen followed at half-time, with recent signing Jermain Hollis joined on the pitch alongside last season's squad members Matt Curley and Joe Fitzpatrick, with only Wren, Fox and Davies surviving the half-time substitutions


More new faces were to make an impact in the second period, with triallist no. 15 very impressive in showing strength, power and a no-nonsense approach to the game in midfield. He was the first player to try his luck from the restart, driving in a low shot that was deflected just wide of goal


From Fitzpatrick's resultant corner, triallist no. 16, up from the back after coming on for Gatter at half time, headed powerfully home at the far post with virtually his first touch of the game

The impressive Davies - looking to earn the playmaker berth vacated by James Lawrie - was next to test the Heath Hayes keeper, picking the ball up wide on the right before jinking inside and firing his shot straight into the midriff of the keeper


Another swinging corner from Fitzpatrick was almost turned home by the Pitmen on the hour mark, with triallist no. 14 being denied at the near post by the keeper


A superb through ball from triallist no. 15 found triallist no. 7 on sixty-three minutes, with the pacy forward rattling the woodwork with his angled, rising shot from just inside the penalty area


Another incisive through ball from triallist no. 15 found triallist no. 14 on sixty-six minutes, with the big striker pulled down as he challenged for the ball. Triallist no. 15 stepped up and confidently completed the scoring by rolling the ball into the corner of the net


Triallist no. 15 went close to adding to his tally five minutes later, striking a low shot that kicked up off the turf and caused the Heath Hayes keeper the parry the ball away from goal


Another through ball from triallist no. 15 set triallist no. 7 away on goal on seventy-two minutes, but his stabbed shot drifted agonisingly wide of the left-hand post with the keeper beaten


Francino Francis - who recently returned to Keys Park as first-team coach - was given a late cameo at centre-back as he replaced the highly impressive triallist no. 4 as the Pitmen saw the game out with ease to record a positive first win of the pre-season programme. Smith will no doubt be taking another look at some of the triallists on display again on Saturday when Mansfield Town visit Keys Park for their annual friendly, with the missing Hednesford supporters having a chance to cast their eyes over their squad at close quarters as Smith continues to mould the team into a competitive force for the Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town: Wren, Griffiths (Curley 45), Fox, Triallist no. 4 © (Francis 74), Gatter (Triallist no. 16, 45), Triallist no. 6 (Hollis 45), Dodd (triallist no. 15, 45), Craddock, Triallist no. 9 (triallist no. 7, 45) Davies (triallist no. 5, 65), Triallist no. 11 (Triallist no. 14, 45)


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