9.10.2021

Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Landell (46), Ison (70)

Hitchin Town

L. Brown (31), Alex. Brown (59)

(0) 2

(1) 2

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Carter Lycett

 D D D L D W L L W D

 

Redditch United (H) 19.10.21

The Pitmen have to twice come from behind to earn themselves a frustrating point at home to struggling Hitchin Town at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park  this afternoon

 

Last weekend had seen the Pitmen return to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 win over Lowestoft Town, moving Hednesford back into the top three of the Pitching In Southern Premier League Central table in the process. Manager Keenen Meakin-Richards had once again been busy bringing in more new faces, announcing two new signings just before the game as AFC Wulfrunians midfielder James Hill and Rushall Olympic winger Shaquille Master had both been registered in time to take their place in today's squad. Master came straight into the side in one of two changes to the side from last weekend as Ben Bailey came back in to replaced the injured Callam Mendez-Jones and Master replaced Joshveer Shergill. Wes Atkinson - who joined the club back in the 2020 pre-season but had yet to make a senior appearance for the club due to injuries - was named amongst the substitutes after returning from a loan spell at Walsall Wood. Top scorer Andre Landell had been subject to a seven-day approach from struggling neighbours Nuneaton Borough in midweek but had elected to remain at Keys Park

Hitchin arrived in South Staffordshire sitting down in nineteenth place, just one place and one point outside of the relegation zone. Manager Mark Burke made just the one change to the side that had been heavily beaten at Stourbridge last weekend as Lewis Barker replaced Henry Snee in midfield for the Canaries

It had been an overcast day in Hednesford, with rain threatening to fall on the patchy Keys Park turf since the early morning. An early ball over the top from Todd Parker in the fourth minute found Chay Tilt in acres of space down the right, only for his low cross into the Hitchin penalty area to be cleared by skipper Dan Webb, under pressure from the late-arriving Andre Brown

Striker Brown was involved again for the hosts in the seventh minute with the first sight at goal as he was played into space down the left by Carter Lycett's reverse pass. The forward cut back onto his right foot and attempted a curling shot at goal from the edge of the penalty area that drifted wide of the far post

Hitchin's first foray into the Hednesford penalty area came in the twelfth minute as Kyle Rowley needlessly gave away a corner kick that was played into the feet of striker Luke Brown, whose scuffed shot from twelve yards out lacked direction and ended up drifting wide of the post

Master showed neat skills four minutes later to get past Lawrie Marsh and attempt a shot from twenty yards out that he got his laces underneath, lifting his effort over the bar

A great run from Alex Brown on eighteen minutes saw him run beyond Ison down the left and cut inside from the wing, but his low cross towards namesake Luke was cut out at the near post by diligent defending from Bailey to deny the striker a clear shot at goal

Hitchin were having their best spell of the game thus far and went closest to opening the scoring two minutes later; a quick break down the right saw winger Kye Tearle take the ball deep into the Hednesford half before attempting a long-range looping effort that Andy Wycherley tipped over his own crossbar

In the twenty-fifth minute, Luke Brown was once again guilty of wasting a good chance for the visitors as he picked up a loose ball following a coming together between Parker and Ryan Smith, driving his shot from twenty yards out over Wycherley's crossbar

Tilt was the first player to be shown a yellow card five minutes later as he kicked the ball away in anger down the right flank after a throw-in went against him and he took exception to the decision

The visitors had looked bright and dangerous when they moved forwards and took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark as Luke Brown struck for the Canaries; the Pitmen failed to clear their lines down the Hitchin right as Marsh and Smith linked up well to find space in behind Lycett. Marsh held off a weak Lycett challenge to pull the ball back into the path of Luke Brown, who calmly sidefooted the ball past Wycherley from ten yards out to give the away side the lead

The Pitmen had been caught flat-footed at the back and this seemed the dent their fragile confidence going forwards, where they had looked short of quality and ideas as Andre Brown and Landell were left feeding off scraps against the Hitchin defence

A run from Lycett on thirty-five minutes saw him exchange passes with master and cross to the far post, but Tilt's late arrival at the far post was perhaps a little too late as he stretched to reach the cross but could not reach the ball with his head

Two minutes later, Andre Brown found himself all alone twenty-five yards from goal as Tilt played the ball into his feet, forcing him to go it alone up against Webb. The big man did well to hold off the attentions of the defender but his weakly-struck shot was easily saved by Charlie Horlock in the Hitchin goal

On forty-one minutes, Tilt found space for himself out on the right after Reece Flanagan had played the ball to him. His cross, however, was aimless and was easily cleared by Hitchin as not one player in white was even close to getting themselves into the penalty area. The pressing need for a centre-forward continues to dominate discussions on the terraces amongst Hednesford supporters in the wake of Reece Styche's recent departure

With a couple of minutes remaining, the Pitmen had a great chance to level matters as Lycett splayed the ball into the feet of Landell, who showed superb feet to get to the byeline and beat Webb before standing up a cross to the far post, where Tilt arrived late to toe-poke a shot towards goal. However, a timely block from Alex Brown denied the winger as he diverted the low shot away from the left-hand post

It had been another largely frustrating forty-five minutes for the Pitmen and their supporters, much the same as their recent home game with Barwell where they had allowed the visitors to capitalise on slack defending and grab the crucial opener against a Hednesford side that looked limited going forwards

Meakin-Richards sent his side out early for the second half, with a half-time lambasting still bringing in their ears no doubt. Whatever was said at the break appeared to have the desired effect, however, as the hosts levelled matters once more just a few seconds after the restart. Rowley' long, angled pass to Lycett was knocked down to Master, who played the ball back to Lycett with a delightful chipped pass over the head of Marsh. The teenager did well to pick out Landell with a low cross, that Hednesford's top scorer sidefooted confidently past Horlock from the penalty spot to score his seventh goal of the season

The momentum shifted sharply towards the Pitmen at the start of the second period, as Hitchin started to look edgy at the back. Tilt did well to trick his way past Alex Brown on fifty minutes and win a corner kick that Lycett swung into the far post, only for Rowley to head wide from six yards out, under pressure from Graham Jones

Tilt was walking the line with referee Mr Cox following his earlier yellow card and found himself receiving a talking-to from the official on fifty-three minutes after he reacted angrily to a foul from Alex Brown down the left-wing

Tearle was the next player to receive a booking on fifty-five minutes as he was rightly cautioned for bringing down Parker in midfield as the former Wolves man looked to play a pass out to Master

However, despite having all of the play in the opening stages of the second half, the Pitmen were once again made to pay a heavy price for more terribly lacklustre defending just before the hour mark as Hitchin went back in front once more. Alex Brown picked up a poor clearance from parker and made his way towards the Hednesford penalty area, playing the ball into the feet of Barker on the edge of the penalty area before carrying on his run. Barker flicked the ball back into the path of Brown, who was somehow allowed to continue his run into the box unchallenged as both Rowley and Ison allowed the ball to run to the full-back, whose smart angled finish beat Wycherley across the face of his goal before nestling in the far corner of the net

The Pitmen were at sixes and sevens once more, struggling to clear their lines at the back after the shock of conceding a second goal. Rowley's stray pass on sixty-three minutes was picked up by Luke Brown once more, who made inroads into the Hednesford penalty area before Bailey came across and cleared the ball with an authoritative hack clear

Hitchin should have put the game to bed on sixty-five minutes as they carved the Pitmen open once more with Barker picking up the loose ball in midfield and sending Luke Brown away, in behind the dithering Herdnesford defence. Fortunately for the hosts, the striker's shot lacked direction and his sidefooted effort came back off the base of Wycherley's left-hand post before Lycett cleared

The Pitmen made a double substitution on sixty-six minutes as Atkinson was finally handed a long-overdue Hednesford debut, replacing Bailey in the process. Flanagan's patchy performance was also brought to an end as Hill was also handed a debut by Meakin-Richards in the centre of midfield

Ison's long throw on sixty-nine minutes caused problems for the Hitchin defence as they struggled to clear their lines with Tilt eventually winning a dubious-looking corner kick off Smith, who on closer inspection did not get the final touch to the ball. Lycett took the resultant kick and found Ison at the near post, who nodded the ball home from six yards out for his second goal of the season and the Pitmen's second equaliser of the game

The Pitmen once again ramped up the pressure on the Hitchin defence as they went in search of a winning goal; Hill won a free-kick for the hosts on seventy-four minutes after his run was checked by Josh Coldicott-Stevens. Lycett took the resultant free-kick and whipped it into the penalty area but the ball was cleared by Webb, ahead of Landell at the far post

Neat and patient play from Hitchin on seventy-eight minutes saw them work the ball well around the edge of the Hednesford penalty area before Marsh elected to have a go with a weak left-footed effort that was easily saved by Wycherley

Landell was to be handed the best chance of the game to put the Pitmen ahead in the eightieth minute as Master and Lycett combined once more down the left in a carbon copy of the striker's goal, only this time he blazed the ball over the crossbar from twelve yards out as he took a touch too many to work the ball onto his left foot and got his laces underneath the ball

Teenager Joe Morley was given another chance to stake his claim in the side as he came on down the left flank in place of Andre Brown before play restarted. This saw a reshuffle of the side that included Landell moving into the number nine role and Master shunted to the right-wing, with Tilt shifting into the withdrawn role vacated by Landell

Parker and Tilt combined to set Master on his way down the right on eighty-three minutes as they moved the ball quickly through midfield and into the oath of the former Leicester Nirvana man, only for his shot on the run to end up rippling the side netting

Hitchin nearly caught the Pitmen out with a late break of their own with a couple of minutes remaining as Luke Brown found more space on the edge of the Pitmen's penalty area to slip the ball into the path of Tearle. He took a touch too many and was eventually tackled by Ison, only for the lively presence of Luke Brown to picked the ball up once more and try his luck with the outside of his boot that Wycherley claimed at his near post

A point was a fair result over the ninety minutes, with the Pitmen having to show character to come from behind twice and earn themselves a draw against a limited but spirited Hitchin side that will no doubt be delighted with a point in their bid to move away from the drop zone. There is another ten-day gap between games for the Pitmen due to Peterborough Sports' continued participation in the F.A. Cup, meaning it will be a week on Tuesday before they return to league action when they play host to Redditch United 

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Ison, Lycett, Bailey © (Atkinson 66), Rowley, Flanagan (Hill 66), Tilt , Parker , Andre Brown (Morley 80), Landell, Master     Subs Unused: Rooney, J. Brown

Hitchin Town: Horlock, Marsh, Alex Brown, Smith, Webb ©, Jones, Barker, Coldicott-Stevens, Dasilva (Black 77), L. Brown, Tearle        Subs Unused: Snee, Georgiou, Gordon-Douglas

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