Pre-Season Friendly

Hednesford Town

B. Wells (5)

Leicester City

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Matt Curley



Darlaston Town (H) 20.7.19

The Pitmen make it two successive wins in pre-season and three in four as they see off the challenge of a young Leicester City side at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park this evening

Last weekend's win over Bangor City had seen Hednesford show good character to respond to their hammering at the hands of Wolves in the previous game. Assistant manager Mark Ward - taking charge of the side in the absence of the unwell Gary Hayward - picked a side that was started to show signs of familiarity to it, with only two changes to the side that had beaten Bangor City as Jack Hallahan and Brad Wells replaced Tom Elliott and Danny Glover

Leicester City sent a young side for their first ever visit to Hednesford, with U23 manager Steve Beaglehole selecting a mix of players from the Foxes' U23 and U18 squad with the first team due to play at Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon

The hosts made a confident to the game on another pleasant early summer evening in Staffordshire, as a looping header forwards from Sam Griffiths found Kieran Wells just inside the Leicester penalty area in the second minute. Wells laid the ball off to Ben O'Hanlon, whose deep cross was glanced just wide of the far post by Brad Wells

Ben Bailey's long throw was utilised for the first time this season two minutes later, forcing Calvin Bassey into conceding a cheap corner kick. O'Hanlon's inswinging corner found the head of Brad Wells once more, with the striker taking advantage of a slip from Leicester keeper Daniel Iverson to head home at the far post from five yards out off the crossbar - it was the striker's second goal in successive games after his opener against Bangor last weekend

James Hurst - still playing in the anchor role in midfield after impressing in the last two games there - went close to doubling the Pitmen's tally on twelve minutes; O'Hanlon's cross was partially cleared by the Leicester defence to the edge of their penalty area, where Hurst seized upon the ball and struck a firm shot that flew just over the crossbar

A barnstorming run from Bassey on twenty minutes saw him get in behind the Hednesford defence to bear down on Daniel Platt in the hosts' goal. The left-back slipped the ball past the onrushing keeper and attempted an audacious dive as he lost control of the ball; the referee was unimpressed with the youngster's dive and awarded the Pitmen a goal kick

Brad Wells showed fantastic control to create a chance for himself four minutes later, taking in a ball from Matt Curley before turning his man and firing just over the crossbar from twenty yards out

Leicester did well to work the ball down the left flank on the twenty-nine minutes, culminating in Adam Lovatt squaring the ball into the path of Ryan Loft. However, the striker was wasteful with his chance, side footed weakly wide of goal from an excellent position only ten yards from goal

The Pitmen were forced into a change on the half hour mark, as Hurst was taken off as a precautionary measure after a tackle on him in the centre of the pitch. Liam Truslove came on in his place at the base of the Hednesford midfield after it was decided to remove the former West Bromwich Albion man from the game

O'Hanlon struck a shot straight into the arms of Iverson three minutes later, seizing upon a weak clearance from Bassey and trying his luck with a low shot from fully twenty-five yards out that the Leicester stopper smothered down to his left

The Pitmen afforded too much time and space to Leicester midfielder Connor Tee on thirty-seven minutes, dropping off the youngster as he made a move forwards and allowed him the opportunity to fire just over the crossbar with a long-range effort

Bassey had been heavily involved for the Foxes throughout the first-half and had their final effort of the first period with three minutes left until the break, drilling in a low shot after cutting inside from the wing and forcing Platt into a low stop down to his right hand side

There were no changes for the Pitmen at half time as Ward - with one eye on tomorrow's game at home to Darlaston Town and the need to rotate his squad - gave his side as much game time as necessary against higher level opposition. Leicester, meanwhile, made three changes to their side as they looked for a way back into the game

Kieran Wells went close to adding to the Pitmen's early strike just three minutes after the restart, heading a superb free-kick from Truslove powerfully over the crossbar after he had been given too much time inside the Leicester penalty area

Dempsey Arlott-Allen - one of the three half-time subs for Leicester - created a superb chance for the visitors on fifty-three minutes as he made his way down the right wing and pulled the ball back into the Hednesford six-yard box. However, there was no-one in blue to turn the ball home from close range and the ball dribbled out of play for a goal kick to the Pitmen

Truslove has shown in his handful of games for the Pitmen that he is willing to try his luck from long-range at every opportunity, with the former Kidderminster man stinging the hands of Iverson again on fifty-seven minutes with a low drive from twenty-five yards out that the young Danish keeper did well to hold

An excellent bit of solo play from Arnott-Allen created a chance for himself on the hour mark, doing well to wrong-foot O'Hanlon and turn the ball back onto his left-foot. The substitute's low shot from the edge of the penalty area was on target, but Platt was equal to his effort and made a good stop at his near post 

Leicester were enjoying their best spell of the game at this point, with a fantastic run from Bassey creating a superb chance for substitute Ed Ipakwu on sixty-eight minutes as he shimmied his way past two challenges and sent over a pint-point cross to the Leicester number eighteen, only for Ipakwu to turn the ball wide of goal at the far post with the goal gaping

O'Hanlon was handed a well-earned rest on sixty-eight minutes after a run of impressive performances as he was replaced by Kieran Morris in the Hednesford defence

The Pitmen made their second enforced change of the evening with fifteen minutes remaining as the impressive Griffiths was forced off holding the back of his leg. Teenager Carter Lycett was handed another first-team chance at left-back as the experienced Griffiths' replacement

The tricky Arlott-Allen created an opening for himself again with ten minutes remaining, making a mazy run across the face of the Hednesford penalty area before striking a low shot at goal that took a deflection off Charlie Gatter and into the arms of Platt

Arlott-Allen had been impressive since his introduction at half-time, making another fine run with seven minutes remaining before lifting his effort over the crossbar

The Wells brothers linked up to create an opening for the Pitmen a minute later, as Brad skipped past a challenge out on the left wing before slipping the ball into the feet of Kieran. A clever lay-off from the number nine found his brother once more, with Brad seeing his rising shot turned behind by Iverson. From the resultant corner kick, Jack Hallahan struck a wild shot high over the crossbar with an highly ambitious long-range effort

With five minutes remaining, the Pitmen made a double change as youngster Ollie Waddison and CJ Taylor came on in place of the Wells brothers to play up front for the final minutes

It had been a good run-out for both sides, with the Pitmen continuing their encouraging pre-season form with another good team performance that showed a growing understanding between the players, particularly in defence. The players not involved in today's game, plus a number of youth team players, will take on Darlaston Town tomorrow afternoon back at Keys Park as the Pitmen look for a third successive win at home in pre-season to add to their last two well-earned wins

Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths (Lycett 75), Bailey ©, Gatter, Hurst (Truslove 30), Evans, Hallahan, K. Wells (Waddison 85), B. Wells (Taylor 85), O'Hanlon (Morris 68)    Subs Unused: Lewis, Veiga


Leicester City: Iverson, Clark (Ipakwu 64), Bassey, Tee (Ewing 45), Moore ©, Kranthove (Thomas 45), Nicelle (Loughlan 68), Lovatt, Loft (Arlott-Allen 45), Uche-Rubio, Mousa (Belkiah 71)     Sub Unused: Stolacyk


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