Pitching In Southern Premier League Central


Quantrell (27), Davies (82)

Hednesford Town

A. Brown (8)

(1) 2

(1) 1



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Andy Wycherley



Bromsgrove Sporting (A) 28.9.21

The Pitmen fall to their first league defeat of the season as a goal in each half is enough for home side Leiston to claim all three points at Victory Road this afternoon

Having had ten days away from action due to their early F.A. Cup exit to Cleethorpes Town a couple of weeks ago, manager Keenen Meakin-Richards had once again tinkered with his playing squad ahead of today's long trip to Suffolk. The most notable piece of business had seen the experienced Reece Styche leave the club after only a handful of appearances for the club since his summer return, with the 32-year-old electing to join league rivals Stourbridge. In had come teenager Joshveer Shergill, a former Leeds United academy player who had left Solihull Moors in the summer. Shergill was one of two changes to the side that had beaten Nuneaton Borough last time out as he replaced Styche, whilst Reece Flanagan came back into the side in place of the injured Sam Griffiths

Leiston had made progress in the F.A. Cup in midweek as they beat former league rivals Kings Langley 3-1 in their second qualifying round replay at Victory Road. Manager Chris Wigger made two changes of his own for this afternoon's return to league duty as Ollie Saunders and Ben Hunter replaced Dylan Crowe and Seb Dunbar

On a bright and sunny afternoon, the hosts made a strong start to the game and went close in the second minute as a deep corner kick from Finlay Barnes was headed against the crossbar by skipper Jake Hutchings as his looping effort beat everyone inside the Hednesford six-yard box

Two minutes later, Andy Wycherley was called upon to make his first save of the afternoon as Barnes did well to drift inside of Carter Lycett and curl a delightful shot towards goal, only for the former Telford stopper to produce a wonderful full-length stop to turn the ball away from danger

The Pitmen's first opening of the afternoon came to Chay Tilt sixty seconds later as Lycett made his way to the byeline to get on the end of Shergill's through ball, crossing to the near post where the former Stourbridge man was a matter of inches away from tapping the ball home as it skipped across the face of goal

Three minutes later, the Pitmen stole into the lead as Lycett's presence down the left created a first goal of the season for Andre Brown; Shergill and Lycett linked up once more down the flank, with Lycett getting the better of Barnes before crossing to the near post where Brown was on hand to sidefoot the ball past Sam Donkin in the Leiston goal from a couple of yards out

Leiston striker Will Davies created an opening for himself in the tenth minute of a busy opening period, coming inside two challenges but drilled his low shot well wide of Wycherley's goal from twenty yards out

More good wing play from Shergill five minutes later saw the former Leeds United scholar make a darting run into the penalty area as he cut in from the flank, only to fire high and wide of goal

Brown - twice a scorer here two years ago in a 3-0 win - was giving the Leiston defence plenty to think about with his pace and movement, latching on to a pass from Courtney Richards in the nineteenth minute but seeing his shot smuggled away by the Leiston defence


Midway through the first half, a Barnes free-kick was flicked on at the near post by former Lowestoft Town man Rob Eagle but hacked clear by Lewis Ison before anyone in blue could capitalise on the bouncing ball inside the six-yard box

Good play from George Quantrell three minutes later saw the left-sided player beat Callam Mendez-Jones and turn the ball goalwards, only for Kyle Rowley to clear his lines as the hosts pressed for an equaliser

This leveller came after another period of pressure on twenty-seven minutes as Hunter chested the ball into the path of his team-mate down the left flank, with Quantrell turning past Richards and looked to pick the striker out in the Hednesford penalty area. The ball was partially cleared by Ison back into the path of Quantrell, who had continued his run into the penalty area to seize upon the bouncing ball and execute a fine volley beyond the reach of Wycherley and into the far corner of the net

The hosts had their tails up and went in search of a quickfire second goal to turn the game on its head before the break; Adam Mills did well to hold off the attentions of Flanagan on thirty-one minutes to meet a cross from Jamie Eaton-Collins, but his flick header sailed harmlessly wide of the target from twelve yards out

Wycherley made another fine save to keep his side in contention on thirty-five minutes as Saunders played Mills into space down the left, with the forward firing in a powerfully struck low shot that the stopper turned around his near post for a corner kick to the hosts

From the resultant Barnes corner kick, Mills flicked another header towards goal and into the feet of Hutchings at the far post, only for the Leiston skipper to poke. the ball straight into the arms of Wycherley

The Pitmen had failed to build on their bright start to the game and had spent much of the past twenty minutes in their own third of the pitch. Brown found a pocket of space just outside the Leiston penalty area two minutes later and lifted his rising shot narrowly over Donkin's crossbar

Striker Hunter had Wycherley scrambling across his goal with four minutes of the first half remaining as his first-time scuffed shot dribbled just wide of the goalkeeper's right-hand post

The hosts had very much had the better of proceedings thus far, creating numerous chances and had looked threatening from set-pieces. The Pitmen had played some neat and incisive football, particularly down the left and into the feet of Brown, but had looked susceptible at the back to Leiston's pressure

It was Brown that almost handed the away side the lead once more just three minutes into the second half as Shergill's low cross was turned narrowly wide of goal by the striker at the near post

Barnes was the first player to enter the referee's notebook on fifty-two minutes as he brought down Shergill on the Hednesford left to earn himself a yellow card from Mr Farmer

The same player was involved at the other end of the pitch three minutes later as he cut in from the right but lifted his shot on the run well over Wycherley's crossbar

The Pitmen made a double change just after the hour mark as Flanagan was replaced by Jack Chambers in the centre of midfield and Shergill came off in favour of fellow teenager Joe Morley after playing his first sixty minutes of football this season

Wycherley was again the Pitmen's saviour on sixty-seven minutes as he made another outstanding save to add to his repertoire; Todd Parker brought down Barnes just outside the penalty area and allowed Siju Odelusi to curl in a free-kick from a tight angle that was brilliantly tipped away by Wycherley at his far post

Tilt had been feeding off scraps so far in the game, coming in off both flanks to make an impact on the team. Brown presented him with a great opportunity to grab his second goal of the season three minutes later as he pulled the ball back to Tilt, who was just inside the Leiston penalty area. However, his effort was deflected wide of goal by the backtracking Hunter

Lycett's inswinging corner kick was aimed at Rowley at the far post but drifted all the way out to Brown, who made a late run to the far post but shanked his shot high over the crossbar from a tight angle

Richards got on the end of a flowing Hednesford move from left to right with twelve minutes remaining before being brought down by Odelusi. Chambers took the resultant free-kick but curled his low shot around the Leiston wall and just wide of Donkin's right-hand post

However, despite the Pitmen's promising build-up play and possession, their familiar failings in keeping the ball came back to haunt them with eight minutes remaining as Morley's attempts to over-play in midfield saw him lose the ball cheaply to Quantrell, whose fine threaded ball found Davies racing away down the centre of the pitch. The striker did well to turn past the flat-footed Ison and cooly slot the ball beyond the reach of Wycherley from fifteen yards out

Now chasing the game, the visitors very nearly produced an immediate response on eighty-five minutes as Chambers won a free-kick just outside the penalty area after being brought down by the ubiquitous Barnes. Richards took the resultant free-kick but clattered the crossbar with his curling effort over the Leiston wall

Eagle was booked for the hosts for an accumulation of fouls in midfield for the hosts before the Pitmen made their final chan get of the afternoon with three minutes left as on-loan Niall Rooney came on in place of Richards to add to the attacking ranks

With a minute of the game remaining, Ison was played into space down the left for the Pitmen by Lycett's pass, skipping away from Hutchings and crossing for Tilt, whose clever play kept the ball rolling at the far post before seeing his low shot blocked by a combination of Donkin and Saunders. The ball fell to Chambers, whose follow-up shot was blocked by Odelusi and eventually cleared away from Tilt by Saunders once more

There was still time for Davies to receive a booking for another foul to stop the Pitmen from restarting the game quickly, but the visitors could not muster a leveller in the five minutes of added time as Leiston hung on for three points that lifts them up to sixth place in the table, whilst the Pitmen drop to fourth. They will get a chance to  shake off this first league defeat of the new campaign when they make the short journey down the M5 to face Bromsgrove Sporting on Tuesday night

Leiston: Donkin, Eaton-Collins, Saunders, Eagle , Odelusi, Hutchings ©, Barnes ▆ (Ocran 88), Quantrell, Davies , Hunter, Mills (Bailey-Dennis 90)     Subs Unused: Goldbold

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Mendez-Jones, Lycett, Rowley , Ison, Richards © (Rooney 87), Tilt, Parker, A. Brown, Flanagan (Chambers 61), Shergill (Morley 61)     Subs Unused: Bailey, Wollaston