4.12.2021

Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Richards (2) (penalty), Endall (20), (22), Parker (90)

Leiston

(3) 4

(0) 0

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MoTM

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383

Todd Parker

D D W L L L L D L W

 

Lowestoft Town (A) 11.11.21

The Pitmen finally end their winless run of results with a comprehensive four-goal victory over Leiston this afternoon at the PRG Stadium @ Keys Park, picking up a first win since 23rd October to move them back into the top ten of the Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Last week had seen Hednesford on the road twice in four days, picking up a point at Nuneaton Borough last Saturday before being handed a heavy defeat at Peterborough Sports in midweek. Kyle Rowley's red card in the Sports game was to be his final act as a Hednesford player, with the defender and midfielder Aram Soleman both culled by manager Keenen Meakin-Richards. The pair had been replaced in the squad by Nuneaton's teenage left-back Tom Armitage, who was joined by the experienced Martin Riley at the club after he had made the short switch from Tamworth. Armitage was one of four changes to the side for today's return home as he came in for the now-departed Rowley, whilst George Cater made his first start in over three months as he replaced Chay Tilt. Josh Endall returned to the side as he came in for Hereford loanee Patrick Fini, with the final change at number ten, as Andre Landell came back into the side of Todd Parker. This decision was to be reversed just before kick-off, however, as Landell pulled up in the warm-up and Parker was re-introduced to the XI

Leiston made their first-ever trip to South Staffordshire off the back of an F.A. Trophy drubbing at Bishop's Stortford last weekend, making it back-to-back defeats for Darren Eadie's men following a 4-1 defeat at Coalville Town the previous week. Eadie made two changes to his side for today's game as he welcomed back Will Davies up front, replacing Dylan Switters and Ben Hunter came back into the side in place of Finlay Barnes

On another cold and blustery winter afternoon, the Pitmen handed their hardy supporters some early cheer as they took the lead with the first opening of the game; Riley O'Sullivan broke clear of the Leiston defence as he latched on to a lofted pass from Parker and took the ball into the penalty area, only to be sent sprawling by Joe Marsden as he shaped to shoot. The hosts were awarded a penalty kick but Marsden somehow avoided further punishment, despite denying the striker a clear chance at goal. Midfield man Courtney Richards placed the ball on the spot and confidently fired past goalkeeper Sam Donkin from twelve yards to give the home side an early lead

The hosts were buoyed by their early goal and continued to press against a Leiston side that looked limited in attack and lacking in confidence at the back. Parker did well to pick the pocket of Adam Mills in the eighth minute and sent Cater away down the right; he played Wes Atkinson into space on the overlap, only for the right-back's cross to evade all of the men in white who were entering the Leiston six-yard box

Four minutes later, Cater was involved again as Lewis Ison played the winger into space down the right. He shimmied his way past skipper Seb Dunbar but again lacked the composure with his final ball and could only stab his cross straight into the arms of Donkin

Leiston's first real sight at goal came in the fifteenth minute after Ben Bailey had fouled Davies forty yards from goal, prompting defender Oluwasijoula Odelusi to take the resultant free-kick, hammering the ball at goal and seeing his effort take a nick off the Hednesford wall before drifting just over the crossbar for a Leiston corner kick

The Pitmen struggled to clear their lines from the resultant corner kick and on-loan Oliver Basey was forced into a superb flying save to keep his side ahead as the ball was worked back to the corner taker Marsden, whose dipping half volley from thirty yards out was pushed away by Basey for another corner kick

The Pitmen responded with three successive corner kicks as they ramped up the pressure on the Leiston defence, eventually finding a way through in the twentieth minute to double their lead; Lycett's corner kick was cleared by the Leiston defence and back into the path of the youngster. He sent over another fine inswinging cross to the near post, where 6ft 5" Endall was on hand to head home from close-range with a looping effort past Donkin; it was the former Redditch and Stafford Rangers man's first goal for the club since his recent switch to the club

Two minutes later, Endall made it 3-0 to the Pitmen as O'Sullivan won a free-kick out on the right flank after a coming-together with Dunbar; Lycett was again the supplier, whipping in a free-kick that caught the Leiston defence ball-watching. Endall reacted quickest to the ball and found himself completely unmarked in the six-yard box, turning the ball past Donkin from a couple of yards out. there were muted calls for offside against Endall, but the goal stood as the centre-back had come from behind two dallying Leiston defenders to reach the ball first

Another Lycett corner on twenty-six minutes almost led to a fourth Hednesford goal of the afternoon as his low corner into the near post was glanced narrowly wide by the head of Ison

Davies somehow avoided a yellow card for the visitors two minutes later as he floored Richards in the centre circle after raising his arm to the Hednesford goalscorer. Referee Mr Wesson gave the striker a dressing-down but stopped short of showing him a yellow card for the offence

The away side were forced into an early substitution on thirty-two minutes as defender Oliver Saunders was was forced off due to injury and was replaced by Switters

Davies was denied a chance to get the visitors back into the game two minutes later as he broke quickly in behind the Hednesford defence to get onto a pass from Dunbar, only for an offside flag from the assistant on the main stand side to deny him a clear run at goal

Endall was in the mood for a hat-trick and went forward looking to get on the end of another Lycett delivery on thirty-eight minutes as the Pitmen were awarded another free kick on the right flank. On this occasion, Endall showed a little too much desire to get to the ball and fouled Odelusi as the pair challenged for the cross, earning Leiston a free-kick in their own six-yard box

With four minutes of the first half remaining, the Pitmen felt that they had a shout for another penalty kick as Lycett's outswinging corner kick was headed goalwards by O'Sullivan, who claimed that his goalbound effort had hit the arm of Dunbar on its way towards goal. Mr Wesson took a long, hard look at the play but waved away the protects as Leiston cleared their lines

Leiston finished the half strongly with three corner kicks of their own, but found the excellent Bailey at his best, heading away the danger on two occasions as the Pitmen held firm

It had been an excellent first-half display from the hosts, who had shown a rare killer instinct in front of goal with three very different strikes. It had been noted that their more direct and urgent approach to getting the ball forwards - something that had been lacking for much of the season - had been a major factor in them grabbing these first-half goals, rather than the brand of patient, passing football witnessed for much of the first three months of the campaign

the Pitmen started the second half with purpose once more and Parker went close to adding a fourth goal straight from the restart as he made a driving run into the Leiston half before drilling his twenty-five yard shot just wide of Donkin's left-hand post

Two minutes later, Cater - still on the lookout for his first-ever competitive goal for the Pitmen - collected another fine Parker pass just outside the Leiston penalty area but also fired narrowly wide of the post with a low shot

Leiston survived this early scare and came back into contention with their best spell of the game so far, keeping possession well and forcing the Pitmen back into their own third. Excellent last-ditch defending from the hosts on fifty-two minutes saw both Odelusi and Dunbar denied by timely clearances out of the six-yard box by Bailey and Atkinson as the Pitmen closed down the space inside their own penalty area and denied Leiston space to shoot

A Marsden corner kick led to a good chance for Mills on fifty-five minutes as the home side struggled to clear their lines; the ball dropped to Mills, whose dipping volley was cleared off the line by Lycett before Mills skied his rebound over the crossbar

 

Slack play from the Pitmen saw them play their way into trouble in their own third on fifty-eight minutes as Endall scuffed his clearance straight to Marsden, who cut inside and tried his luck with a curling shot from the corner of the box, prompting another flying save from Basey to turn the ball over the bar

The Pitmen's first substitution of the afternoon came shortly after the hour mark as Cater's return to the starting XI was brought to an end as Tilt came on down the right in his place

A minute later, Marsden once again tested the reflexes of Basey as he drifted in from the right flank and past Armitage before firing in a low shot from twenty yards out that Basey got down to at his near post

On sixty-six minutes, Lycett's deep corner kick sailed over the heads of everyone in the Leiston penalty area, eventually falling to Tilt on the right. The substitute took a touch but lashed his shot wight and wide of the target with a wild effort

Tilt and Atkinson linked up well down the right two minutes later to create space in behind Switters, only for Atkinson's teasing cross towards O'Sullivan to be cleared by Odelsui before the striker could turn the ball home from a couple of yards out

Basey had impressed on his home debut, having made some important stops at crucial times in the game. He was called upon to make an easier stop on seventy-three minutes as he fielded a hopeful long-range effort from Davies

With twenty minutes remaining, Parker almost took advantage of a mistake from Donkin as the goalkeeper made a hash of his clearance and struck the midfielder as he closed the ball down. Fortunately for Donkin, the ball rebounded into the path of the covering Switters rather than rolling into the net

Hednesford's second change of the game came with fifteen minutes remaining as Fini was handed his home debut since his temporary switch from Hereford last week as he replaced Lycett. This saw Armitage move further forwards and Fini slot in at left-back

There were more loud calls for a penalty kick from the Keys Park crowd on seventy-eight minutes as Parker's free-kick from the left was aimed at Bailey, who appeared to be pulled down in the six-yard box by a Davies headlock. Mr Wesson once again took a moment to think about his decision but waved away the strong Hednesford protests

Tilt picked up the Pitmen's only yellow card of the afternoon with ten minutes remaining as he was penalised by Mr Wesson for a blatant trip on Switters down the Leiston left

From the resultant Odelusi free-kick, George Quantrell whipped in a cross to the Hednesford penalty area and found Davies, who took a touch to take the ball away from Bailey but saw Basey conjure up a brilliant one-handed stop at his near post to turn the striker's goalbound shot away from the target

With seven minutes of the game remaining as Leiston starting to tire, the Pitmen made their final change of the game as Shaquille Master replaced the hard-working O'Sullivan up front, prompting generous applause from all corners of the ground for the young striker

Odelusi was booked for the visitors with three minutes remaining as he crudely brought Master down thirty yards from goal to stop the tricky winger from getting past him

In the second minute of added time, the excellent Parker put a gloss finish on the afternoon with a well-earned fourth goal for the Pitmen. Picking the ball up twenty-five yards from goal, Parker picked the pocket of the dawdling Switters and tried his luck from twenty-five yards out with a low, curling effort that appeared to take a nick off Odelusi's heel and unsight Donkin as it sailed past the static stopper and into the bottom corner of the net for 4-0

An enjoyable afternoon for all of a Hednesford persuasion as their side finally halted their poor run of recent results, moving them into ninth place in the league table in the process. The Pitmen have a well-earned break this coming week before they make the long journey down to Suffolk to face struggling Lowestoft Town, looking to complete their first league double of the season over their eighteenth-placed opponents

Hednesford Town: Basey, Atkinson, Armitage, Bailey ©, Endall, Richards, Cater (Tilt 61 ), Ison, O'Sullivan (Master 83), Parker, Lycett (Fini 75)      Sub Unused: Clarkson

Leiston: Donkin, Marsden, Dunbar ©, Saunders (Switters 32), Odelusi , Hutchings, Ocran, Quantrell, Davies, Hunter (Barnes 61), Mills       Sub Unused: Eagle

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