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Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Hednesford Town

Parker (14), Ruffles (74) (OG)

Lowestoft Town

(1) 2

(0) 0



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Chay Tilt

 W D D D L D W L L W


Hitchin Town (H) 9.10.21

Hednesford return to winning ways at a drizzle Keys Park this afternoon as a goal in each half is enough to see off the tame challenge of struggling Lowestoft Town

Successive 2-1 defeats in the past week had checked the Pitmen's progress in the league and dropped them back into the play-off pack ahead of today's game. Manager Keenen Meakin-Richards was forced into one change to the side that had been edged out at Bromsgrove Sporting in midweek as skipper Courtney Richards was ruled out after suffering a concussion at the Victoria Ground and was replaced by Reece Flanagan, who also assumed the captaincy from Richards

Lowestoft made their longest trip of the season to South Staffordshire off the back of only their second win of the season so far, a 2-0 win over Starford Town last Saturday. Manager Jamie Golbold made three changes to his side as Harry Knights, Ryan Hawkins and Samson Bello replaced Travis Cole, Tommy Smith and Jake Reed. Three changes became four just before kick-off as regular goalkeeper Luis Tibbles pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced by Warren Burwood

The rain continued to fall consistently across Hednesford from early on in the day and had left the Keys Park pitch slick and allowed the ball to run quickly across it. A quick break from the Pitmen saw them create a superb opening in the fourth minute of the game as Chay Tilt's fine threaded ball put Andre Brown clear of the Lowestoft defence, only for Burwood to make the parry at his near post. The rebound fell to the incoming Andre Landell, who could not keep his first-time shot down as he lifted the ball over the crossbar from twelve yards out

Neat approach play from the visitors in the seventh minute saw Sam Johnson win a free-kick inches away from the corner of the Hednesford penalty area following a foul from Landell. However, skipper Ryan Jarvis wasted a good opening for Lowestoft by drilling his angled free-kick straight into the Hednesford wall before the Pitmen final saw the rebounded ball out for a goal kick

Carter Lycett was harshly adjudged to be offside by the assistant on the Wimblebury side in the tenth minute of the game as a flowing move from the Pitmen saw Tilt cross from right to left to find the youngster, who appeared at first glance to come from behind Dylan Ruffles to meet the ball

The Pitmen continued to have the better of the play and finally made their pressure count with the game's opening goal in the fourteenth minute; Joshveer Shergill's ball into the path of Landell saw the striker turn past two challenges just outside the Lowestoft box and feed the ball out to Parker, who made a run into the right-hand corner of the penalty area to confidently sidefoot the ball past the onrushing Burwood and into the far corner of the net for his first-ever senior goal

There was a half-hearted appeal for a penalty kick from the hosts two minutes later as Tilt took a tumble in the area under pressure from Johnson, but referee Mr Pratt was unimpressed and the game continued

A short pass from Shergill almost gifted Lowestoft a chance on twenty minutes as his lax ball back towards Andy Wycherley was seized upon by Bello, whose pull-back to Owen Murphy saw the Lowestoft man's goalbound shot blocked by the legs of Kyle Rowley. The ball was not cleared by the Pitmen, culminating in a foul by Landell on Jarvis thirty yards from goal. Louis McIntosh tried his luck from the resultant free-kick but lifted his shot high over the crossbar

With only twenty-five minutes of the game gone, the Pitmen made an impromptu substitution as Shergill seemed surprised to see his number go up as he was replaced by fellow teenager Joe Morley. The former Leeds United youngster did not appear injured and this seemed to be a tactical move by the home side

Lowestoft were having their best spell of the game but were struggling to create chances of any note, with Harry Knights tamely heading a deep Jarvis free-kick wide of goal from ten yards out on twenty-seven minutes

On thirty-one minutes, Hawkins was played through on goal by a fine slide-rule pass from Murphy, only for the midfielder to horribly drag his shot wide of goal as Rowley came across to close him down

The Pitmen were content to sit behind the ball and bide their time against what appeared to be a limited Lowestoft side who looked low on confidence and cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. Tilt was having a fine game stretching the legs of full-back Johnson, whilst Parker was having his best game for the club in a short while after some muted performances from the youngster in recent games

Lowestoft were forced into an injury-related change on thirty-seven minutes as McIntosh limped off after a spell of treatment and was replaced by Jay Barbor out on the left flank

A good move down the right flank from the Pitmen on forty-one minutes saw Tilt and Landell combine to play Brown in once more, turning Tai Fleming well but pulling his low shot across the face of goal and wide from twelve yards out

A quick break from Johnson a minute later played Keiron Higgs into space, with the striker teeing up Hawkins on the edge of the penalty area. Hos shot, however, lacked direction and drifted wide of Wycherley's right-hand post

In the final minute of the first half, Lewis Ison's long throw dropped to Flanagan in space, but the former Walsall man shot well wide of goal with a wild effort at goal from twenty yards out

The hosts had enjoyed plenty of possession during the first forty-five minutes but had struggled to capitalise on their early goal by sitting back and inviting a limited Lowestoft side to come at them for the remainder of the half. Half-time saw Callam Mendez-Jones replaced as he had suffered a reoccurrence of the groin injury that had kept him out previously, with club great Ben Bailey replacing in in a move that saw Ison moved out to right-back at the start of the second half

The Pitmen played on the front foot a little more at the start of the second half as they looked for the second goal that would most likely kill the game off as a contest. Rowley headed tamely wide at the far post on forty-nine minutes as Flanagan's deep free-kick from near the halfway line had dropped to his former Walsall team-mate

A minute later, auxiliary full-back Ison saw his run and shot deflected just wide of goal by a block from Fleming for a Hednesford corner kick, which led to successive flag kicks for Flanagan, the second only just out of reach of Brown at the far post

Lowestoft continued to look fairly impotent in the final third of the pitch, with Hawkins hitting a firm low shot at goal on fifty-four minutes from twenty yards out that was easily saved by the under-worked Wycherley

On the hour mark, another deep Flanagan corner kick found Brown once more just inside the Lowestoft six-yard box, only for his header towards goal to be smuggled away by the visiting defence

Good build-up play from the Pitmen on sixty-seven minutes later saw Flanagan charge towards the Lowestoft penalty area and feed the ball to the excellent Tilt, lurking to the right of the Lowestoft box. The winger jinked his way past Johnson but got his angles all wrong with his left-footed curling shot that was deflected wide of the far post

The resultant corner kick from Flanagan was partially cleared as far as Tilt, who played a one-two with Rowley before teeing up the defender for a cross that Flanagan got on the end of but saw his shot blocked. Ison followed the ball up but lashed his shot well wide from the edge of the penalty area

Man of the match Tilt was involved again for the hosts as they finally doubled their advantage with sixteen minutes of the game remaining; Parker's fine, incisive pass from inside his own half sent the winger scampering away down the right, in behind Johnson once more. His outswinging cross was too hot for Burwood to handle, with the deputy stopper making a complete hash of the cross and allowing it to squirm under his body. The incoming Ruffles - looking to stop Morley from getting on the end of the cross - could only watch in horror as the ball bounced off his knee and rolled into the empty net from a couple of yards out

With twelve minutes remaining, the Pitmen made their final substitution of the game as Solihull Moors loanee striker Niall Rooney came on for the final minutes of the game in place of the hardworking Brown

With the Pitmen on top and Lowestoft seemingly resigned to their fate with nothing to offer going forwards, the final ten minutes of the game resembled a training game as both sides simply played out time, just as the drizzly rain stopped and the skies started to brighten, in time for the supporters' trip home. In the final minute of the game, great wing play from Morley saw him jink his way past Ruffles and send over a fine cross for Rooney, who could only head the ball over the crossbar from close-range after getting his head underneath the cross

A welcome three points for the hosts and a thoroughly deserved win that moves them back up into the top three in the Southern Premier League Central table in the process. Next weekend sees the Pitmen at home once more as they face another side struggling towards the foot of the table in the form of Hitchin Town

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Mendez-Jones (Bailey 45), Shergill (Morley 25), Rowley, Ison, Flanagan ©, Tilt, Parker, A. Brown (Rooney 78), Landell, Lycett     Subs Unused: Chambers, J. Brown

Lowestoft Town: Burwood, Ruffles, Johnson, Jarvis ©, Fleming, Knights, Hawkins (Harvey 75), Murphy, Bello (Wilkinson 75), Higgs, McIntosh (Barbor 37)       Subs Unused: Tann, Tibbles


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