Pre-Season Friendly

Hednesford Town

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Mansfield Town

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Stefan Galinski

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AFC Wulfrunians (A) 17.7.18

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The Pitmen remain unbeaten in their first to pre-season games today, courtesy of a hard-fought - and a little feisty - performance against a strong Mansfield Town side at a sun-drenched Keys Park


Monday night's 4-0 win over Heath Hayes had started the pre-season schedule well, with a number of new players impressing on top of a large number of triallists looking to earn themselves a deal with the club. Following Monday's win, the Pitmen had confirmed the signings of Stefan Galinski and Tom Hill, who both contributed in the win at the Coppice Ground


Mansfield arrived at Keys Park having split their squad across two games, with the other half playing at the same time at Retford United. Assistant manager Ben Futcher - taking the Stags for this game whilst manager David Flitcroft oversaw the Retford game - had first-teamers Conrad Logan, Malvind Benning, Hayden White, Matt Preston, Jacob Mellis, Otis Khan, Alex MacDonald, CJ Hamilton, Craig Davies and on-loan Tyler Walker all starting the game in a strong-looking line-up


Mansfield started on the front foot, with Hamilton making a fine run down the wing and crossing into the danger zone, requiring a block from newly-appointed club captain Galinski


Charlie Gatter and Galinski have already demonstrated a pleasing understanding at centre-back, and showed more evidence of a real solidity with a fine job on young striker Walker through the opening stages, snuffing out the threat of him and the other Mansfield attacking players



Despite the game being a friendly, it was to be anything but in certain places as tackles flew in from both sides. the referee had a busier than expected afternoon, pulling up players on both sides for over-exuberant tackles and general aggression, particularly in midfield


The best chance of the game fell to Walker on eighteen minutes, as sloppy play in midfield from Craddock gifted the ball to the opposition. A great cross from Mansfield skipper MacDonald found Walker, whose header goalwards just missed James Wren's left-hand post


A neat passage of play from the Pitmen on twenty-six minutes saw Joe Fitzpatrick test Logan in the Mansfield goal, firing in a long-range effort that the experienced stopper turned over the crossbar for a Hednesford corner


A minute later, the Pitmen had a glorious chance to open the scoring through Hill, as triallist no. 11's deep cross was diverted across goal by a Mansfield defender and into the path of Hill. The ball dropped kindly to the striker, whose volley was turned onto the post by the body of Logan from six yards out


Josh Craddock was given a stern talking-to by the referee on the half-hour mark after one meaty challenge too many in midfield as the players took a well-earned drink break on a very hot afternoon in South Staffordshire


Triallist no. 7 made a marauding run through the Mansfield defence two minutes later, getting on the end of a through ball from Hill but striking weakly at Logan from the edge of the penalty area


Mansfield responded three minutes later with clever link-up play from White and Hamilton, culminating in White's dangerous cross being cut out by Wren


The first half ended with something you don't see very often in a pre-season friendly - a run of yellow cards. Khan was booked for the visitors for a foul on Fox, followed a few moments later with a caution for Craddock after one foul too many from the central midfielder


Half-time saw the usual raft of changes expected in early pre-season games, with the Pitmen bringing on three triallists at the break as well as Reece King and Jed Davies


Mansfield started the second period on the front foot, playing neat, one-touch football in and around the Hednesford penalty area as they looked to find a way through the impressive home back-line. Walker - on loan from Nottingham Forest - curled a shot just wide of Wren's far post on forty-nine minutes after a great cross from Benning had been headed into his path. A minute earlier, Hill had done well to out-jump the Mansfield defence and head a cross onto the roof of the Mansfield net


Another quick-footed passage of play from Mansfield created an opening for Hamilton forty-nine minutes, as Walker's driven ball across the face of the Hednesford goal found the winger, whose weak sidefooted effort somehow bobbled wide of goal from close-range


A long ball forwards from Logan on fifty-five minutes  almost caught the Pitmen out, as Khan did well to latch onto the bouncing ball and lob over the head of Wren, but watch as his effort drifted wide of the post


The fiery nature of the game resurfaced on fifty-six minutes, as a bout of handbags broke out in midfield following a tackle from Davies on MacDonald. The Mansfield skipper reacted angrily to Davies' challenge and appeared to headbutt the Hednesford playmaker in the following melee. Both players were shown a yellow card for their piece in the action


Sam Griffiths was the next man on the pitch for the Pitmen on sixty-three minutes, replacing Matt Curley at left-back. after Curley himself had stepped across the back-line to cover for left-back Nathan Fox being taken off at half-time


Five minutes later, the Pitmen made two further substitutions, with two more triallists entering the fray as Fitzpatrick and Hill were given a well-earned rest by Rob Smith


The constant changes to the personnel were having an effect on the quality of football on the pitch, with Hednesford failing to create many chances in the final twenty minutes. Wren made a fine save on seventy-one minutes to deny Khan after a fine run from the midfielder


With four minutes remaining, Mellis had the final effort of the afternoon as his shot from a Mansfield free-kick was well held by Wren in the centre of his six-yard box


A good work-out for both sides in the sunshine, with the Pitmen particularly pleased with their defensive solidity in their first two games. The real work starts for Smith and Larry Chambers this week to build on this with reinforcements in attacking positions as they face AFC Wulfrunians on Tuesday night and Rugby Town at Keys Park next weekend

Hednesford Town: Wren, Curley (Griffiths 63), Fox (Triallist no. 14 - 45), Fitzpatrick (Triallist no.15 - 68), Galinski ©, Gatter, Triallist no. 7 (Davies 45 ), Craddock ▆ (King 45), Hill (Triallist no. 20 - 68), Hollis (Triallist no. 18 - 45), Triallist no.11 (Triallist no. 19 - 45). Unused Subs: Turner


Mansfield Town: Logan, White, Cameron (Wilder 61), Preston, Benning, Hamilton, MacDonald © , Mellis, Khan, Walker, Davies. Unused Sub: Hakeem


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