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Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

St. Ives Town

Cross (26), Hottor (45)

Hednesford Town

Tilt (29), (81), Master (82), O'Sullivan (90)

(2) 2

(1) 4



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Chay Tilt

 D L D W L L W D D W


Peterborough Sports (H) 30.10.21

Hednesford left it late to record only their second win in the last six games this afternoon, scoring three goals in the last ten minutes to come from behind and defeat struggling hosts St. Ives Town at Westwood Road


Manager Keenen Meakin-Richards had savaged his team after last week’s 2-2 draw at home to Redditch mad promised changes to the personnel ahead of today’s trip to Cambridgeshire. Three players had arrived during the week in the forms of defender Josh Endall, midfielder Aram Soleman and striker Riley O’Sullivan, with Endall and Soleman coming straight into the side as the two of three changes from the Redditch game, replacing Callam Mendez-Jones and Andre Landell respectively. The final change came in midfield as Courtney Richards replaced James Hill


St. Ives - sitting down in eighteenth place in the league table at the start of proceedings - had earned themselves a crucial three points in midweek with a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Hitchin Town and made one change to their side for today’s game as Liam Cross came into the side for Jack Snelus

The men in sky blue - looking for a response to last weekend's tame draw against Redditch - made a bright start to the game and had the better of the opening exchanges. Winger Chay Tilt was first to show his hand for the Pitmen in the fifth minute, drilling a shot well wide after good play from Todd Parker had picked the player out to the right-hand side of the St. Ives penalty area

Three minutes later, left-back Carter Lycett also had a good chance to open the scoring as he made a darting run into the St. Ives box to get on the end of Shaquille Master's delightful through ball but lashed his low shot wide of the near post from fifteen yards out with an angled drive

Debutant Soleman - a midweek signing from Vanarama National League North side Guiseley - was looking to impress in the advanced midfield role he had been handed and went close to a debut strike in the twelfth minute; Master and Parker linked up down the left wing to pick out the former West Brom youngster, whose left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by former AFC Rushden & Diamonds stopper Ben Heath, who held the ball at the second attempt

Soleman made another fine run in behind the St. Ives defence once more in the fifteenth minute, running past Ed Hottor to get on the end of Wes Atkinson's ball down the line. The St. Ives midfielder was beaten by the midfielder's skill and culminated in him clattering into the debutant with a crude lunge, earning him a yellow card from referee Ms Heaslip

Lycett took the resultant free-kick and swung it into the box, only for the ball to drift harmlessly over Heath's goal as the defender got a little too much behind his ball in

Another flowing move from the Pitmen involving Endall and Lycett on eighteen minutes saw the left-back exchange passes with Andre Brown and drift across the field before supplying Tilt with the ball. The right-winger hit a first-time shot across the face of the St. Ives goal but lacked direction with his effort and drilled it well wide

The hosts finally got a sight at goal two minutes later as Heath's long ball into the penalty area was not cleared fully by the visiting defence, with the ball finally dropping at the feet of Michael Richens after a bout of head tennis. The former Kettering man struck a firm low shot from twenty-five yards out that had Jono Brown beaten, but skipped inches wide of the stopper's right-hand post

Midway through the first half, Master tricked his way into the penalty area and played Tilt in behind full-back Cameron McWilliams; his low cross found Andre Brown standing eight yards out, but the big striker lifted his shot over the crossbar under pressure from veteran defender Brett Solkhon

The Pitmen were handed a glorious chance to turn their early domination of the game into an opening goal on twenty-four minutes as they were awarded a penalty kick; Master's attempted cross from the left side of the penalty area struck the hand of Solkhon, who can perhaps be a little aggrieved at the decision as he was not facing the ball when it struck his right hand. Nevertheless, Ms Heaslip awarded the away side a penalty, which skipper Richards stepped up to take but got a little too much on the kick and clattered the crossbar with his rising effort

The Pitmen’s penalty miss was to cost them dearly as the hosts took the lead just two minutes later with their first real foray into Hednesford territory; Urijah Gordon-Douglas made an enterprising run down the right-wing, teasing his way past Endall and crossing to the far post, where Jono Brown got in ahead of Wes Atkinson to palm the ball away - he could only parry the ball into the path of the incoming Cross, who struck a fine half-volley past the goalkeeper from twelve yards out and sent the ball into the far corner of the net to open the scoring

However, in a similar vein to the previous encounter between the two sides at Westwood Road back in early 2020, the Pitmen provided an immediate response with a leveller just before the half-hour mark. Andre Brown and Parker linked up well just inside the St. Ives half, with Parker's incisive pass sending Brown on his way into the opposition penalty area. The striker's attempted shot spooned up off the boot of Solkhon and dropped kindly into the path of the incoming Tilt, who toe-poked the ball past Heath from close-range

Richens had Jono Brown scrambling across his goal once more on thirty-five minutes as he let fly with another powerfully struck long-range effort that bounced once before skimming the outside of the goalkeeper's right-hand post

Tilt should have doubled his, and the Pitmen's advantage, three minutes later as a brilliantly flighted cross from Lycett out on the left once more was begging to be turned home by the arriving Tilt at the far post, only for the diminutive winger to somehow head over the crossbar from a couple of yards out

Another opportunistic long-range effort from the hosts fell at the feet of Cross on forty-two minutes as Dylan Williams' cross from the left was headed back across goal by Hottor, eventually dropping to the St. Ives goalscorer, whose angled drive flew high over the crossbar

The hosts stole into the lead once more, however, right on the stroke of half-time as Gordon-Douglas took advantage of some dithering defending from Lewis Ison to pick the defender's pocket down by the corner flag and cross low into the penalty area for Nabil Shariff, only for Endall's block tackle to clear the danger away from the striker. The ball landed at the feet of Hottor, whose shot from twenty yards out took a wicked deflection off the boot of Lycett, which did enough to beat Jono Brown once more

It was a bitter pill for the Pitmen to swallow after having much the better of the first period but nothing to show for it after yet more examples of poor defending undoing their good work going forwards

They were to be frustrated for long spells of the second half as the hosts soaked up more pressure from their visitors as they looked to protect their slender lead and three crucial points to move them away from the relegation trapdoor. They had the first sight at goal four minutes after the restart as a low cross from right-back Eniola Agemoh-Davies was hacked away by Ison from his near post to deny Shariff a tap-in

On fifty-three minutes, Parker sent Tilt away down the right flank, with the winger standing up a fine cross to the far post where Soleman met the ball with his head but glanced his effort from six yards out just wide of the post

Master - playing in a deeper, more central role at the start of the second half, drove his way deep into the St. Ives half three minutes later and exchanged passes with Soleman before playing Andre Brown in down the right. The striker took a tough but could only fire straight into the arms of Heath at his near post

On the hour mark, another one of the midweek signings in the form of O'Sullivan was brought on by the Pitmen to add a different option up front as he replaced the tireless Andre Brown

Lycett picked up a loose ball on the right for the Pitmern on sixty-three minutes and stepped inside Cross's challenge before attempting a curling shot from the corner of the penalty area that failed to trouble Heath

The Pitmen's second change of the afternoon came two minutes later as Reece Flanagan - so often used as an impact substitute this season - came on in place of the tiring Richards in the centre of midfield

A miscued volleyed pass from Richens four minutes later found its way through to Williams, who took a couple of touches as he made a move towards the Hednesford penalty area but pulled his right-footed effort wide of Brown's far post as Flanagan looked to close him down

Lycett's misplaced pass out of defence on seventy-two minutes was seized upon by Hottor in midfield, who held off Parker's challenge before letting fly from thirty yards out with an effort that was only a yard or so wide of the post

With fifteen minutes of a competitive game remaining, the Pitmen brought on top scorer Andre Landell for the remainder of the contest as he replaced new boy Soleman just behind O'Sullivan

This change seemed to give the Pitmen impetuous going forwards in what was left in the game as they pushed St. Ives back into their own third in search of a leveller once more. On seventy-eight minutes, Ison rose highest to meet Parker's inswinging free-kick but headed high over Heath's crossbar from eight yards out

The Pitmen continued to press and got their deserved equaliser with nine minutes remaining; Landell laid the ball off to Master on the edge of the penalty area, with Heath brilliantly pushing the midfielder's low goalbound shot away from goal with a strong parry. However, the ball ran kindly to Tilt, who arrived at the far post to turn the loose ball home and level matters for the second time in the afternoon

With their tails well and truly up, the away side turned the game on its lead within sixty seconds of the restart as Master made it 3-2 with his first Hednesford goal; Flanagan won possession back in midfield and played the ball into the path of Master out on the left flank. The midfield man made a powerful run into the penalty area before firing an unstoppable drive with the outside of his boot to beat Heath to send the ball nestling in the corner of the net via a touch off the far post

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the hosts, who had protected their lead for so long but had had no answer to the Pitmen's attacking threat in a crazy two-minute spell. They made a late triple attacking change in a bid to get themselves back into the game with Snelus, Nathan Hicks and Callum Milne all coming on for St. Ives

The hosts went close to equalising themselves with four minutes remaining as a quick break down the left wing saw the ball worked across the pitch to Cross by Snelus, whose shot beat Brown but was cleared off the line by Ison's covering challenge

With St. Ives pushing more men forwards in search of an equaliser, the Pitmen hit them with a late sucker punch in the first minute of added time as Parker's long punt forwards was chased down by substitute O'Sullivan, who showed great awareness to beat Solkhon to the bouncing ball before clipping it past the onrushing Heath and turn the ball home at the far post for a memorable debut goal from the former Coventry United man

It had been a breathless final ten minutes from the Pitmen, who had finally found their shooting boots promptly to record a welcome three points against another stubborn opponent that had looked for long periods of the game that they were to be taking the points away from the visitors. The new signings had added enthusiasm and verve to the Pitmen's ranks after some turgid home displays where they had looked one-paced and out of ideas in the final third of the pitch. There is still much to work on defensively but this is a welcome three points for the side, who take a week off league duty next Saturday when they face a daunting-looking F.A. Trophy tie at home to free-scoring league leaders Peterborough Sports

St. Ives Town: Heath, Agemoh-Davies (Hicks 87), McWilliams (Milne 87), Toseland, Solkhon © , Hottor , Gordon-Douglas (Snelus 87), Richens , Shariff, Williams , Cross ▆       Subs Unused: White, Nabi

Hednesford Town: J. Brown, Atkinson, Lycett, Endall, Ison, Richards © (Flanagan 74), Tilt, Parker , A. Brown (O' Sullivan 60), Soleman (Landell 79), Master ▆         Subs Unused: Rowley, Williams

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