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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hednesford Town

Rodgers (14), Glover (23), Thorley (84)

Sutton Coldfield Town

(2) 3

(0) 0



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Tyler Lyttle


Coalville Town (A) 12.9.17

Seven crazy, crazy days at Keys Park - crazy even by the Pitmen's usual bi-polar standards - ends with Rob Smith and Larry Chambers making a triumphant return to Keys Park to oversee a morale-boosting win over struggling Sutton Coldfield Town


The previous week had been one of the most fast-paced in recent times at the club, with an F.A. Cup exit to Boston Town and a league defeat to Stourbridge the prelude to the events of Wednesday/Thursday, as Neil Tooth was dismissed as manager and replaced by the returning duo of Smith and Chambers. Smith went about his business quickly, bringing in Mark Swann as the first-team coach and releasing Kris Taylor. He also brought in two new faces ahead of the game, with Joe Fitzpatrick following Smith from AFC Telford United and Irish U19 International Conor Levingston on a month's loan from Wolves. Joe Ballinger returned to the side in place of Lewis Wright, with Matt Martin coming in for his debut in place of Alex Melbourne. Fitzpatrick replaced the departed Taylor, whilst Danny Glover was restored to the starting line-up alongside Luke Rodgers up front


Sutton Coldfield had started the season in a similar vein to the way they had finished the last - inconsistent and struggling towards the foot of the table. Manager Richard Sneekes had lost striker Niall Flint recently to league rivals Matlock Town and had moved to fill the void by making the major signing of former Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County striker Marcus Tudgay overnight. Tudgay went straight into the side, playing up front alongside former Hednesford striker Gurjit Singh


Looking more balanced than in recent games, the Pitmen were a little wobbly in the opening exchanges with a number of misplaced passes allowing Sutton Coldfield to push forwards as former Telford manager Smith struggled to get his message across to his new side


Gradually, however, the Pitmen started to take control of proceedings with Martin doing well down the left on nine minutes and sending over a dangerous cross that just missed the heads of both Rodgers and Glover


A powerful header of Ballinger two minutes later just cleared the crossbar, rising highest to reach a James Lawrie corner kick and head narrowly over from only six yards out


The Pitmen's pressure told on fourteen minutes, as former Royals striker Rodgers finally broke his duck for the season after a superb move from their own half opened Sutton up; skipper Tom Thorley did well to win the ball and play a superb through to Glover, who in turn played Rodgers in behind the Sutton defence. The veteran striker took his time to size up his options, before rifling a shot beyond the reach of Mason Springthorpe in the Sutton goal and into the net via a deflection off the post


Neat interplay involving Rodgers and Glover five minutes later saw the roles reversed as Rodgers sent Glover away on goal, only for Aaron Birch to deny Glover a certain goal with a smothering block


Two minutes later, Glover grabbed his third goal of the season to double the Pitmen's advantage as James Lawrie got in behind the Sutton defence down the right and pulled the ball back into the path of Glover, who finished smartly from ten yards out


Sutton mustered a response through Singh on the half hour, picking up the ball from deep and driving towards the penalty area but his shot lacked power and was easily fielded by Hednesford keeper James Wren


Springthorpe was in action for Sutton once again on thirty-eight minutes, making a good save to palm away Glover's driven shot from goal and concede a corner. From the resultant kick from Lawrie, Ballinger was booked for a late tackle as he challenged for the ball


Wren frustrated Singh once more just before the half time break, making a great save low down to his right to deny the former Kidderminster man a certain goal at the far post by turning the ball away with his arm


There was a half-time change for the Pitmen up front, as goalscorer Rodgers was replaced by Jordan Nadat with the veteran struggling for fitness and game time


Sutton came out with purpose at the start if the second half, forcing a series of corner kicks and free kicks without any real success. The Pitmen themselves created openings through set-pieces, also without any real penetration, as Thorley went closest on fifty-five minutes with a dipping shot that was easily saved by Springthorpe


Martin blotted his copybook on the hour mark in an otherwise solid debut by finding his name in the book after a late challenge on midfielder Nehemiah Zazi

The frustrated figure of Nadat followed Ballinger and Martin into the referee's book on sixty-nine minutes, as he is booked for persistent fouling after being caught offside four times in the opening twenty-five minutes of the half

Young Irish midfielder Levingston was handed a swift debut by Smith on seventy-one minutes, coming on for Lawrie in midfield alongside the excellent Thorley

The Pitmen made their final change of the afternoon on seventy-six minutes with youngster Chekaine Steele coming on for his debut in place of Martin, who had been treated for an injury minutes earlier


A neat piece of play down the Hednesford right on seventy-seven minutes saw the impressive Tyler Lyttle get in down the wing and send over a tempting cross that somehow missed everyone and drifted out of play


A lofted free-kick from the industrious Fitzpatrick almost presented Ben Bailey with a clear header on goal on seventy-nine minutes, but the ball in was slightly too high for the centre back to get to and the chance was gone


The Pitmen wrapped up all three points with six minutes to go, with Glover involved once more involved in the goal. A glorious slide-rule pass from Glover found Nadat in space in behind the Sutton defence, with Nadat showing good composure to hold the ball and pick out Thorley at the far post to cap a fine performance by tapping home a third goal


There was still time for Glover to test Springthorpe a final time on eighty-seven minutes, stinging the hands of the Sutton keeper with a low drive that was turned away


Hednesford players and supporters will have left the ground feeling a lot better than in recent games, although tougher tests will no doubt emerge in the next few weeks as Smith and Chambers feel their way back into the club. But, as a starting point, it's a not bad - three points, three goals and a clean sheet. Next up - in-form Coalville Town on Tuesday night at Owen Street


Hednesford Town: Wren, Lyttle, Ballinger , Bailey, Oji, Fitzpatrick, Lawrie (Levingston 71), Thorley ©, Glover, Rodgers (Nadat 45 ), M. Martin (Steele 76)      Subs Unused: Melbourne, Wright


Sutton Coldfield Town: Springthorpe, Smikle, Kelly (Mason 45), Birch ©, Morrison-Derbyshire, Barnes, Zazi, Webb, Tudgay, Singh (Lavell-Moore 70), Moseley      Subs Unused: Cleet, McMillan, Vincent 

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