31.7.2018

Pre-Season Friendly

Hednesford Town

Dodd (17), Davies (27), (80), Hill (52)

(2) 4

Wolverhampton Wanderers U23

Samuels (45)

(1) 1

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Attendance

326

MoTM

Jed Davies

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Tamworth (H) 2.8.18

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The Pitmen extended their unbeaten run in pre-season to seven games this evening, courtesy of a dominant performance over a disappointing Wolves U23 side at Keys Park

 

With management duo Rob Smith and Larry Chambers still away on holiday, interim manager Micky Moore selected an attacking-looking line-up for the visit of the Premier League new boys, with Tom Hill returning to the starting line-up after Dan Cockerline had started the previous games. Young goalkeeper Joe Williams was given another chance to impress between the posts after starting in the 0-0 draw at Brocton last week, with four triallists still looking to stake a claim for a deal with the club ahead of the new season

 

Wolves - back under the stewardship of former AFC Telford manager Rob Edwards - named a young, inexperienced side to make the short trip to Keys Park, with only a handful of regular starters in their U23 side named in their squad. Former Liverpool forward Paulo Alves - a recent addition - was named in the starting line-up, alongside England U18 striker Niall Ennis and Portuguese midfielder Boubacar Hanne

 

On a bright, pleasant summer evening, the Pitmen made a confident start to proceedings, with Matt Dodd impressing in the opening ten minutes as he linked up well with Jermain Hollis and Matt Curley down the right wing to give Andrew Harris-Sealey a hard time with his trickery. Hollis did well the wrestle the ball from Owen Otasowie on eight minutes, robbing the midfielder of the ball on the edge of his own penalty area before slipping the ball into the path of triallist no. 11, whose shot was deflected wide of goal

 

Young Danish keeper Andreas Sondergaard looked nervy in the opening exchanges, particularly with the ball at his feet, and it was an error from him that led to the Pitmen's opening goal on seventeen minutes. A heavy ball out from Sondergaard drifted past Harris-Sealey, allowing Dodd to nip in and steal the ball. Dodd drive into the penalty area unchallenged and slotted the ball past the onrushing Sondergaard from ten yards out to score his second goal in two games

 

Wolves responded three minutes later through Auston Samuels, who was played through on goal by Ennis after Matt Curley had been too casual in clearing his lines. Skipper Stefan Galinksi pulled the striker back by his shirt quite blatantly, earning himself a yellow card and presenting Wolves with a free kick in a dangerous position. However, Alves' resultant kick drifted just wide of Williams' right-hand post and into the Heath Hayes end

 

The Pitmen continued to have the better of the play, however, and more neat build-up play from Dodd and Hollis saw Dodd stand up a delightful cross to the far post which Sondergaard did well to claim under pressure from triallist no 11

 

Another tricky run from Dodd on twenty-seven minutes saw him scythed down by Harris-Sealey, handing the hosts a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Jed Davies swept the resultant kick into the penalty area and found the far corner of the net after Sondergaard allowed the ball to dip underneath his arms

 

Wolves continued to play their quick passing game, using their pace to good effect without really testing Williams in the Hednesford goal. They did, however, reduce arrears just before half-time through Samuels, who picked up a ball from Ennis and forced his way past Galinski before driving the ball home into the far corner of the net

 

Half-time saw two changes for the Pitmen, with Joe Fitzpatrick coming on for Hollis and Mikey Nelson - on trial from AFC Wulfrunians - replacing triallist no. 11

 

Wolves started the second half with more purpose through Harris-Sealey, whose run and cross to the far post on forty-seven minutes was controlled by Hanne, whose shot was well saved at his near post by Williams

 

Two minutes later, a great run and cross from Hanne found Ennis unmarked in the centre of goal, but he horribly miscued his shot and only succeeded in diverting the ball into the path of right-back Taylor Perry, whose shot flew high over the crossbar

 

Hill had grown into the game after a slow start, but the former Wolves trainee was to be rewarded with a goal on fifty-two minutes to restore Hednesford's two-goal lead. After seeing a close-range effort ruled out for offside a minute earlier, Hill was not to be denied with the next attack, as Wolves gave the ball away cheaply to Davies, whose deep cross was headed back across goal by Dodd; Hill reacted quickest to volley the ball onto the crossbar and over the line before Sondergaard could rescue the ball for his second goal of the pre-season programme

 

Ennis and Harris-Sealey linked up well for Wolves down the left-wing on fifty-seven minutes, with Ennis's cut-back well dealt with by Galinksi as he denied Alves a clear shot at goal

 

Nelson gave the Hednesford supporters a glimpse of his pace and trickery on fifty-nine minutes, making a driving run at the heart of the Wolves defence before dragging his long-range shot well wide of goal

 

The hosts made another double change to their side just after the hour mark, with triallist no. 17 coming on for Dodd down the right wing and Cockerline replacing Hill up front in a straight swap

 

Wolves were struggling to get out of their own half by this point, with the more experienced Hednesford players using their know-how to dominate possession and continue to create the better chances. Davies - having a wonderful game in an attacking midfield role - supplied a host of excellent free-kicks and corner kicks that no-one in white could take advantage of

 

A great cross from Fitzpatrick on seventy minutes found the head of Galinksi, who had stayed up following a corner kick, but the former Grantham man found Sondergaard behind his firm header towards goal

 

The nervy Sondergaard almost gifted the Pitmen another goal on seventy-three minutes, as he dithered on a clearance and allowed Davies to nip in and block his kick. Fortunately for the young keeper, he managed to pounce on the loose ball before Davies could turn it home

 

Another one of Hednesford's triallists was given a chance to impress with fifteen minutes remaining, as he came on in place of the combative Josh Craddock

 

An incisive cross-field ball from man of the match Davies opened up the Wolves defence a minute later, finding Nelson on the edge of the penalty area. His ball into the feet of Cockerline saw the big striker take a sidestep and fire goalwards but was denied by a last-ditch deflection away from goal by defender Dion Sanderson

 

More chances followed for Nelson on seventy-seven minutes, whose shot was held by Sondergaard, before a deep cross from Davies a minute later drifted inches wide of the head of triallist no. 18

 

A minute later, triallist no. 17's superb run and cross had Sondergaard beaten, with the ball drifting onto the crossbar and away from goal before Cockerline could react

 

Davies capped a fine display for himself and the side with a superb fourth goal for the Pitmen on eighty minutes; after picking the ball up inside the penalty area, Davies looked to be running down a blind alley as he dribbled the ball away from goal. However, a quick turn of pace saw him beat two Wolves players as he took the ball along the goal-line, before cutting inside and firing into the roof of the net from close-range - a superb individual goal to complete an enjoyable evening's football

 

There was one final change for the Pitmen with five minutes left, as academy player Owen Turner made a late cameo in place of left-back Nathan Fox, who had once again looked a fine acquisition with his positional sense

 

Of the seven pre-season games so far, this was undoubtedly the Pitmen's most impressive performance of the lot, as they eased to a fine win by playing neat, incisive two-touch football and taking their chances. Wolves were a little disappointing in their approach and application, gifting Hednesford the ball at regular intervals and offering little going forward. A more severe test of Hednesford's ability comes in just two days time, as Southern League Central favourites Tamworth make the short hop down the A5 to face the Pitmen on Thursday night

 

Hednesford Town: Williams, Curley, Fox (Turner 83), Craddock (Triallist no. 18 - 75), Galinski © ▆ , Mendez-Jones, Dodd (Triallist no. 17 - 61), Hollis (Fitzpatrick 45), Hill (Cockerline 61), Davies, Triallist no. 11 (Nelson 45)    Subs Unused: Triallist no. 12

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers U23: Sondergaard, Perry, Harris-Sealey, John, Sanderson, Csoka, Hanne, Otasowie, Samuels, Alves, Ennis   Subs: Lattie, McKenna, Heredia, Beasley

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