Hednesford 1-1 Bradford Park Avenue
A deflected left-footed Darren Campion strike gave Hednesford Town the share of the spoils in an important game in the upper echelons of the Evo-Stik Premier Division but it will be Bradford Park Avenue, by far the better side in the opening half, who will be disappointed at not emerging from Keys Park with a rare victory.
Rob Smith’s Pitmen struggled to scale their usual heights at home; a fact purely down to the swift passing game employed by the Yorkshire side.
Bradford should have taken the lead twice before finally breaking the deadlock as Tom Greaves sliced his shot wide of the post after Dan Crane had palmed the ball into his path and James Knowles headed inches wide of the corner of post and bar on twenty five minutes.
Rob O’Brien dug out a superb cross from the right touchline and Crane was unable to prevent Beasley from nodding into the net on thirty-two minutes as The Pitmen laboured in midfield and upfront.
As the first half neared its close and the Hednesford faithful hoped their side could keep the score at 0-1 their team rallied with Chris Clements hitting a loose ball from a corner towards goal, only to see John Lamb save with his legs, and Darren Campion found space on the left to again force Lamb into a block.
The second half continued in a similar vein to the first in terms of Bradford possession but stout Pitmen defending kept the game in their grasp and there was always a chance that a set piece or moment of individual skill could bring the game level.
The equaliser came when Campion arrowed a long range free-kick towards goal, which was certainly on target, and saw the ball deflect off the back of James Riley to level the scores on sixty-eight minutes.
Hednesford’s goal stretched the match as both sides searched for the win; Michael Duckworth cut in from the right flank and hit a powerful shot just over the cross bar and, at the other end, Pedro Monteiro saw a late shot blocked on the line in a goal mouth scramble as Hednesford also introduced new signing Mark Beesley into the fray.
A Pitmen victory would have been harsh on the visitors and the game petered out into a draw that will be viewed with varying levels of contentedness depending on which set of supporters you ask.
Hednesford Town still sit in third place after their point, within touching distance of the top two with games against both Chester and Northwich looming large on the January horizon. Rob Smith’s side travel to Rushall Olympic in the Doodson Sports Cup on Tuesday night, KO 7.45pm, before facing tenth place Nantwich Town away on Saturday 14th January.
Crane, Bailey, Campion © (68), Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Haynes (Durrell 45), Clements, Robinson (Beesley 55), Wellecomme, Jevons (Osborne 55)
Subs Not Used
Bradford Park Avenue
Lamb, O’Brien, Boshell, Daly, Knowles, Clayton (Riley 7), Greaves (32), Hotte, Marshall, Deacey (Bernard 72), Duckworth
Subs Not Used
Drury, Law, Savory
Bookings – Monteiro, Denny, Robinson, Knowles
HT Score – 0-1
Star Man – Darren Campion
Entertainment Rating – 3 Stars
Attendance – 529