Match Preview: Barrow (H)
Hednesford Town go into Saturday’s clash with Barrow still undefeated in their opening four games of the campaign with a more than sufficient ten point haul which leaves The Pitmen sitting pretty one place from the summit of The Skrill North.
Rob Smith’s side have now gone, if you include last season’s run-in, twenty matches without defeat but the manager, reflecting on the morale of the squad after Monday, was keen to stress that a defeat will eventually come and his squad must learn to deal with not winning every game.
‘The longer you can keep the defeats column at nil the better but it will be difficult in this league. The lads were down after a draw on Monday but we really must change our attitude and learn to accept we are not going to win every game. If we go anywhere and get a point it is a point gained in my opinion.’
As a newly promoted side, playing for a club who are at their highest step of the non-league pyramid since 2006, Hednesford’s squad are bound to come up against well-established sides at
Conference North level and Smith believes that Barrow are no different, despite their recent relegation from the Conference.
‘Ignoring league positions, this is a team full of experience and Conference North quality. Barrow have the best strike force we have come up against and it will be the hardest game we have had so far, by some distance.’
Hednesford’s opponents on Saturday have certainly had some good times over recent seasons, becoming the first team to win the FA Trophy at both the new and old Wembley Stadium when they triumphed over Stevenage in 2010 and the Cumbrian outfit also possess FA Cup pedigree having played Middlesbrough and Sunderland in the Third Round Proper in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
The Bluebirds last met The Pitmen the previous time Hednesford were at this level in 2005/6, gaining a win home and away although they have had a far from perfect start to their campaign this year, having played and lost to high-flying Altrincham and Brackley Town.
Team news wise, Rob Smith has a full squad to pick from, barring a fitness concern over Neil Harvey, and the manager has picked out the scoring form of his strikers as a positive ahead of the game: Elliott Durrell has plundered seven goals in his first four games and new signing Wayne Riley has bedded in well in new surroundings.
‘Elliott has obviously started brilliantly and Wayne has worked very hard in training and in matches. The pleasing thing is that he has got his tally up and running with goals against Oxford and Worcester. There is more to come from him but he has fitted in really well.’
The Pitmen will need to be firing on all cylinders when Barrow come to Keys Park, bringing with them a usually vocal and loyal band of supporters, which, added to the superb support from the home terraces of recent weeks, promises to create a lively atmosphere throughout the game.
A twenty-first game undefeated for Hednesford would no doubt ratchet up the noise emanating from the Heath Hayes End another decibel or two come 5pm Saturday evening.
Hednesford Town Form – WWWD
Previous Result – Worcester City 2-2 Hednesford Town – The Skrill North – Monday 26th August 2013
Next Fixture – North Ferriby (A) – The Skrill North – Saturday 7th September 2013
Barrow Form – LLDW
Previous Result – Barrow 1-0 Harrogate Town – The Skrill North – Monday 26th August 2013
Next Fixture – Gloucester City (H) – The Skrill North – Saturday 7th September 2013
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 2DZ
Adult Main Stand: £12
Adult Terrace: £11
Concessions Main Stand: £7
Concessions Terrace: £6
Adult/1 Child* Terrace Ticket: £12
Adult/2 Children* Terrace Ticket: £13
Family** Terrace Ticket: £22
* Child under 16
** 2 Adults & 2 Children (under 16)
Car parking: £1
Match Programme: £2.50