Yeltz Sneak Win As Pitmen Look To Campaign Start ..
A moment of unexpected brilliance by Curtis Tilt proved the difference between Halesowen Town and Hednesford Town as The Pitmen brought their pre-season preparations to an end with a defeat.
The starting line up still looked unlikely to be the team that will open Hednesford’s campaign with Jamie Ashmore, a player who has impressed hugely during the last couple of games at right back, playing at centre half, as Sam Griffiths was given the chance to stake his claim on the right of defence.
With Jamey Osborne and James Hurst both missing the game, Dave Macpherson lined up alongside Tom Thorley in central midfield and Lewis Taylor-Boyce had an opportunity to impress on the left wing.
The opening 20 minutes were relatively uneventful with only Hednesford’s Ben Bailey seeing a header blocked after five minutes as the game was played out on a dry, uneven pitch in sultry late evening sunshine.
As the shadows lengthened across The Grove it was the home side who looked most likely to break the deadlock with Iyseden Christie a ‘hustling and bustling’ presence up front.
The striker showed his strength by pushing past Jamie Ashmore but his rising, rasping shot found the trees behind the goal and not Dan Crane’s net.
Paul Sullivan fashioned a shooting opportunity at the back post on 30 minutes but the Hednesford forward could only hit a looping half-volley two yards too high of the angle of post and bar and within 30 seconds The Pitmen found themselves a goal behind.
An innocuous looking through ball looked like no test for Ashmore, but the young defender misjudged the bounce of the ball and could only stand and stare flummoxed as Ben Haseley easily rounded Crane.
The Pitmen were level within five minutes as Paul Sullivan harried Asa Charlton into a mistake and lobbed the ball over Matthew Sargeant towards the back post where Marvin Robinson forced Tilt into diverting the ball into his own net.
The home side looked the livelier team in the second half as first Christie forced Crane to smother his shot from close range and Ashmore very nearly cut a wicked cross from the left into his own net.
The stand out moment of the game came on 52 minutes when Tilt controlled the ball, flicked it up onto his left foot and rifled the ball into the top corner.
Hednesford were unable to breakdown a resolute Yeltz defence following the goal and the home team saw out the game to record a morale-boosting victory.
It is perhaps a signal of the positive displays shown by the likes of Ashmore, Hurst (before his ankle injury) and the defensive trio of Bailey, Francino Francis and Paul McCone that the starting eleven on Saturday against Gainsborough looks yet to be set in stone.
With manager Rob Smith returning to the club after a short break tomorrow, the Keys Park faithful will be watching with keen interest to see how The Pitmen line up on Saturday away to Gainsborough Trinity as Hednesford begin their second straight campaign at Vanarama Conference North level.
Crane, Griffiths, Taylor (c), Ashmore (McCone 60), Bailey (Francis 60), Macpherson (Melbourne 60), Glover, Thorley, Robinson (Markall 66), Sullivan, Taylor-Boyce,
Subs Not Used – Campion
Sargeant (Hill 75), Green, Charlton, MacKenzie (Thompson-Brown 46), Hull (c) (S Bowen 66), Tilt (40og, 52), Bragoli, Tonks, Christie, Haseley (35) (Lait 66), Griffiths (E Bowen 75),
Entertainment Rating – 2 Stars
Star Man – Curtis Tilt