Bradford (PA) 1-1 Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town had to settle for a point from their trip to Bradford Park Avenue, despite having the lead in the game for over 75 minutes.

On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Horsfall Stadium, it was the visitors who were quickest out of the blocks and they took the lead in just the third minute.

A good spell of Hednesford pressure saw the ball played wide to Tom James whose pinpoint delivery was headed home sweetly by Adam Thomas to put the Pitmen in the driving seat.

The Hednesford midfield started brightly with a debut for new signing Jack Dyer and Sean Williams and Andy Todd looked to get the ball forward at every opportunity.

Thomas meanwhile worked hard on the right side of the park to contain the Bradford winger, Jason St. Juste, who was not showing too many adverse effects from the icy weather, having just returned from international duty for St Kitts and Nevis in Tallinn, Estonia, also played in temperatures just above freezing. Indeed he came close with a couple of testing crosses during a busy first half.

However, it was not until the 38th minute that Town goalkeeper Dan Crane was called into action when a well flighted free kick from James Walshaw was tipped over the crossbar by the shot stopper.

As half time approached, the Pitmen almost extended their lead when a quick breakaway by Danico Johnson saw him play in Ahmed Obeng but the diminutive striker had gone a little early and was ruled offside.

The home side came out with more purpose in the second half and an early corner kick was headed wide by Billy Priestley when a goal looked more likely, this was quickly followed by an excellent double save by Crane as he blocked two shots with his legs.

Hednesford continued to defend well as a team and they counter attacked whenever an opportunity arose, with Thomas seeing his effort saved by the Bradford keeper and Ben Bailey seeing a header from a corner just clearing the crossbar.

In the 69th minute Ahmed Obeng looked to be pulled down in the penalty area when through on goal, but the match referee waved away the appeals for a penalty. Shortly afterwards, Todd put over a superb left foot cross to substitute Kyle Perry but the big striker could only direct his header over the bar.
Bradford came back onto the attack and a free kick from outside the box just cleared the Hednesford goal.

Then, in the 79th minute, the home side were awarded a corner on the Hednesford left side and although the resultant delivery was only partially cleared, when it was crossed back in St. Juste was on hand to control and fire a left footed shot past Crane into the bottom corner.

The Pitmen came close to winning it in the final minutes with a Sean Williams effort and another penalty appeal for a challenge on Perry, whilst at the other end a fierce Walshaw free kick was blocked by the wall and the follow up shot was well saved by Crane.

In the end though, both sides had to settle for a point which could prove to be yet another valuable one for The Pitmen, with the players showing excellent commitment and much more resilience in defence.

Bradford Park Avenue: Stewart, Pursehouse (Scott 46), St Juste, Price, Qualter, Priestley, Marshall, Turner, McDonald (King 77), Marshall (Chilaka 65), Walshaw.

Subs not used: Mather, Schofield

Hednesford Town: Crane, T Williams, James, Bailey, Regan, Dyer (Trainer 85), S Williams, Thomas, Johnson (Perry 60), Obeng, Todd.

Subs not used: Disney, Digie, Ennis

Attendance: 284

Star man: Matt Regan

Entertainment value: 3 stars

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