Rushall Olympic 1-2 Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town gave supporters a late Christmas present as they came from behind to earn their first victory at Rushall Olympic in 23 years.

It was the Pitmen who started the game very much on the front foot as they forced their hosts back – with Joey Butlin seeing an effort saved in the second minute.

Two quick freekicks followed before James Fitzgibbon waltzed his way down the left-hand-side in the ninth minute – delivering a cross into the box which James Lawrie forced towards goal only to see Rushall goalkeeper Jahquil Hill smoother his effort off the line.

Three minutes later Joe Fitzpatrick picked out Fitzgibbon with the winger seeing his low effort saved by Hill.

A freekick into the Rushall penalty area was knocked down by Joey Butlin in the 16th minute with Lawrie fizzing his effort over the crossbar.

Less than 60 seconds later Hednesford goalkeeper James Wren was called into action for the first time as he held onto a shot from Jordan Sangha before rushing from his line in the 17th minute to deny Daniel Waldron.

The hosts would edge ahead in the 19th minute though when Waldron played the ball back to Richard Brodie who guided an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

This would be the last action for some ten minutes though as the game was held up due to an injury to an assistant referee. Thankfully former Football League official Stuart Eagland had come along to watch the game and he was able to take over the role so that the game could get back underway.

After a slight lull in the game due to the enforced break the Pitmen managed to drag themselves level in the 41st minute when, after some good football, Mason Walsh was played in on the right-hand-side of the penalty area and he made no mistake with a well taken effort into the roof of the net.

Although Wren had to make a smart block soon afterwards Hednesford were now well on top and almost took the lead in the 44th minute only for Callam Mendez-Jones to see his header hit the crossbar with Butlin unable to force the ball home.

The Pitmen would strike the woodwork again four minutes later as Fitzgibbon drove inside before seeing his effort hit the crossbar before Butlin would head over when well placed in the last action of the half.

HT: 1-1

Three minutes into the second half Walsh would force a smart save from Hill before Rob Smith’s side edged ahead in the 49th minute. Fitzgibbon once again did well before picking out Butlin who saw his effort cleared off the line before Charlie Gatter made sure from inside the six-yard area.

Rushall almost responded straight away with an effort that flashed all the way across the Pitmen goal while Brodie hooked an effort over Wren’s goal on the hour mark.

Milan Butterfield found the ball at his feet in the 63nd minute but he fired this chance over the crossbar before the Pitmen’s Sam Oji headed a corner just wide from 10 yards in the 75th minute.

Six minutes later the home side would force a save from Wren after Brad Maslen-Jones fired in a low effort.

In the 88th minute Sangha played in Zak Lilly but the frontman could only get a shot away on the stretch which Wren was easily able to hold low down.

The Pitmen would manage to play out the remaining minutes of the game, including a lengthy period of stoppage time, in order to earn the three points and move back into the top ten of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Rushall Olympic: Hill, Webb, Hakeem (Maslen-Jones 46), Butterfield, Hull, Whittall, Duke (Lilly 73), Smikle, Brodie, Sangha, Waldron
Subs not used: Ezewele, Brown, Dell

Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones, Curley, Fitzpatrick, Oji, Gatter, Walsh (Glover 68), Thorley, Butlin (Taylor 83), Lawrie (Graham 83), Fitzgibbon
Subs not used: Mbunga, Harris

Attendance: 578

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