Basford United 1-2 Hednesford Town

The Pitmen travelled to Nottingham to face newly promoted Basford United less than 48 hours after their opening game of the season ended in defeat at Keys Park. Manager Rob Smith made two changes to the starting line-up with Callam Mendez-Jones and Mike Howard handed their first starts of the season at the expense of Charley Edge and Josh Craddock.

The Pitmen began the game on the front foot and had the best of the early exchanges with Howard forcing an early save from Kieran Preston while Matt Dodd asked questions of the Basford defence on the right. In the fifth minute the home side showed their attacking intentions when Liam Hearn found himself through on goal only to be denied by Joe Bursik, before Nat Watson’s appeal for a penalty was declined.

In the 22nd minute, a Fitzpatrick free kick was met by a thumping header at the far post from Reece King, again prompting an excellent save from Preston. Lewis Carr’s attempted clearance fell to Mike Howard who fired the Pitmen into the lead with a strike from the left of the area.

Ten minutes later Joe Fitzpatrick would be provider again when the home defence failed to deal effectively with a corner and Charlie Gatter was able to double the Pitmen’s lead with a headed goal at the far post from six yards out in the 32nd minute.

The half continued to ebb and flow with attractive attacking football and chances falling for both sides. Watson found himself in a good position and should have done better as his shot trickled wide of Bursik’s post. A dangerous cross from Dodd was headed over by Dan Cockerline for the Pitmen. Basford’s Liam Bateman blasted his shot over the crossbar before Howard hit the side netting.

HT: 0-2

Basford made a change at half time replacing Carr with Courey Grantham, and it was the home side who would show the greater attacking intent during the second half. Bursik comfortably dealt with a long-range effort from Bateman before Hearn lifted his shot over the crossbar.  A free kick from James Reid was deflected behind as the Pitmen began to look rattled by United.

In the 65th minute, another free kick from Reid was met by Kieran Fenton whose header found the net for Basford to score their first ever goal at this level and set up an enthralling finish. Watson fired inches wide while Bursik kept Hearn at bay with another effort. The Pitmen struggled to retain possession of the ball and had to defend stoically against a now vibrant Basford.  In the closing stages, the chances kept coming for both sides; yet another Reid free kick was deflected behind with the resultant corner presenting Basford with a free header, which blazed over the bar.

As Basford committed themselves forward in search of the elusive equaliser, the Pitmen found space at the other end with Pitmen substitute Mikey Nelson twice going close to putting the game beyond doubt only for Preston to parry his first shot and save his second with his feet.

Despite an additional six minutes being played there would be no further goals with the Pitmen surviving the second half onslaught and securing their first win of the season.

Basford United: Preston, Bateman, Storey, Thornhill, Carr © (Grantham 46), Roma, Bell-Toxtle, Fenton, Watson, Hearn, Reid.
Subs not used: Thomas, Meikle, Wakefield, Lewis

Hednesford Town: Bursik, Mendez-Jones, Griffiths, Fitzpatrick, Galinski ©, Gatter, Dodd (Nelson 62), King, Cockerline (Martin 88), Howard (Fox 62), Curley.
Subs not used: Craddock, Turner

Attendance: 310

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