As Hednesford Town drew 1-1 with Bedworth United at Keys Park on Saturday the minds of supporters and players alike, turned to the remembrance of twenty-three year old supporter Luke Porter, the young man killed in a tragic car accident on nearby Cannock Chase last Friday.
A minutes applause was respectively given in memory of a fan who was regularly seen at Keys Park for many years and over forty of his close friends and family spent almost the entirety of the game vocally chanting his name.
In this atmosphere a football match was played with both sets of teams struggling to fall into any rhythm in the hazy summer sunshine.
The Pitmen, starting with Sean O’Connor and Michael Lennon in attack, ably supported by major recent signing Nathan Woolfe, started very encouragingly.
Captain Dave MacPherson fired over inside the first five minutes and Hednesford opened the scoring when right-back John Disney curled a perfectly judged shot over the goalkeeper after O’Connor had foraged well in the penalty area on ten minutes.
Bedworth responded well to going behind and should have equalised when David Kolodynski ran through a pourous Pitmen defence but lobbed the ball wide and Melvyn Gourlay shot too high.
Woolfe’s pace and first touch continued to impress for Hednesford and the former Northwich Victoria player tested Andrew Kemp with a left-footed shot on forty three minutes.
The second half conformed to the usual disjointed nature of a pre-season friendly, interrupted with numerous substitutions, but positives for the home side was the continued excellence and quality of delivery by Elliott Durrell and the liveliness and hard work of Lennon.
The worry around the defence of The Pitmen was proved again on sixty-six minutes however, as a lack of concentration led to Tyrone Amori wrongfooting Dan Crane as he sidefooted past the goalkeeper with ease.
Disney swept a free kick into the chest of the Bedworth goalkeeper before Amori forced Crane into a smart save at the near post with twelve minutes to go.
The home side rallied towards the end of the game and created numerous opportunities to grab a winner. A superb driven cross by Durrell found substitute Neil Harvey but the strikers connection let him down as he headed wide and Durrell was again involved as he hit a shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Following a Pitmen corner Lennon found the ball at his feet in the six yard box but made a poor connection and screwed his shot wide before Ben Bailey headed over from a corner with the last kick off the match.
Rob Smith’s team now travel to Walsall Wood on Tuesday night before welcoming local rivals Tamworth to Keys Park on Saturday 28th July where their new first team kit will be launched.
Crane, Disney (10), Campion, Raglan, Bailey, Melbourne, Osborne, MacPherson (c), O’Connor, Lennon, Woolfe,
Durrell, Clarke, Harvey, Hendrie, Dunleavy, Hoffmann, Crookes,
Kemp, Dean, Wesley, Gourlay, Ramsay-Dixon, Belcher, Spencer, Byrne, Piggon, Kolodynski, Keen,
Haines, Roper, Amori (66), Bannister, Donaldson, Greenway, Recci,
Attendance – 350