Despite the raft of new signings and outgoings through the course of the summer, it was a relatively familiar Hednesford starting eleven that opened their pre-season campaign with a straight forward but still impressive victory against AFC Wulfrunians.
A heavy storm just prior to kick-off meant that the pitch, despite longer than usual grass, was ideal for the passing game of Kris Taylor, Tom Thorley and new boy James Hurst in midfield and it was Taylor who opened the scoring on 22 minutes when he strode forward and swept a superb left footed shot into the net.
Paul Sullivan could have doubled Hednesford’s lead twice in a minute as he shot wildly wide when through and Danny Glover saw a goal ruled out before converting a sumptuous Darren Campion cross from the right just before the break.
Francino Francis replaced a rarely troubled Ben Bailey in central defence at half time and Sullivan finally got his goal when a brilliant one-two with Glover left him one-on-one with Jonno Brown to delightfully dink the ball into the net on 52 minutes.
Scott Stevenson forced a rare save from stand-in keeper Ryan Price as Wulfrunians tried to score a consolation and, as the hour mark approached, the Pitmen made a raft of substitutions.
Jamey Osborne, Marvin Robinson and trialists James Johnson and James Clifton entered the fray and to no-one’s surprise except The Wulfrunians defence, it was Osborne who immediately played a superb disguised pass through for Robinson who should have scored.
Sullivan could have helped himself to at least three further goals but substitute keeper Brown was in inspired form before the striker finally scored his second in the final proceedings of the game.
The Pitmen will look to build on this convincing start as they continue their preparations this Saturday with a local derby against Heath Hayes at the Coppice Colliery Ground, kick off 3pm.
Price, Griffiths (Clifton 60), Campion (c), Bailey (Francis 45), McCone, Taylor (22) (Osborne 60), Melbourne (Johnson 60), Hurst, Glover (43) (Robinson 60), Sullivan (52, 79), Thorley
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