Pitmen held in stalemate …
Hednesford Town were forced to settle for a point following a goalless draw with Worcester City on the opening day of 2015.
The two sides were meeting less than a week after the controversial abandonment of the reverse fixture between the two teams on Boxing Day, a game which saw Town 3-0 up only for the match to be called off with 14 minutes remaining.
There would once again be a big second half talking point as Hednesford were denied a goal following an assistant referee’s flag.
It was Worcester who threatened first when they won a free kick after just two minutes, which Sean Geddes fired over the bar from 20 yards.
Nine minutes later a cross from Ben Bailey looped into the area and almost caught out goalkeeper Jose Veiga with the wind taking the ball onto the crossbar and behind to safety.
Hednesford almost had half an opening in the 24th minute when Jamey Osborne squirmed his way past the City defender but his shot was blocked at the near post and cleared away to safety.
Meanwhile at the other end Connor Gater flashed an effort just wide of the upright from 30 yards.
The home side ended the half the strongest, with Steve Diggin toe poking an effort just over the bar from 12 yards out whilst in first half stoppage time Glenn Walker’s free kick was saved low down by Veiga after being fired through a crowded box.
Seven minutes into the second half Town full back James Hurst created half a chance for himself as he cut inside and fired just wide from the edge of the box.
In the 56th minute another chance arrived as Town broke away from a City corner and Richard Batchelor was able to feed Osborne who saw his low shot saved by Veiga.
The main talking point of the game arrived in the 69th minute as Hednesford thought they had taken the lead as Diggin nodded home, only for the officials to disallow the goal for a foul. This came despite the referee originally giving the goal before the assistant intervened following a ‘supposed’ foul on Veiga.
Despite a howling gale and rain inside Keys Park, both sides attacked right until the very last kick in order to try and find a winner.
With a minute remaining Walker fizzed in a free kick for Town and Tom Thorley headed wide at the back post.
At the other end, Worcester saw appeals for a penalty turned away as first Jordan Murphy went down under a challenge from Paul McCone before Wayne Thomas fell to the floor after his initial shot had been blocked.
There would be one final attack for the home side as they broke away, but the ball across to Alex Melbourne only saw the midfielder head the ball down into the grateful arms of Veiga with the full-time whistle following soon after.
Rob Smith’s side must now prepare to travel to Harrogate Town on Sunday 4th January as games continue to come thick and fast.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion, Bailey, McCone, Thorley, Osborne, Walker, Diggin, Thomas (Melbourne 64), Batchelor
Subs not used: Robinson, Westwood, Sullivan
Worcester City: Veiga, Hutchinson, Khan (Murphy 62), Rowe, Thomas, Jackman, Dunkley, Deeney, Nti (Gudger 76), Geddes (Symons 67), Gater
Subs not used: Wright, Collins
Star Man: Tom Thorley
Entertainment Rating: Three stars