Hednesford Town warmed up for Saturday’s important league game against Staffordshire rivals Tamworth with a convincing victory over a Wolves U21 side at Keys Park on Wednesday evening.
With Saturday in mind, Rob Smith made several changes to his team, with Lloyd Kerry, Andy Todd, Steve Diggin, Tom Strain, Richard Batchelor and new signing Jordan Tunnicliffe all coming into the side.
It was the Pitmen who started more strongly and almost went ahead in the fifth minute, only for Adam Thomas to be denied by Wolves goalkeeper Jon Flatt after the midfielder got in behind their back line.
Two minutes later the lively Jordan Graham got to the bye-line for Wolves before beating two Town defenders. However, his cross was cleared from inside the six-yard box with three players lurking for a tap-in.
Back came the Pitmen and it was they who took the lead in the 10th minute when the ball found its way to Batchelor who lifted it over Flatt and into the far corner of the net.
Five minutes later it was nearly 2-0 as Thomas curled his free kick over the wall but it struck the outside of the post and went behind for a goal kick.
As the half progressed, although the visitors had plenty of the ball, they didn’t force Town goalkeeper Dan Crane into any real saves of note. In fact it was his opposite number Flatt who was the busier, denying Thomas on more than one occasion.
Right on the stroke of half-time Hednesford were able to make it 2-0 as a ball down the left saw Steve Diggin get to it before Flatt and the striker was on hand to slot home via the post to double the lead.
Wolves started the second half in a more determined mood after two changes at half-time, but despite forcing a number of corners the Town back line held firm.
Hednesford continued to attack and Nick Rushton was denied by Flatt in the 75th minute after he broke the offside trap.
Despite making four changes of their own during the second period, it didn’t stop their forward momentum and after a couple of half-chances they managed to add a third goal in the 79th minute.
A ball through the middle found Diggin and although he was denied by a good tackle the ball found its way to Rushton who made no mistake from 15 yards out.
James Hurst almost added a fourth late on as he headed wide in the 87th minute before Wolves had two half-chances through Ibra Keita to reduce the arrears, only first to slide the ball wide before being denied by Crane a second time.
The Pitmen will be hoping that this morale-boosting victory can help them get back to winning ways in the league this weekend.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Walker, Westwood (Bailey 63), Tunnicliffe, Kerry (Thorley 68), Todd (Osborne 63), Thomas (Rushton 70), Diggin, Strain, Batchelor
Wolves U21: Flatt, Simpson, O’Hanlon, Ortega, Batten, Anderson, Cancessi, Harris, Keita, Torras, Graham
Subs: Swan, Burgoyne, Weeks, Kellerman, Enobakhare, Ntoumenopoulos