Honours Even Despite Late Pitmen Rally …
Hednesford Town were gallant in their efforts as The Pitmen fought to keep their flickering play-off hopes alive but, despite a late desperate push for a winner, the points were shared with their hosts, Solihull Moors.
With the home side long since slipping out of the reckoning for a top five finish, the onus was on Hednesford to make the early running and they belied their allegedly low confidence with a positive first-half performance.
The only thing lacking was a deserved opening goal with Tony Breeden, the experienced Solihull goalkeeper, looking very assured in the face of numerous balls into the area.
Hednesford saw several dangerous crosses plucked well out of the air by Breeden and when they did find space to shoot the keeper was equal to their attempts.
Adam Thomas ran dangerously at the Solihull defence and forced the keeper into a quality low save with a strong left-footed shot and the always lively Jamey Osborne created a similar chance shortly afterwards before Jordan Tunnicliffe headed down at the back post but could only find Breeden’s grateful gloves.
Dan Crane had to be alert at the other end when Omar Bogle created a rare shooting chance for the home side on 24 minutes before James Hurst ran onto a perfectly judged ball threaded through the legs of the hapless left back by Marvin Robinson, but his shot flashed across goal with Paul Sullivan failing to make contact at the back post.
The match, played out in gorgeous bank holiday sunshine and on what has to be commended as a pristine playing surface at this time of year, was an interesting watch throughout the first half but especially so in the second period when the home side began to come into the reckoning more regularly.
It was Moore who had the best chance for Solihull on 53 minutes when a ball ran loose on the edge of the area but, in acres of space, he saw his low shot saved superbly by Crane with Reece Fleet twice coming close from distance shortly afterwards.
The breakthrough came on 65 minutes when Bogle was felled by a desperate challenge by Ben Bailey, who subsequently saw red, and the striker picked himself up to send Crane the wrong way from the spot.
The goal actually spurred Hednesford into action and, throwing caution to the wind, The Pitmen levelled with nine minutes to go. This time it was Dominic Langdon who pulled back substitute Nick Rushton and Steve Diggin made sure from the spot to set up a grandstand finish with six minutes to go.
Hurst played Rushton through on goal but Breeden made a smart save rushing out to narrow the angle and Osborne’s curling shot was tipped wide but, once Hurst’s late free kick found the stands, honours were declared even.
Breeden, Nottingham, Ballinger, Fleet, Daly ©, Langdon, English, Moore, Bogle (68), Beswick, Knights,
Subs: Delfouneso, Byfield, Hayden, Gueyes, Nesbitt
Crane, Hurst, Walker, Bailey ©, Tunnicliffe, Kerry (Thorley 66), Osborne, Thomas, Robinson (Diggin 66 (83)), Sullivan (Rushton 57), Batchelor,
Subs Not Used: Todd, Westwood,
Bookings – Osborne, Tunnicliffe, Beswick, English,
Sent Off – Langdon, Bailey,
Entertainment Rating – 3 Stars
Star Man – Tony Breeden