Having lost narrowly to National League side Chester in midweek, Hednesford Town faced another stiff challenge against their near-neighbours from the same level, as Wrexham came to Keys Park on Saturday and again the difference in class eventually emerged. But this was only after an even start in which the teams traded blows, predominantly in midfield before Ahmed Obeng sprang to life with a burst past three defenders from the corner of the penalty area and unleashed a sharp shot which drew a good save from Cameron Belford in the visitors’ goal.
Wrexham hit back though and took the lead on 26 minutes, a ball into the box from wide right eluded Pablo Mills and with keeper Dave Parton having been drawn beyond his near post, Manny Smithy was unmarked to head home from three yards out.
The lead was doubled in controversial circumstances just six minutes later when Tyrone Williams appeared to play the ball cleanly out for a corner but as a Wrexham forward fell over him the referee pointed to the spot. James Gray despatched the penalty with aplomb.
Having already lost Curtis Tilt to injury during the first half, the Pitmen management shuffled the pack again as the second half began, trialist Nathan Modest on up front for Kyle Perry who had got no change out of the Dragons’ centre-back pairing. He looked lively and the new front three of Modest, Obeng and Ennis all had efforts at goal blocked or saved before Ennis placed a corner perfectly at the near post for Obeng to head home on 63 minutes.
The joy was short-lived though, on 67 minutes Sean Newton took a free-kick from wide right and, with Parton unable to come for it in case an attacker got a touch, it crept directly inside the far post.
Then on 76 minutes, after Wrexham demonstrated the depth of their squad with a raft of substitutions, Robbie Evans’ shot was deflected past Parton to give the final scoreline a slightly unfair look.
The Pitmen now have three games in the space of ten days to sort out a cohesive starting line-up for the National League North opener against Stalybridge Celtic in two weeks’ time: with Paul McCone still injured and John Disney and Tom James missing from the squad for today’s game, and numerous players who have appeared during pre-season yet to be confirmed as Hednesford players for the new campaign, there remains much work for the management team to do.
The next step in this comes with a challenge of a different kind against Stoke City’s under 21 team this Tuesday, 28 July, kick-off at 7.30pm.
Hednesford Town: Parton, T Williams (Morrison 63), Tilt (Todd 24), Bailey, Mills, Heath, Sanders (Robinson 71), S Williams, Perry (Modest 46), Obeng, Ennis.
Subs not used: Adams, France.
Scorer: Obeng (63)
Wrexham: Belford, Walsh, Newton (Evans 71), Smith, Hudson, Fyfield, Vidal (York 71), Royle, Gray (Jackson 71), Jennings (Moke 71), Vose (Reynolds 83).
Scorers: Smith (26), Gray (32 p), Newton (67), Evans (76),
Referee: N Pratt.
Match entertainment: Three Stars