It would turn out to be a proverbial game of two halves as Hednesford Town had to settle for a share of the spoils following this draw against Barwell.
The Pitmen started the better of the two sides with Tom Thorley firing an effort over the bar in the third minute.
Ten minutes later, as a ball into the box was headed back by Vinny Mukendi, Dan Preston flicked the ball towards goal only to see his effort saved on the line by Liam Castle in the Barwell goal.
In the 23rd minute Danny Glover had a shot from the edge of the box palmed away before Dan Crane was called into action to make a comfortable save at the other end.
Mukendi was once again proving to be a threat going forward and in the 29th minute he almost manufactured a goal out of nothing as he got to the by-line and dummied past one defender before his shot was cleared off the line and into the arms of Castle.
Two minutes later Hednesford would be in front when Tom Thorley broke forward from midfield and played a neat one-two with Glover before squeezing the ball home from 12 yards.
In the 34th minute the Pitmen should have had a penalty when Jordan Fitzpatrick broke into the box and his pull back found Glover who controlled the ball, only to see it scooped away from him by a defender’s arm which went unpunished.
Barwell came out with attacking intent at the start of the second half and pushed the home side back for the first ten minutes without really troubling Crane.
Hednesford had a real chance to extend their lead in the 56th minute as Kyle Haynes played in a low ball to Alfrons Fosu-Mensah, who instead of shooting first time, tried to take the ball past Castle but then fired well wide of the post.
A minute later Crane was forced into a smart stop to deny a dangerous attack before the Pitmen failed to clear their lines on the hour mark but were let off by some wasteful finishing.
The visitors would make the Pitmen pay in the 66th minute though when a ball wasn’t cleared and the cross back in picked out Luke Barlone who headed home at the back post with the goal standing, despite some calls of a foul on Haynes.
In truth, the last quarter of the game would produce little in the way of out and out chances, with Hednesford seeing Stuart McNaught forced off following a clash in the middle of the park.
Hednesford did have a late Fitzpatrick effort turned away before nearly being caught out in the last minute of stoppage time when Ryan Baldwin raced through and despite Crane taking most of the sting out of the ball, Dan Preston still had to react quickly to clear.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Haynes, Campion, McNaught (Washbourne 86), Brenan, Preston, Fitzpatrick, Thorley, Mukendi, Glover (Clarke 76), Fosu-Mensah (Sheldon 58)
Subs not used: Ransome, Hutton
Barwell: Castle, Story, Nisevic, Stanley, Towers, Hildreth, Tomkinson (Baldwin 89), Julien, Barlone, Hickey, Ball
Subs not used: Ballinger, Grouse, Hadland, Smith-Vernam
Star Man: Tom Thorley
Entertainment Rating: Two Stars