A depleted Pitmen side returned from a windy South Kesteven Sports Stadium with a point after leading scorer Danny Glover’s injury time header against play-off chasing Grantham Town earned them a draw.
With the Pitmen’s already small squad further decimated by injury and suspension, the starting eleven showed five changes from Saturday’s defeat at relegated Sutton Coldfield and Manager Rob Smith handed a first start to academy player Tom Wheeldon.
With a strong wind behind them it was the home side who started the brightest with Jose Veiga proving equal to anything the Grantham strikers could create. Grantham forced a series of corners that all came to nothing before the first yellow card of the night was shown to Grantham full back Tom Potts after a poor challenge on Louis Harris. The referee was incensing both sides with some perplexing decisions, none more so than one on 34 minutes when he brought play back for a supposed foul by Tom Thorley when the home side thought he should have played on with them breaking free down the left. The resultant free kick went wide and six minutes later another free kick was put five yards over the bar.
Hednesford’s best chance of the half came when Reece King found himself in space in the box but opted to pull the ball back when a shot may have been the better option. As half time approached the home side forced two more corners which were easily dealt with by the Pitmen defence and the teams went in level.
Hednesford started the second half on the front foot, winning their first corner which was cleared before Grantham made their first substitution of the evening, Curtis Burrows being replaced by Jordan Hempenstall. On 63 minutes Grantham took the lead when a corner wasn’t dealt with, causing hesitation in the Hednesford defence and Stefan Galinski tapped home from almost on the line. This was rough justice for the Hednesford back-line who had coped well with the home side’s pressure.
As the half wore on, both managers made substitutions with Andrew Wright and Sam Osborne making way for Michael Hollingsworth and Harry Vince for Grantham, while Hednesford were forced into a change with the injured Louis Harris being replaced by Joe Fitzpatrick.
In the 82nd minute Charlie Gatter was booked for a foul and the resulting free kick was put straight out before the Pitmen replied with a Matt Curley shot which was well over the bar. Two minutes later, debutant Wheeldon was replaced by Danny Glover as Hednesford went in search of the equaliser.
In the 89th minute Tom Thorley was fouled but the free kick came to nothing and then Fitzpatrick’s through ball was collected at the second attempt by Grantham keeper Kieran Preston.
As the board went up indicating four minutes of added on time, Reece King sent a header just wide then Anthony Dwyer was fouled well into the Hednesford half. The free kick was cleared for a throw which found James Lawrie and his pinpoint cross was met by Danny Glover who majestically headed home.
There was just time for Grantham to kick off before the referee blew for full time and the Pitmen returned home with a hard earned point.
Grantham Town : Preston, Potts, Luto, Lewis, Galinski, McGovern, Meadows, Wright (Hollingsworth), Osborne (Vince), Shaw, Burrows (Hempenstall).
Subs not used : McMenemy, Thompson.
Hednesford Town : Veiga, Thorley, Curley, Harris (Fitzpatrick), Mendez-Jones, Gatter, Dwyer, King, Butlin, Lawrie, Wheeldon (Glover).
Sub not used : Rea.
Attendance : 271
Man of the Match : Danny Glover