It was to be a frustrating afternoon for Hednesford Town after suffering a narrow opening day defeat against Scarborough Athletic, despite having to play with ten men for over an hour.
Just three players who started the final league game of last season were in the starting XI as Rob Smith’s side started their third consecutive season back at this level. Meanwhile our visitors were looking to continue their good form of last season which saw them earn promotion.
Despite Scarborough having plenty of the ball it was the Pitmen who had the first attempt on target when Dan Cockerline saw his low effort saved in the ninth minute.
Just 60 seconds later though the visitors would be in front when a ball down the middle of the field wasn’t dealt with and Wayne Brooksby nipped in to finish past goalkeeper Josef Bursik.
In the 15th minute Hednesford were indebted to Bursik for keeping the score at just one though when he pulled off a fantastic one handed save to deny Michael Coulson from 20 yards.
Eight minutes later an Athletic corner picked out Kevin Burgess but his headed effort went wide of the goal.
Hednesford’s afternoon would go from bad to worse in the 24th minute though when a Reece King tackle on Brooksby was deemed dangerous by the officials with the midfielder being dismissed.
Despite this numerical disadvantage the home side started to grow more into the game however they failed to really test Thomas Taylor in the Athletic goal – despite him looking nervy at set pieces.
A double substitution at halftime by the Pitmen saw them come out and actually put the pressure on the visitors, although they had little in the way of clear-cut chances.
Scarborough meanwhile had the ball in the back of the net again in the 59th minute only for James Cadman’s effort to be ruled out for offside.
A minute later an almighty scramble in Athletic’s box saw Hednesford’s best chances arrive. Taylor once again dropped the ball from a set-piece and Josh Craddock saw his shot blocked while a cross back in was headed up instead of towards the goal by Mike Howard.
Hednesford were now seeing plenty of the ball but couldn’t find that elusive equaliser. Meanwhile the visitors should have doubled their lead in the 78th minute but James Beadle saw his effort cleared off the line by Stefan Galinski after the Pitmen failed to clear a freekick.
With five minutes to go Scarborough should really have been clear as they broke quickly and James Walshaw had all the time he wanted but blazed his effort high and wide with just Bursik to beat.
Despite pushing until the final whistle the Pitmen couldn’t land any knockout blows on their opposition and so now turn attentions towards Monday’s clash at Basford United.
Hednesford Town: Bursik, Curley, Griffiths, Gatter, Galinski, King, Dodd, Craddock, Cockerline (Nelson 75), Fitzpatrick (Mendez-Jones 46), Edge (Howard 46).
Subs not used: Fox, Martin
Scarborough Athletic: Taylor, Killock, Lacey, Scott (Merris 60), Burgess, Gooda, Brooksby (Beadle 75), Cadman, Walshaw, Coulson, Annan (Bowman 88)
Subs not used: Morgan, Jowett