New Year’s Day was derby day at The PRG Stadium, Keys Park as Hednesford Town faced league leaders Tamworth in the BetVictor Premier Central League. With six points between the two sides after each playing 19 games a keenly fought contest was inevitable, with both clubs looking to get back on track after dropping points in recent games. The visitors were keen to settle the score after the Pitmen claimed all three points at the Lamb Ground on August Bank Holiday Monday.
The game started with a high tempo with Danny Glover shooting wide of Jas Singh’s post, before Osebi Abadaki beat his man to deliver a dangerous cross which Elliot Hodge was unable to finish. Tamworth took the lead in the 12th minute when Bilal Yafai broke from midfield, producing a delightful chip over the advancing Andy Wycherley.
Things went from bad to worse for the Pitmen in the 20th minute when skipper Ben Bailey was dismissed as he clipped the heels of Rhys Hoenes who was advancing on the home goal with only Wycherley to beat. The sending off seemed to galvanise the Pitmen with Glover striking the bar with a thunderous effort. Ryan Beswick repeated the feat striking the crossbar from a freekick. Tamworth maintained the majority of possession without adding to the score, however the Pitmen looked dangerous on the break with the aerial threat of Glover and pace of Abadaki.
Abadaki forced a great save from Singh early in the second as the Pitmen had a spirited attempt at getting back into the game. Reece King headed wide from the subsequent corner. Jack Hallahan made a strong interception in his own half producing a dangerous long ball for Glover, however the Tamworth defender was able to do just enough to prevent the shot. With the Pitmen maintaining possession of the ball and the visitors defending comfortably with the extra man, and the importance of the next goal paramount, it would be Tamworth who made the decisive move.
Substitute Chris Lait cut into the home area in the left and was given too long on the ball allowing him to finish with a neat strike past Andy Wycherley to leave the Pitmen with a mountain to climb in the 67th minute. Using the numerical advantage Tamworth killed the game off in the 85th minute with a third goal when Lait’s shot was blocked with the ball coming back to him allowing him to beat Wycherley who was stranded by the first effort.
Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey (C), Gatter, Hallahan, Hodge (O’Hanlon), King, D Glover, Fry (Reid 20), Abadaki (Jones 72).
Subs not used: M Glover Veiga.
Tamworth: Singh, Forde (Gough 73), Wilder, Beswick (C), Magunda, Rowe-Turner, Waite (Lait 64), Fry, Creaney, Yafai, Hoenes (Obeng 77).
Subs not used: Little, Howkins.