The Pitmen made a clear statement of intent to the rest of the Southern Premier Central League as they out-classed an expensively assembled Stourbridge side at the War Memorial Stadium.
Ben Bailey, Andre Brown, and Ryan Pryce came into the side at the expense of Saturday’s goal scorers Reece Styche and Reece Flanagan, while Callam Mendez-Jones missed out through injury as the Pitmen management delivered a tactical masterclass. Carter Lycett was deployed on the left wing, creating a twin threat down each channel with George Cater tormenting the Glassboys defence at will.
The Pitmen dominated the game from the moment they conceded an early goal, when former Pitman loanee Montel Gibson fed Jason Crowley who rounded Andy Wycherley to slot home in the fourth minute. However, the home side were caught unprepared for the relentless attack from the wide positions outsmarting and turning their experienced defenders around allowing Lycett to deliver dangerous crosses from the left and Cater to cause constant problems with his pace and trickery. The Pitmen won a series of corners and hit the post before the deserved equaliser duly arrived courtesy of a Courtney Richards penalty in the 18th minute following a careless handball from a home defender.
The Pitmen continued to press Stourbridge with the tireless Todd Parker, Andre Landell and Richards running the midfield as Andre Brown enjoyed a productive evening leading the line against Glassboys’ skipper Liam Daly.
Brown and Landell both went close to scoring early in the second half before Cater hit the side netting raising the excitement of the many Pitmen supporters behind the goal. The Pitmen continued to win the vast majority of battles in every area of the pitch with the back four outstanding at nullifying any developing Stourbridge attack. Reece Flanagan replaced Richards on the hour mark as the Pitmen utilized the bench to maintain their dominance. In the 67th minute Cater went on one of his many mazy runs towards the penalty area, his shirt was already being pulled before he was upended in the box by a Glassboys’ defender, Landell fired the resultant penalty into the top left hand corner of the net past Charlie Price to give the Pitmen the lead.
Reece Styche made a lively cameo for the final fifteen minutes, replacing the excellent Brown, his intelligent runs into the left channel created more problems for a struggling home defence, almost forcing what would have been a comical own goal. Late substitute Kyle Rowley almost unpicked the home defence with an intelligent freekick that found Styche in space in the area.
The final score did not totally reflect the Pitmen’s dominance of the game for 85 minutes, with great fluidity between defence, midfield and attack. Stourbridge were fortunate not to be on the receiving end of a rout on a memorable night for Hednesford Town.
Stourbridge; Price, Vaughan, Rowe-Turner, McQuilkin, Daly (c), Morris, Knights (Okafor 76), King, Cowley, Gibson, Mills (Bustin 66). Subs not used; Portman, Moran, Marsden.
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Griffiths, Pryce, Bailey (c), Ison, Richards (Flanagan 63), Cater, Parker, Brown (Styche 75), Landell (Rowley 92), Lycett. Subs not used; Hanna, Williams.