Another game and another thrilling finish in the space of four days at Keys Park saw the Pitmen continue their excellent run of league results which saw them rise to second in the table after seven undefeated games in the Pitching-In Premier Central. Visitors Nuneaton Borough set the early pace to the game with direct, pressing play that threatened the home defence from the start and belied their lowly position in the league.
Early on through a mixture of last ditch blocks, tackles and a save, Hednesford survived a chaotic goal mouth melee. Carter Lycett shot inches wide from a well worked corner in the 11th minute, before the Pitmen endured a torrid time for the rest of the first half. A half shout for a Nuneaton penalty came and went with Boro skipper Carl Baker orchestrating the attack with much purpose and direct running. It was Baker who claimed the opening goal of the game in the 33rd minute as he ran through the defence, sending his low shot past Andy Wycherley to give Nuneaton a deserved lead. Half time came as relief to the Pitmen, offering the chance to re-group and come out stronger for the second period.
Wycherley made an important save early on after the break to keep the Pitmen in the game. An unfortunate injury to Chay Tilt led to the introduction of the highly influential Reece Flanagan and the tide turning in favour of the home side. A Pitmen freekick was delivered from deep on the left into the Boro area, keeper Tony Breedon parried the ball, however Kyle Rowley was on hand to score the equaliser in the 62nd minute. Flanagan kept the momentum going with a neat pass to the marginally offside Reece Styche, before the midfielder saw his fierce shot deflected behind. From the subsequent corner Andre Landell popped up at the far post to bundle the ball home in the 70th minute for his sixth goal of the season. There was a flurry of bookings for Carl Baker, Ryan Edmunds and Carter Lycett as the intensity of the game notched up even further, before an excellent move down the left saw Styche take the ball to the bye line setting up Flanagan for a richly deserved near post finish in the 78th minute.
A double substitution from the visitors in the 80th minute and an unlucky second booking for Landell three minutes later set up a grandstand finish. The Pitmen had already been saved by the post from a Nuneaton corner before the visitors pulled one back through a 91st minute own goal when a cross from the right unfortunately went into the net off Rowley. The Pitmen ultimately weathered the storm and saw out the five minutes of added time to earn a deserved 3-2 win.
After the match Keenen Meakin-Richards commented; “The second half was great entertainment for the supporters, the tempo was intense and the lads showed the self belief and courage that I asked from them, creating chances and taking them when they came. We need to do that from the beginning and for the whole game. If we can start a game with the same intensity then Keys Park will be a tough and intimidating place for any team to come to.”
Hednesford Town; Wycherley, Mendez-Jones, Griffiths, Rowley, Ison, Richards, Tilt (Flanagan 59), Parker (Morley 93), Styche (Rooney 84), Landell, Lycett. Subs not used; Mario, J Brown
Nuneaton Borough; Breedon, Westwood, Armitage, McCrory, McManus, Gough, L Baker (Awadh 80), Mussa, Edmunds (Edjenguele 80), C Baker, Tomkinson. Subs not used; Wakefield, Goddard, Noble