Hednesford Town fell short against the league leaders at Keys Park, despite putting in a rousing performance and dominating large parts of the game. A well drilled Pitmen team came out of the blocks and delivered an intense opening to the game. Three early half chances in the first ten minutes made a clear statement of intent that the visitors were in for a battle, Andre Brown’s run and shot almost caused a defender to put the ball into his own net before Chay Tilt and Shaq Master combined dangerously in the area, winning a corner, Kyle Rowley’s far post header was blocked and cleared. A teasing ball from Reece Flanagan was cut out by the visitor’s keeper Tomasz Bukowski, before it could reach Brown in an excellent position. There was a suspicion of offside when Billy Kee produced Coalville’s first chance of the evening, when his shot flashed across the face of goal.
Master and Carter Lycett both won corners from deflected shots, as the home side looked the most likely to open the scoring. The Pitmen defended well through a sustained spell of Coalville pressure as the half time break approached. However, in the dying moments of the second half Luke Shaw took advantage of a cut back from Alex Dean and a lapse in concentration from the home defence to finish from ten yards.
The Pitmen fought hard to get back into the game as the second half began, a double substitution just before the hour mark saw Riley O’Sullivan and Josh Endall enter the fray. Courtney Richard’s goal bound effort was blocked, before Bukowski made a superb save from O’Sullivan’s header. The half progressed with a series of corners for the Pitmen and a flurry of yellow cards for both sides as the intensity continued to rise in a thoroughly entertaining game of football. Bukowski thwarted O’Sullivan for the second time with a low save before Brown’s effort was charged down. Four minutes into added on time, with the Pitmen heavily committed to finding an equaliser, a late break from Coalville allowed Shaw to double his tally and put the game to bed.
After the match Keenen Meakin-Richards commented; “You will not hear me complain after a performance like that, that is the level we need and results will be fine. Coalville are a good side and we were better for spells of the game, but they showed us where we need to be. Individual mistakes cost us, but we are a young side and will continue to improve.”
Hednesford Town; J Brown, Atkinson (Landell 70), Lycett, Rowley, Ison, Richards, Tilt, Parker, A Brown, Flanagan (Endall 59), Master (O’Sullivan 59). Subs not used; Soleman, Clarkson.
Coalville Town; Bukowski, Dean (Tomlin 59), Taylor, Eggleton, Robertson, Towers, Shaw, Doyle-Charles, Berridge (Smith 88), Kee, McGlinchey. Subs not used; Jardine, Assuncao, Carter.