The last game of 2021 at Keys Park saw Hednesford Town play neighbours and rivals Rushall Olympic. The Pitmen in ninth place were in need of maximum points to keep in sight of the top teams in the Pitching-In Southern Central Premier League, including the Pics who were enjoying a good season in fifth place prior to kick off. As ever meetings between the two sides carry additional gravitas, with local bragging rights at stake, and also due to the number of players, coaches and officials who have served both clubs.
Hednesford Town 2-2 Rushall Olympic
A cagey opening to the game came as no surprise on a heavy pitch, commitment and movement on the park were not in short supply but there was a lack of clear cut chances for both sides. Kory Roberts gave away the opening chance to the Pitmen shoving Riley O’Sullivan in the back as a freekick was floated into the Pic’s area. Lewis Ison hammered the penalty past Tom Palmer in the 29th minute. Some full blooded challenges from both sides flew in as half time approached, which saw both number eights, Lewis Ison and Alex Moore booked.
Rushall soon equalised in the second half, Pitmen keeper Brad Clarkson punched a corner, only as far as Ben Usher-Shipway whose shot through a crowded area trickled into the net, after taking a hefty deflection of Pic’s skipper Kris Green. A challenge from Josh Endall in the home and allowed Rushall to take the lead through Sam Whittall in the 70th minute.
An afternoon of penalties continued in the 88th minute when Chay Tilt’s tricky run into the area was abruptly ended by a flailing leg. Reece Flanagan stepped up to coolly pass the ball into the net, earning the Pitmen a late equaliser and a deserved share of the spoils, in a fiercely contested local derby in front of a large and noisy crowd.
Hednesford Town; Clarkson , Atkinson, Fini, (Lycett 46), Bailey, Endall, Flanagan, Cater, Ison (Master 58), O’Sullivan (Landell 68), Parker, Tilt. Sub not used Armitage
Rushall Olympic; Palmer, Green, Mitchell, Thorley, Clarke (Lyttle 77), Whittall, Usher-Shipway, Moore, Ofori (Reid 62), Foyle, Roberts. Subs not used Mansell, Clement.