After the game Keenen Meakin-Richards commented; “I am going to take that one on the chin, the three centre backs worked at times, Stratford had three shots and scored two goals. For me, there was a foul as they broke for the first goal and the second an individual mistake, but we were disjointed in the first half. We were better in the second half and created chances; O’Sullivan had a good chance, Brown-Jones forced a double save and Portman at the end with a one on one. We are getting chances but not taking them, we have no time for negativity, we have games in hand, have to stay positive and go again on Tuesday at Tamworth”.
Hednesford Town 1-2 Stratford Town
Hednesford Town returned to Keys Park for the first time in a month as they welcomed Stratford Town. The Pitmen’s last home game in the league was their best home performance of the season as high flying Peterborough Sports were comfortably seen off 3-0. It was only ten days ago that the two teams met at Knight’s Lane where “The Bards” took the three points from a very tight game that was settled by former Pitman Ashley Sammons’ long range strike. Stratford have played once since the previous fixture and were soundly beaten 4-1 by Needham Market. The two teams are locked on 37 points each in 12th and 13th in the table although the Pitmen have got two games in hand.
Stratford began the game with the advantage of a strong wind behind them. Leroy Lita forced Joe O’Shaughnessy to tip over in the first minute. Reece Flanagan shot wide for the home side, before Daniel Lafferty volleyed Will Dawes’ cross into the net to give the Bards the lead in the 14th minute. Flanagan forced a save from O’Brien, while Carter Lycett saw a header land on the roof of the net. The Pitmen’s good spell was undone when Lita lobbed O’Shaughnessy to double the visitors’ lead in the 29th minute.
Riley O’Sullivan shot over from a decent chance created by Kyle Bennett as the Pitmen tried to pull a goal back before half time
An improved Pitmen performance in the second half saw them dominate possession although scoring opportunities remained few and far between. A raft of substitutions were made from both sides, before young Kearno Brown-Jones on his debut forced a double save from Bards’ stopper O’Brien.
The Pitmen pulled a goal back in the 88th minute as skipper Lewis Ison bagged his sixth goal of the season, sending a low header into the net. A frantic finish saw O’Brien make a decisive point blank save from Harvey Portman during added time.
Hednesford Town; O’Shaughnessy, Atkinson (Hayden 79) Lycett, Ward (Tilt 56), Ison, Portman, Flanagan, Parker, O’Sullivan, Bennett (Brown-Jones 67), Cater. Subs not used; Ebbutt, Williams.
Stratford Town; O’Brien, Wilson, Vann, Bushaj, Sammons (Fry 85′), Turner, Williams, Stohrer (James 67), Lafferty, Lita (Okoro 79), Grocott (C), Dawes. Subs not used; O’Regan, Beresford.