Hednesford Town round off the 2021/22 Southern League Central campaign this afternoon with a trip to Barwell.
The Pitmen are 10th in the league going into the match today after Tamworth won their hastily rearranged game in hand against Biggleswade on Thursday night. It leaves the Pitmen two points behind Tamworth so we are now relying on a win for us today and for The Lambs to drop points at home to St Ives for us to finish 9th. We cannot finish any higher than 9th although we can drop to 12th by the end of the day if we lose and Stourbridge and Needham Market win their games, so there is still plenty to play for going into the game this afternoon. The Pitmen are 12th in the form table with seven points gained from their last six games which is a record shared by today’s hosts Barwell.
Barwell have had an unusual season in that their first 14 league games were all played away due to a new 3G pitch being laid at their Kirkby Road ground. They have been involved in a relegation battle for much of the season but their Bank Holiday Monday 2-0 win away at local rivals Nuneaton Borough secured their place at Step 3 for next season. They are 17th in the league table and could go up a place depending on Bromsgrove’s result, although they could go down to 19th if they lose and Nuneaton and Hitchin win.
It was mid September when the two teams met earlier in the season and Hednesford earned a point with a cracking 92nd minute equaliser from Chay Tilt, having dominated the second half of that game in a 1-1 draw. The hosts had taken a first half lead through former Pitman Tristan Dunkley. Barwell are third from bottom of the “home league table” and also have conceded more league goals than any other club apart from St Ives and Lowestoft but they will be able to play with freedom today knowing that their place in the league next season is confirmed and with the confidence from Monday’s excellent win at Nuneaton.
Barwell’s league goals this season have only been shared around 11 players with aforementioned striker Dunkley and influential midfielder Brady Hickey scoring seven goals each, but the success story of the season in the league as a whole must be Barwell striker Ben Stephens, who is joint top scorer in the division with 22 league goals. Stephens has previously played for Macclesfield and Kettering, and joined the club just before the season started from league rivals Stratford Town. With our own striker Leroy Lita on five goals in five games since he joined us the points could well be decided by the potency of the star strikers up front on either side.
Ground address: UK Flooring Direct Stadium, Kirkby Road, Barwell, Leicester LE9 8FQ.