Hednesford Town’s home campaign in the Southern League Central season concluded on Easter Monday with the visit of Staffordshire rivals Tamworth. The Pitmen, in ninth place, were buoyed by a convincing win at Biggleswade on Saturday, with goals from Reece Flanagan and Leroy Lita. A late winner from Wahib Tahra against Redditch at the Lamb gave eleventh placed Tamworth the points. With neither club concerned with promotion or relegation, local bragging rights were at stake in the Staffordshire derby, following the scintillating 3-3 draw at Tamworth in March.
Tamworth dominated possession for the opening twenty minutes with Pitmen keeper Oliver Basey making a couple of saves from Ben Bailey and Ryan Beswick. The home side then began to build some momentum and started to threaten the Tamworth goal. Leroy Lita headed wide from Kyle Bennett’s cross, before Lewis Ison headed wide from Reece Flanagan’s freekick. Lita received the ball advanced to the edge of the box, turned and hammered home to give Hednesford the lead on 41 minutes.
After the restart Lita went close twice in a minute, firstly forcing a save from Jas Singh, and then heading inches wide from the subsequent corner. Gift Mussa equalised for Tamworth with a thunderous shot on 52 minutes. A minute later the next phase of the game was dominated by astute substitutions by both sides. Wahib Tahra gave Tamworth the lead, firing in from distance with his first touch. George Cater, replaced Chay Tilt on the hour, and two minutes later was on the score sheet as he played the ball into the area from the left, to see it drop into the far post corner of the net to level the scores.
With both sides looking for the win in the closing minutes, Harvey Portman was thwarted by a stunning one handed save from Singh. Cameron Howkins made the decisive play of the game heading home for Tamworth from a long throw in the 88th minute to settle another enthralling encounter between the Staffordshire rivals.
Hednesford Town; Basey, Hayden (Webb 81), Portman, Riley, Ison, Flanagan, Tilt (Cater 60), Parker, Lita, Bennett, O’Sullivan. Subs not used; Ebbutt, Smith, Williams.
Tamworth; Singh, Hurst, Wilder, Beswick, Bailey, Howkins, Concannon, Mussa, Creaney, Whittingham (Tahra 52), McKeown (Parker 83). Subs not used; Fallows, Walters, Smith