The Pitmen and the Glassboys renewed their rivalry under the floodlights at Keys Park in a hard fought stalemate. The visitors had the best of the opening twenty minutes in a physical and at times scrappy encounter, Rackeem Reid was regularly finding space on the left for Stourbridge, giving Lewis Hayden plenty to think about. Hayden was shown the first yellow card of the match after 19 minutes after bringing Reid down on a couple of occasions.
Leroy Lita was flagged offside after Kyle Bennett played him into the Stourbridge area, this seemed to be a turning point in the game after which the Pitmen were the better side. Glassboys’ skipper Lee Vaughan saw yellow for a foul on Sam Wilding. Moments later Vaughan was lucky to remain on the pitch, when he pulled Riley O’Sullivan to the ground. Bennett’s freekick was cleared for a corner from which a desperate goal line clearance frustrated the Pitmen, keeping the game goalless.
During the interval, both managers had identical thoughts about the vulnerability of their booked right backs, with both Hayden and Vaughan replaced by Josh Webb and Chris Knight respectively. A strong start to the second half for the Pitmen saw the troublesome Reid earn a yellow card for a late challenge on Lewis Gwilliams, before the referee denied a penalty shout when Lita went down in the box. The Pitmen continued to press and most of the play was in the Stourbridge half, Lita found the net on 56 minutes but was thwarted by the offside flag.
One former Pitman replaced another as Reece Styche came on for Reece King just before the hour mark. The Pitmen stood up well to any attacking movement from Stourbridge, and continued to ask questions of the defensively minded visitors. A series of freekicks awarded to the Pitmen seemed like the best opportunity to grab the elusive winning goal, with both Lewis Ison and Nathan Cameron getting close to connecting with Bennett’s deliveries. A fine far post delivery from open play from Bennett was left unfinished as Lita and O’Sullivan hindered each other, in what was possibly the best chance of the match. As the game drew to a close Styche won a freekick on the edge of the box which went out for a corner, from which Styche executed an acrobatic overhead kick without connecting with the ball, allowing the Pitmen to clear their lines.
After the game Keenen Meakin-Richards commented; “It was a good physical game, not a lot of chances were created by either side. They dominated for the first 20 minutes, causing us problems with the diagonal balls and then after that is was us, particularly in the second half. We stopped them from playing and got into really good areas just lacking the end product. We take the positives from it we worked hard, were solid and the variety of our game was good, it is just about ensuring the details are right in the final third and we have too much quality in the squad for it not to shine through”.
Hednesford Town; Gwilliams, Hayden (Webb 46), Portman, Cameron, Ison, Wilding, Rowe, Parker, Lita, Bennett (Ebbutt 91), O’Sullivan. Subs not used; Rashad, Manton, Williams
Stourbridge; Price, Vaughan (Knight 46), Wilson, Gittings, Kettle, Hull, King (Styche 58), Moore, Cowley, Knights, Reid. Subs not used; Worley, Moran, Koita