Hednesford Town made a swift return to the RACE Stadium looking for more Southern Premier League Central points against Barwell. The Pitmen were disappointed on Saturday when they were 3-1 up against Royston only to drop two vital points in a 3-3 draw. Barwell were also in action at the weekend earning a 3-1 win at Redditch.
The Pitmen got off to a great start. Within the first minute Joe Cuff had a superb half-volley miss narrowly wide of the left hand post. Not long after in the fifth minute Adam Livingstone hit a bullseye of a driven cross straight into the path of Leroy Lita, who slotted home calmly from seven yards. The visitors recorded their first shot of the game in the 14th minute, after a corner was cleared Shaquille Master blasted a shot across goal, and out for a Hednesford throw-in.
Obinna Anaebonam found himself in space after 17 minutes, and hit one from 24 yards out, but it is well held by the visitor’s ‘keeper and former Town player Andy Wycherley. Beck-Ray Enoru fancied his chances when the ball fell to him inside the penalty box, but he blasted his shot inches wide of Tiernan Brooks’ near post.
The Pitmen had some lovely play down the left wing in the 37th minute when Anaebonam played in an exquisite ball to Lita who had his vicious attempt tipped around the ‘keepers left hand post. In the 43rd minute the home team had another effort on goal when a deflected pass fell to Cuff who hit the crossbar, much to the relief of the Canaries.
At the start of the second half, it was the visitors who had most of the possession in the opening minutes and had their first clear cut chance. Davidson-Miller hit a well struck, curling effort that went inches wide of the far post. The Canaries began to up the ante with some effective pass and move play, but they couldn’t find their way past a well organised Pitmen defence.
Just after the hour mark, Kyle Bennett struck a curling effort towards the far corner of the net but Wycherley did brilliantly to top it out for a corner. Straight from the corner Barwell started a counter attack, and Enoru played a well weighted pass into the path of Brady Hickey, who kept his composure and powerfully struck the ball past Brooks to equalise for the Canaries. After a careless back pass from the Pitmen, Barwell found themselves one on one with attacker Enoru, but Brooks made himself big and was able to dive at Enoru’s feet and pull off a stunning save to deny the visitors from taking the lead.
A brilliant ball over the top from Adam Livingstone fell to the feet of Lita, who found himself onside, had a near post shot well stopped by Wycherley. Cuff had a shot saved, and from the rebound floated a cross across goal towards the oncoming Lita, who was denied a goal by excellent defending from Kyle Rowley preventing the Pitmen regaining the lead.
Barwell’s perseverance finally paid off in the 80th minute when Luke Rowe gave the ball away about 25 yards outside of the area, Hickey intercepted the ball and lobbed Brooks from distance, to put the Canaries into the driving seat for the remaining 10 minutes.
The Pitmen started to put the pressure on with Barwell sitting back, but the Canaries defence continued to stay organised. Hednesford’s continued pushing finally paid off, when in the 87th minute, Cuffs free kick found the head of Lita, who glanced the ball into the top right corner for the equaliser and his second goal of the game. After four additional minutes, the referee blew for full time with the game ending Hednesford Town 2-2 Barwell.
Hednesford Town – Brooks, Ludford-Ison, Livingstone, Bailey, Lowe, Clements (Rowe 70’), Cuff, Parker, Lita, Bennett ( Ibrahim 70’), Anaebonam. Subs not used; Nesbitt, McQuilkin, Clayton
Barwell – Wycherley, Edwards, Master, Ngoma, Rowley (Lee 89’), Kerr, Enoru, Bushaj, Davidson-Miller (Nassunculo 89’), Hickey, Master. Subs not used; Lawson, Ward, Brailsford
Match report by James Weaving