My latest intake of Pre-Season action saw me travel to Keys Park, the home of Hednesford Town, as they contested a local derby against Chasetown. A solitary Ashley Sammons goal was enough to edge past a hard-working Chasetown outfit in a highly competitive affair, as both teams contested their first pre-season fixture.
Keys Park is situated in an industrial area on the outskirts of Hednesford, and upon arrival you get a sense that there is a fine structure in place ground wise. Hednesford Town’s ground has to be one of my favourite Non-League grounds I’ve visited to date, especially with it’s modern feel to it. There are two seated stands at Keys Park as well as cover on all four sides of the ground, which can be a welcome relief on those cold & rainy winter nights. The main stand accommodates 710 people and boasts an impressive view of the action. Most of the crowd of 384 congregated within the main stand, but there is also a 300 seater stand behind one of the goals, as well as extensive terraces to enjoy the game. The facilities definitely represent a higher level than the Northern Premier League which Hednesford will ply their trade in next season, but also emphasise their ambition.
The game itself was a tight encounter with clearcut chances hard to come by, but it was the hosts who came closest to scoring in the first period. Ashley Sammons threatened the Chasetown goal on numerous occasions, and it was he who the best chance fell to. His goal bound effort was denied by a clearance off the line with the half drawing to a close. Earlier in the half he also saw an effort drift inches wide of the far post, after his initial shot took a slight deflection. There was further encouragement for Hednesford in the form of left-back, Cohen Bramall & right-sided midfielder, Gurjit Singh. They were two players who deserved particular praise for their performances as they both looked an attacking threat throughout. Chasetown were a dangerous proposition too however, with their frontline of Mitchell Piggon & Paul Sullivan both seeing chances go narrowly wide in an entertaining opening 45 minutes.
The game naturally lost some of it’s momentum in the second half with numerous substitutions and stoppages in play for injury treatments, but the deadlock was eventually broken in the 67th minute. The home side found the net thanks to Sammons, who guided his finish into the far corner past Chasetown keeper, John Bateman. Sammons met a knock down from George Carline to confidently slot the ball home, with what was eventually to be the winning goal. The goal was no less than what Sammons deserved after he showed plenty of endeavor all afternoon. Chasetown came close on a couple of occasions towards the end, but Hednesford keeper, Dan Crane, enjoyed a comfortable enough ninety minutes between the sticks.
I certainly enjoyed my experience at Keys Park, and it’s definitely a ground I would like to visit again. I’m sure there’s a temporary shock for all involved at the club after being relegated from the National League North, but the infrastructure is in place with a re-vamped squad to bounce back up in the near future no doubt.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Wright, Bramall, Maye, Francis (Mutton), Flanagan, Singh (Brown), Thorley, Luckie (Dunkley), Sammons (Martin), Carline
Sub not used: Ransome
Chasetown: Bateman, Curley, Haynes, Banks (Robinson), Eze, Dance, Langston (Till), Brown, Piggon (Turton), Sullivan (Gardner), Murphy (Kiembi (Love))