Gavin Hurren: Stratford Town lacked fight in relegation six-pointer at Hednesford Town
Hednesford Town 2-0 Stratford Town
Southern Premier Central
BOSS Gavin Hurren hit out at a lack of work rate and desire as Stratford Town lost their relegation six-pointer at Hednesford Town on Saturday, reports Stuart Morse.
Bottom-of-the-table Hednesford had won just one Southern Premier Central fixture prior to the weekend but they a took a 26th-minute lead when Lewis Ludford-Ison headed in from the home side’s first corner of the crunch clash.
The Bards struggled to create many clear-cut chances and despite a raft of substitutions after the break and a couple of formation changes, the away side still could not find a way through.
Hednesford then secured the three points four minutes from time when former Bards striker Leroy Lita tapped in from close range.
The defeat extended Stratford’s winless run on the road to nine games but the overall picture of just one win in their last 14 games in all competitions makes for dim reading.
Hurren admitted he was left “hurting” after the match and that the performance was “not good enough”.
“What hurts the most is that they out-ran us and they out-battled us but credit to Hednesford, they scored their goals when they needed to,” he said.
“I’ve not seen a team play us off the field but what I have seen is a team out-battle us, run harder and want it more.
"For me, work rate, desire, application and fight were not there.
“There were some players that stood up and could be counted but when you’re carrying six or seven players you’re never going to win a game of football.
“There were a few who could hold their heads up high but when you’re carrying six, seven or eight players you’ve got no chance.
There was just the one change from the team which drew 1-1 with Royston Town, with the returning Will Dawes, who has signed a three-month loan deal from Yeovil, coming in for the injured Ahmed Obeng.
Dawes looked lively in the opening 15 minutes and he drew the first save of the game by home ‘keeper Tiernan Brooks inside ten minutes, but this was really the closest the Bards came in the first half, as getting into the home team’s box was extremely difficult.
Most of Hednesford’s attacks were on the counter and it was Stanley Obinna Anaebonam who broke and let fly with a drive that cannoned off the crossbar in the 19th minute.
Seven minutes later the home side won their first corner and the delivery was met by Ludford-Ison who headed home from three yards out.
Hednesford were winning the midfield battle and with the Bards unable to penetrate or produce any clear-cut chances, the first half petered out.
Hurren introduced Jesse Akubuine and Dan Lafferty after the break, as well as switching the formation several times. Despite going with two up front, Stratford created very little.
Hednesford were still counter-attacking with great effect and Anaebonam was unlucky to hit the post, but he turned provider for Lita to tap in for 2-0 in the 86th minute and secure the much-needed three points for the home side.
The Bards now face a trip to Alvechurch tomorrow (Tuesday) knowing defeat will see them drop into the bottom four.
HEDNESFORD TOWN: Tiernan Brooks, Lewis Ludford-Ison, Adam Livingstone, Luke Rowe (Zac Hartley 90), Keith Lowe, Luke Redfern, Stanley Obinna Anaebonam (Thomas Hewlett 87), Todd Parker, Leroy Lita, Kyle Bennett, James McQuilkin (Germaine Agustien 89). Unused subs: Akanni Akinwe, Aaron Clayton.
STRATFORD TOWN: Liam O’Brien, James Mace, Taylor Morrison, Ashley Sammons (Dan Lafferty 59), Paul McCone, Carl Dickinson, Will Dawes, Josh Hawker (Jesse Akubuine 52), Mikey Taylor, Will Grocott (Aksum White 80), Andre Wright. Unused subs: Louis Beresford, Jamie Molyneux.