Diamonds are on their travels again on Saturday as they head to Staffordshire to take on “The Pitmen” of Hednesford Town on the edge of Cannock Chase (where I once lived back in the day – Hednesford not Cannock Chase!!).
Diamonds will be looking to continue good away form in the league which sees them unbeaten on the road since that early defeat to Bromsgrove Sporting. Narrow defeat in last week’s FA Trophy tie at high riding Matlock Town who were really given a tough game backed up an away victory at Stratford in the last league action to see Diamonds up to 11th in the league.
Hednesford also suffered FA Trophy disappointment last time out losing at home to Peterborough Sports in a 5 goal thriller coming back from 2-0 down with two penalties but experiencing a late Sports sucker punch. Home league form is impressive with the Pitmen unbeaten at Keys Park but consecutive 2-2 draws means it’s just 3 wins from 7 at home.
Hednesford are another side with history back to the 19th century. Founded in 1880 playing in Birmingham and Walsall leagues they folded and were reformed in 1938 and made it to West Midlands Regional League in 1960 and Southern League in 1984. Conference football was achieved in 1995 when they came up against Rushden & Diamonds. Relegations and promotions saw them in Southern Premier League, Northern Premier League and Conference North before becoming Southern Premier Central contenders with Diamonds.
They have the distinction of reaching the FA Cup 4th Round in 1997 going out narrowly to Premier League Middlesbrough 3-2. They are also former winners of the FA Trophy winning the final at Villa Park in 2004.
The sides have played 3 times in league action with Diamonds just having the edge. Last season saw the penultimate pre-lockdown game played at Hayden Road with Diamonds running out 2-1 winners thanks to Lorrell Smith and Luke Fairlamb.
The previous also aborted season saw two 1-1 draws with Ben Acquaye and Ryan Dove scoring Diamonds goals.
The two sides also played a pre-season friendly at Keys Park in 2016 as Diamonds prepared for Northern Premier Division One action. The Pitmen won the last game of that pre-season campaign 2-0 before Diamonds league opener at relatively nearby Newcastle Town a game also lost with a late sucker punch.
Hednesford were 2nd in the table after a 7 game unbeaten start to the season but back to back away defeats and back to back home draws saw them slip a little in the table but they are still have a healthy return of 23 points from 13 games. Unbeaten in the league at Keys Park with 3 wins and 4 draws mean this will be undoubtedly be another tough away day for Diamonds.
Away form is pretty impressive for Diamonds however and they are unbeaten in 4 thanks to that win at Stratford recently, draws at Stourbridge and Needham Market and the victory at Nuneaton. 5 defeats in 9 home games pegs Diamonds record back but that victory at Stratford pushed them to the joint highest position in the league table at 11th.
Both sides come into the game off the back of close FA Trophy defeats to fancied sides after a solid away wins.
Diamonds have new signing Ty Deacon in the squad along with recent signing AJ George who impressed off the bench at Matlock.
Radio Diamonds will of course be travelling with Joseph McCormack and Ollie Mortimer bringing you all the action. Ollie will also be giving us his usual excellent twitter updates and match report and you’ll be able to see interviews and highlights after the game.
Enjoy the game