Hednesford 1 Swansea 1

Wednesday, 31 July 2002, 0:00
4 mins read

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Nick Cusack still had one or two questions left in his mind before Tuesdays game against Hednesford Town, however afterwards it was clear that many of those questions had been answered. After a good passing start from The Swans the game was doomed to a draw even though Hednesford pushed hard for a late winner against a fairly effortless Swans performance. Andrew Marsh started in lieu of Roger Freestone, and unlike Jason Jones last season looked competent andconcise in his handling of the ball. A skiddy surface added to the early drama with Swansea taking a deserved lead through new signing David Moss. A through ball to the alert Moss from midfield saw him drive the ball underneathThe Pitmen’s keeper. On twenty minutes The Swans failed to clear properly and Mark Jones scored with a scorching 25 yard drive which gave Marsh no chance. The 500 crowd which also contained some 60 Swans fans could not help but applaud the strike. Excellent stuff from a player who looked head and shoulders better than his colleagues including a rather slow Kevin Francis.
The half petered out to a draw, and really the whole game after the first 20 minutes was always going to end in a stalemate. In the second half a resolute David Theobald shone in a defence that added Jamie Rowberry and Leigh Devulgt with Kris O’ Leary and David Moss leaving the field. Up front Steve Watkin, although sharp seemed to be reacting instead of taking a chance and running on to the constant high balls pumped up to him. At times Watkin looked very disconsolate. Jonathan Keaveny looked out of sorts alongside him, and really on this showing looks to be playing second fiddle to James Thomas and John Williams come next Saturday. Keaveny with time on his side was through on the keeper but lost his footing as did Watkin in the first half when it seemed he was odds on to score. However it was Theobald who stole the Swans show with well anticipated covering at the back and he admirably dealt with the many crosses that peppered The Swans area for the last 30 minutes or so. It seems here Theobald has given Nick Cusack a selection headache, Jason Smith or David Theobald ? Both very similar players with Theobald getting JA. NETS nod with his more accurate distribution of the ball.
With twenty minutes gone in the second half Marsh rushed outof his area to thwart Jones again and was badly injured in the clash, Simon Cole taking up the goalkeepers jersey. Twelve minutes later Cole went down with what seemed like a bad injury but recovered after five minutes of treatment. On the ninety minutes he went down again saving bravely from Graham Lancashire. Michael Howard tried to prompt a Swans revival on theleft but failed to involve Watkin and Keavenny, and it was Nick Cusack who kept the midfield solid alongside Michael Jackson. Rowberry’s inclusion was another bright spot with very good touches when under pressure, and calm distribution to the front two who by this time had seemed to have given up. And the general consensus from the Swans fans present was that this was no different to last season. However, witheight definite starters missing and clearly waiting for Thursdays game against Steaua Bucharest there was a definite feel that many of these players will make up the reserve sidefor the coming season.
What Cusack has assembled from those missing at Keys Park is a strong first team with many players fighting for positions come injuries and suspensions, and when looked at from this position there is much to look forward to starting next Saturday against Rushden at The Vetch Field. This was very much a Swans of old performance, but looking positively it was very much afringe team with a few first team inclusions. And based on that and the positive performances of Theobald and Rowberry we have much more strength in depth this time around.
And a note of praise for the Hednesford supporters at the game. They applauded both teams, including those injured, Marsh especially. And their ground is the better of many third division grounds we will visit this season, if they have an equal in the non league for facilities it is a very well kept secret.
We wish them well for the coming season, and indeed it was nice to see so many Swans fans from the West Midlands mixing with the home support. Match sponsors were Dominion Leisure the owners of Bilston Town FC owned by Swans fanatic Roger Williams.
A great reception, a great bar, and ………….
The Swans " nearly " second team just did enough to earn the draw.
1. Andrew Marsh
2. Michael Howard
3. Gareth Phillips
4. David Theobald
5. Kris O’ Leary
6. David Moss
7. Nick Cusack
8. Jonathan Keavenny
9. Steve Watkin
10. Michael Jackson
11. Neil Sharp
12. Leigh Devulgt replaced David Moss
13. Stuart Jones
14. Jamie Rowberry replaced Kris O’ Leary
15. Jay Thompson
16. Simon Cole replaced Andrew Marsh
Att : 503
The side that took the field against Hednesford Town can be compared with the expected starters against Steaua Bucharest on Thursday evening at The Vetch Field. We couldslightly wrong, however this is the side we expect too see come Thursday at The Vetch Field.
1. Roger Freestone
2. Terry Evans
3. Kris O ‘ Leary
4. Jason Smith / David Theobald
5. Michael Howard / Lee Jenkins
6. Andrew Mumford
7. David Smith
8. Paul Reid
9. James Thomas
10. John Williams
11. Matt Murphy / David Moss
12. Jamie Wood
13. Andrew Marsh
14. Steve Watkin
15. Gareth Phillips
16. Neil Sharp

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