Grounds for optimism at last as fans make a very welcome return

An injury to Wes Atkinson overshadowed Hednesford Town’s 0-0 draw with Kettering Town as fans made their return to football.

 returning to non-league football at Hednesford v Kettering.
returning to non-league football at Hednesford v Kettering.

Albion academy product Atkinson had only agreed non-contract terms with the Pitmen last Thursday but now looks set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a suspected ruptured Achilles during Saturday’s friendly.

Boss Andy Morrell said: “It’s a real shame. Wes has just gone up for a header and landed badly.

“He is going for a scan on Tuesday to discover the extent of the damage and we can only hope it is not a complete tear.

“He joined us on trial at the start of pre-season and fitted in really well, worked really hard and can play across the defence and in midfield.

“Sadly it is just one of those things. Hopefully he can make a speedy recovery.”

Atkinson’s injury took the gloss off a big day for Hednesford as supporters were allowed back to Keys Park for the first time.

The club sold out their reduced capacity of 300 tickets on Friday night and Morrell, whose team had played their first two friendly matches behind closed doors, was delighted to see the fans return.

“There was a buzz around the club anyway at what is a new era and everyone has worked hard behind the scenes to make sure everything was safe for the supporters to come back,” he said.

“Having them in definitely gave the match an extra edge and it was a feisty and aggressive encounter. The only thing it was missing was a goal.”

Across the Midlands the turnstiles were once more spinning as supporters were permitted to attend matches for the first time since March.

A crowd of 138, including 67 from Stourbridge, watched the Glassboys play out an entertaining 2-2 draw at AFC Wulfrunians.

The visitors actually found themselves trailing before 3pm as after the match had kicked off a few minutes early, James Spray set up Jack Till to open the scoring for the hosts.

Stour bit back to lead before the break thanks to goals from a trialist and Darryl Knights, with goalkeeper Charlie Price denying Wulfs a second when he saved Spray’s penalty. But the former Wolves academy player got his revenge eight minutes into the second half when he levelled the scores.

Chay Tilt went close to a winner for the Glassboys but saw his late effort saved.

A healthy contingent of Halesowen Town supporters made the trip to Hinckley to watch the Yeltz claim a 2-0 win over Leicester Road.

McKauley Manning and Jamie Ashmore struck in the first 14 minutes for Paul Smith’s team, who next host Highgate United at the Grove on Thursday, where the capacity will be restricted to 200 supporters.

Stafford Rangers took 30 supporters to Gresley Rovers, where they were rewarded with a 2-1 win for Jody Banim’s team.

The Boro host Coalville Town tomorrow, with a 300 attendance limit, at their Marston Road ground.

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