Hednesford Town
Keys Park

Ground No. 66
Visited - Monday 11th July 2005
Result - Hednesford Town 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Pre-Season Friendly
Attendance - 2713

As a rule, I don’t usually go to friendlies, mainly due to my resentment at having to pay to watch the team train, not to mention the (generally) poor standard of football due to players not putting in 100%, but two of our fixtures this season had caught my interest, and the first of these was at Keys Park, home to Hednesford Town (with the second being 24 hours later away to AFC Telford).

Having seen many reports (although few pictures), all saying how impressive the ground was for the level of football, it was one that I intended to visit sooner rather than later, so our pre-season friendly seemed a perfect opportunity to make the short trip over the border into Staffordshire.

Initially I had planned to go by train, but in the end, the easier option was to drive, so we set out, and before long found the ground with little difficulty, with it being well signposted from the main road. Unfortunately, there were huge traffic jams when we arrived, so we decided to head away in the opposite direction, eventually finding a street to park in, which left us with a 15 minute walk, but once at the ground, you could instantly tell why people speak highly of it.

There’s only one road in and out of the stadium, and it leads you to the back of the Main Stand which stands quite tall, with an imposing main entrance. Going around the perimeter, then the other sides of the ground are less impressive, being fairly bland, constructed with breeze-blocks and green metal sheeting. Once inside however, the ground has more character, with there being modern, fair sized terraces behind one goal, as well as along the side of the pitch, and a small, all-seated stand behind the other end. The Main Stand completes the picture, towering over the rest of the ground, it sits on the halfway line and runs for about half the length of the pitch. There are small, uncovered terraces to each side of this, so when the ground is full, it doesn’t look quite as isolated as it potentially could, like say the Echo Stand at Lincoln, which is a similar sized structure. With decent facilities, and not a supporting pillar in sight, all in all it really is a good ground, and one that wouldn’t look out of place in the Football League. 

After going around the ground, we eventually went in through the Main Stand turnstiles, and found a spot to stand on the opposite terraces. There was no segregation, and with it being a beautiful, sunny evening, there was a good atmosphere as both sets of fans mixed in all 4 stands, without a sign of any trouble, and despite a visible presence by the stewards, they didn’t really cause any problems, seemingly just wishing to enjoy the good weather and the match along with the fans!

Once the game soon got started, despite a sluggish start by both sides, Wolves soon took the lead through Leon Clarke on 18 minutes. Without wanting to sound too arrogant, it’s fair to say that most Wolves fans expected to walk the game, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Hednesford, despite never really troubling our goal, certainly weren’t there for the taking, and defended resolutely throughout the night, not really allowing Wolves to create any clear cut chances in the box, and the few attempts on goal that we did have were mostly blasted over, or stopped by their keeper, who was having a good game.

In the second half, as announced beforehand, we fielded a completely different 11, but as with the team in the first half, they couldn’t really break down Hednesford, being hampered as well by some of the longest grass that I have ever seen on a football pitch, which certainly helped to stop a few telling passes! When the final whistle blew, despite the win, there was a few disgruntled Wolves fans who had come expecting some entertaining football, but as reminded later, the night wasn’t about goals, it was indeed about fitness, and building for the new season.

The journey home went fairly well, taking little over half an hour, with thankfully there being less traffic problems as before the game.

Overall, despite my opinions on friendly games being reinforced, it was a good trip, and nice to see such a good ground. It was also good to see some football at last, as well as getting back into the groundhopping routine! Hopefully Hednesford can build on their promotion season of 2004-05 and make their way up to the Conference again, the ground deserves to see football of at least that level.

Welcome to Keys Park

Rear of the Main Stand

Main Entrance

Rear of the Heath Hayes Terrace

Looking into the Ground

Rear of the Wimblebury Terrace

Rear of the Hednesford End

The Hednesford End

The Main Stand

The Heath Hayes Terrace

The Wimblebury Terrace


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