Saturday 12th July 2008 (3-00 pm)

Hednesford Town 0 Walsall 3
Pre-season friendly at Keys Park
Attendance: 613
Weather: warm and sunny

After changing their whole team after a goalless first half, Walsall's youngsters scored three times after the interval without reply in the Hednesford sunshine.

I always enjoy visiting Keys Park. It’s a modern comfortable stadium, good view from the stand, plenty of car parking and easily accessible. So with the added interest of former Stafford midfielder Ross Draper making his debut for the Pitman and a former Stafford striker as new manager, the logical choice for getting 2008/09 underway was, indeed, Hednesford Town v Walsall.

There were no real worries about whether the game would be on or not, but for good measure I checked Hednesford’s website and found the news I was looking for. It said: "Having left the club at around 6.15pm tonight I can confirm that the pitch looks in superb condition," wrote the Chief Executive. "It has been cut again today and should be in great condition tomorrow."

"Our new look A5 programme will be on sale tomorrow. In full colour it has a glossy laminated cover, 40 pages in total, and will be on sale at £ 2.00.

Keys Park is located a few hundred yards from the old Cross Keys ground which Hednesford left in 1995. Take the A4154 from Hednesford to Heath Hayes, pass the Cross Keys pub on the right and turn left at the next roundabout following the brown football sign. At the next roundabout turn right along the drive into the car park. The programme was on sale outside the ground and I had plenty of time to read what was a superb well-presented publication. Fans were promised a glossy laminated cover and the programme certainly lived up to its billing on the website. This was Hednesford's first pre-season friendly and in fact the first game in charge for new manager Dean Edwards, who had brought in plenty of new players.

It opted for a seat in the main stand which is next to the car park on the western side of the ground. The pitch is orientated south-east to north-west and looking out on the pitch from the stand, there are more covered seats behind the left-hand goal (Hednesford End). All along the opposite touchline (Wimblebury Side) and behind the right-hand goal (Heath Hayes End) are large covered terraces. The well-stocked Club Shop is located to the left of the main stand.

Teams were announced over the tannoy at least twice. Walsall got the game under way attacking the Hednesford End in the first half. The first chance of my season came in the 8th minute when Jabo Iberhe burst through down the inside right channel and fired across the face of goal. Less Hines delivered the first corner a minute later and Sophien Zaaboub became the first player of my season to fire the ball out of the ground. Neither keeper had a serious save to make during the opening 45 minutes.

Walsall changed their whole team at the interval in a pre-announced move while Hednesford made just one substitution. The opening goal came in the 53rd minute courtesy of my first penalty of the season. Alex Nicholls got up after being brought down by Danny Harvey and sent the resulting spot kick past Stuart Brock. Hednesford looked for an equaliser but the visitors struck again in the 70th minute. Ishmel Demontagnac curled a left-foot shot into the top-left corner from 15 yards out. Demontagnac scored his second goal seven minutes later after exchanging passes with Nicholls.