Pitmen In Second Round Hat As Reds Are Brushed Aside
Hednesford Town successfully negotiated a tricky looking away tie against Evo-Stik Southern Premier Divison side Redditch United in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round with a goal apiece from Chris Clements and Gary Hay to give The Pitmen supporters dreams of a long overdue cup run.
Hednesford have notoriously struggled to re-create the glorious FA Cup adventures of the Nineties in recent years and it is of great credit to Rob Smith and Larry Chambers that they managed a professional performance against a Redditch side, who in past seasons, may have caused an upset.
Elliott Durrell returned to a starting berth in place of Jamey Osborne as Garry Hay kept his place following an inspired debut against Matlock Town on Tuesday night. The game, marked at the beginning with a minute applause for long-time Redditch supporter Dennis Smith who passed away recently, was played for the most part in warm Autumnal sunshine.
Redditch should have stunned The Pitmen within the opening four minutes as a rare mistake by Cheyenne Dunkley gifted a golden opportunity to Connor Deards but Dan Crane advanced quickly and smothered his shot.
The early scare aside, Hednesford looked the more accomplished team as Durrell crossed for Hay on eight minutes but the ex-Chasetown striker weakly headed at Dean Coleman.
Hay was not to be denied nine minutes later as Durrell, making a steady return to fitness following a serious knee injury, whipped a dangerous cross into the box and the striker made no mistake in heading the ball past Coleman to open the scoring.
Four minutes later, the away side found themselves two goals up as Chris Clements collected a square pass eighteen yards out and hit a shot which inexplicably found its way through the legs of Coleman and into the net; much to the enjoyment of the travelling hoards of Pitmen supporters.
Redditch tried admirably to make a game of the first half with their captain Tom Warner snapping at the heels of Clements and Jay Denny in midfield but, aside from two half openings for Deards, both of which went wide of Dan Crane’s goal, the home side struggled to break down a strong Pitmen backline.
The professionalism of Hednesford was shown very clearly in the second period as they soaked up any pressure from Redditch as they struggled to create in front of goal and comfortably saw out the final forty-five minutes.
Dunkley came closest for Rob Smith’s charges as he advanced strongly onto a Jamey Osborne corner but saw his goal bound header blocked by a Redditch defender.
The final whistle was greeted with delighted chants dreaming of Wembley next May but the most important thing for all involved at the Keys Park outfit is that the name of Hednesford Town is in the hat for the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round. It hasn’t been very often in the last decade when Pitmen supporters can say that.
Coleman, Ager, Wood, Warmer ©, Nottingham, Robinson, Jones, Moses-Garvey (Knott 61), Deards, Harris (McKenzie 72), Osborne (Dinsmore 66),
Subs Not Used
Chambaud, Bedford, Clarke, Sweeney,
Crane, Haynes, Shaw, Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Durrell (Clarke 73), Clements (21), Wellcomme (Robinson 66), Hay (17), Campion © (Osborne 61),
Subs Not Used
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars
Star Man – Jay Denny
Attendance – 348