Clements On The Spot In October Heat As Pitmen Progress
As supporters and players alike sweltered in the unseasonable warmth of an October day in Nottingham Hednesford Town midfielder Chris Clements kept his cool to slot his 80th minute penalty into the far left corner to send The Pitmen through to the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round for the first time since 2007.
The heat wave which has gripped the nation for the past three days had a major effect both on the conditions for the players and the pitch, which due to the hot weather was dusty and very bouncy.
Due to the bobbly pitch both sides struggled to play the ball on the ground and it was left to Carlton centre-half Matthew Milns and Hednesford’s Pedro Monteiro to dominate the aerial battle.
Nick Wellecomme limped off on fourteen minutes after receiving a heavy challenge on the half way line and Danny Quinn, struggling for form if not goals, was given his chance to prove his worth to Pitmen manager Rob Smith.
Hednesford threatened sporadically throughout the opening period as Clements saw his free kick palmed away by Danny Marshall on six minutes and the aforementioned Quinn shot narrowly over the bar on the half volley with twenty-five minutes gone.
Milns was regularly involved for the home side and after heading inches over the top of Dan Crane’s goal on twenty-eight minutes the centre backs’ superb left footed free kick left Crane with no chance but, luckily for Hednesford at least, the ball fizzed just over the crossbar.
The heat began to sap away at the energy of both sets of players and in a blisteringly hot second period the game really struggled to get going. Quinn miscued a header wide just after the break and Hednesford had to defend several corners hoisted into their penalty area by Ryan Goward. It was Goward who came closest for Carlton as he flashed a left-footed shot across Cranes goal on seventy-six minutes.
The key moment in the match came as Jay Denny latched onto a pass over the top and, as the travelling hordes of Pitmen supporters held their breath, the midfielder reached the ball first and was brought down by Danny Marshall in the penalty area.
The Carlton goalkeeper was booked for the foul and Clements calmly scored the penalty which proved decisive and sent the Hednesford faithful off into the balmy evening singing of dreams of Wembley stadium, cup upsets and giant-killings.
Rob Smith’s men are back into league action against Frickley Athletic next Saturday 8th October. The draw for the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round takes place on Monday 3rd October.
Marshall, Darkin, Fletcher, Milns, Kitchen © (Grayson 90), Hall, Hollis, Goward, Wiggins-Thomas, Brown (Gill 84), Smith,
Subs Not Used
Kimberley, Clarke, Gardner,
Crane, Haynes, Shaw, Monteiro, Dunkley, Denny, Osborne (Durrell 86), Clements (79), Wellecomme (Quinn 14), Robinson, Campion © (Decio 84),
Subs Not Used
Hay, Benjamin-McFarlane, Grice, Allen
Bookings – Dunkley, Darkin, Marshall,
Star Man – Chris Shaw
Entertainment Rating – 2 Stars
Attendance – 230