Hednesford Town will count themselves unlucky to have bowed out to Premier League opposition Stoke City in the Staffordshire Senior Cup Quarter Final as the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division side frustratingly failed to turn numerous goal scoring chances into a victory.
The Pitmen, playing their first game at Keys Park since January 7th, started encouragingly and looked threatening in attack against superior opposition with Chris Clements and Elliott Durrell proving dangerous foils for Nick Wellecomme and Mark Beesley.
Despite Dan Crane’s goal seeing a couple of shots flash wide from the away side, Hednesford opened the scoring on thirty-one minutes when a Clements through ball pierced the Stoke defence and Wellecomme confidently lifted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
Despite finding themselves a goal behind, Stokes fluid passing style and athletic physique allowed them to exert pressure on the home side and they got their breakthrough with a hotly contested penalty, duly despatched by Lucas Dawson, sending Crane the wrong way on forty-three minutes.
Ben Bailey missed a golden chance as he headed wide from a wicked Clements free kick on the stroke of half time and both the ever willing Beesley and Kyle Haynes could have re-taken the lead for The Pitmen inside the opening ten minutes of the second half.
Liam Blakeman ballooned a clear opening over the cross bar towards the hour mark and, despite the chances created by Hednesford, Stoke hit their opponents with a sucker punch as the game drifted towards extra time. Marcel Barrington finished well past Crane with five minutes remaining to win the game for the Potters.
Crane, Bailey, Haynes (Suckling 86), Dunkley, Johnson, Denny, Durrell, Clements, Wellecomme (31) (Landell 63), Beesley, Blakeman (Jevons 80),
Subs: Landell, Jevons, Suckling, Grice, Allen
Bookings – Durrell, Jevons,
Star Man – Elliott Durrell
Entertainment Rating – 3 Stars
Attendance – 180