Hednesford Town ensured safe passage into the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy with a dominant win against Evo-Stik Southern Premier League outfit Bedworth United in pleasant autumnal sunshine at Keys Park.
An early Nathan Woolfe goal set The Pitmen on their way and, despite a stunning equaliser by Aaron Donaldson, Bedworth were put to the sword by second half goals from Ben Bailey and Elliott Durrell.
The home side got off to the perfect start three minutes in as Neil Harvey flicked the ball onto Durrell who crossed for Woolfe. The winger wrongfooted a Bedworth defender and finished right-footed with ease past Andrew Kemp.
Six minutes later Hednesford could have doubled their lead as Bedworth struggled to clear the ball in the area and Bailey hit a right-footed volley which brought the best out of Kemp at full stretch.
Andrew Spencer registered the away side’s first meaningful attempt on goal after twenty-six minutes as his low shot was well tipped round the post by Dan Crane.
Dave MacPherson was again thwarted by the hand of Kemp on thirty two minutes but Bedworth finished the half strongly with three shots from distance which failed to trouble Crane.
Their aim improved somewhat after the interval when on forty-nine minutes substitute Donaldson cut in from the left and hit an unstoppable shot past Crane who tried in vain to reach the ball but would have needed wings to keep the attempt out.
The Pitmen reacted well to being pegged back and were back in charge three minutes later when a criminal lack of marking in the Bedworth penalty area let Bailey rise, unchallenged, to head powerfully into the net at the back post.
Aaron Rey should have doubled his the home side’s lead on sixty-two minutes when he headed wide from eight yards and Durrell had an effort blocked before the diminutive midfielder, playing some of the best football of his career in a Hednesford shirt, stroked in a third on sixty-five minutes.
The third goal killed the game as a real contest as Hednesford calmly and strongly saw out the final twenty-five minutes. Harvey stumbled as he advanced towards Kemp and couldn’t squeeze the ball inside the post and MacPherson sliced a shot from the edge of the area well wide.
The impressive Francino Francis limped off with six minutes to go but a Hednesford midfield, excellently contributed to by the tireless Alex Melbourne, rarely looked troubled and despite Mitchell Piggon sidefooting wide at the back post in the final minute, Bedworth rarely threatened.
Rob Smith’s men have now won three cup matches on the bounce and will be looking to make it five out of five in the next week as they welcome first Tividale in the Birmingham Senior Cup to Keys Park on Tuesday before Buxton in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round next Saturday; a match that, if won, would really set the Hednesford faithful dreaming of a Cup run akin to those of yesteryear.
Crane, Disney, Campion, Bailey (50), Francis (Barnes 84), MacPherson, Melbourne, Durrell (65) (Lennon 76), Harvey, Rey, Woolfe (3) (Osbourne 70),
Subs Not Used
Kemp, Tullin (c), Wesley, Haines, Recci, Belcher (Kolodynski 76), Andrew Spencer (Donaldson 45 (48)), Ashley Spencer, Piggon, Robinson, Byrne (Keen 66),
Subs Not Used
Bookings – Haines
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars
Star Man – Elliott Durrell
Attendance – 307