Storm Batters The Wood As Pitmen Shocked …
Hednesford Town crashed out of the Staffordshire Senior Cup to Midland League Premier Division Walsall Wood as the game at Oak Park was played out in quite possibly the worst conditions in which this reporter has ever watched a non-league game, as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo brought driving rain, relentless wind and a disappointing result to the hardy Pitmen souls who braved the weather.
The Walsall Wood supporters however, wildly celebrated their team’s victory as two second half goals from Leon Taylor and Drew Aiton made The Pitmen pay for some wasteful finishing throughout the match.
Steve Diggin, while still possessing a touch of class with his back to goal, failed to bring his proverbial shooting boots as he saw a glorious chance saved on 29 minutes when a Walsall Wood defender lost his footing in the difficult conditions, shortly after Jamey Osborne had capitalised on a similar mistake only to find Dale Faultless equal to his shot.
Lee Stretton headed wide when well-placed for the home side, but as the torrential rain soaked the watching spectators, some of which retreated to the relative warmth of the bar, and after Darren Campion’s corner was hacked off the line by the home side, Ben Bailey hesitated as the ball held up in the wind and Taylor slotted home to open the scoring.
Hednesford continued to create the better chances but to Walsall Wood’s credit they showed honourable heart and desire to defend stoutly and, as the Pitmen’s attempts got more desperate, the game was settled when Aiton powered the ball past Ryan Price on 85 minutes.
A late scrambled goal by Tom Peers forced a desperate push for an equaliser but the home team held on for a famous victory.
Rob Smith will no doubt be keen to take positives from a disappointing night and the return of Glenn Walker on the right wing was certainly one of few.
The winger, signed from Brackley in the summer, broke his foot against Gloucester City in August and hasn’t been available for selection since, but after playing just under an hour and showing some quality touches on the ball before being replaced, Smith’s darkened mood after tonight’s defeat may be lightened somewhat by the return of an important attacking option for his team.
Price, Ashmore, Campion ( c) , Bailey, Crowther, Love, Osborne, Melbourne (Peers 58 (90)), Glover (Robinson 76), Diggin, Walker (Thorley 61)
Subs Not Used: Crane
Faultless, Deakin, Haynes, Sauntson, Stretton, Joxon, Evans, Davies, Taylor (54), Harris ( c), Currithers,
Subs: Black, Evans, Aiton (85), Butlin, Fuller,
Bookings – Joxon, Crowther,
Star Man – Harry Harris
Entertainment Rating – 2 Stars