Pitmen fall at first hurdle …
Hednesford Town’s hopes of an extended run in the FA Trophy were extinguished at the first time of asking, following a 3-2 loss at AFC Fylde on Saturday, writes Scott Smith.
Despite a double from striker Danny Glover, it wasn’t enough to earn the Pitmen anything as they travelled to the Fylde Coast for the second time this season.
Following a morale boosting victory in midweek, Hednesford started very much on the back foot as the home side attacked at pace and it came as no surprise when Fylde took the lead in the 11th minute.
After the first attempted cross was blocked, the second effort found the unmarked Josh Wilson who headed home past Dan Crane from inside the penalty area.
The Pitmen responded well to this though and they saw half a chance come and go in the 20th minute. Following an initial free kick being cleared, the ball was ‘pinged’ back in to Steve Diggin but the striker slipped just as he was in the process of shooting and the chance was gone.
Undeterred, Hednesford continued to press and equalised in the 23rd minute. Following a mazy run by Jamey Osborne, a free kick was awarded 25 yards out and Glover stepped up to curl home a beautiful effort into the top corner past goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe.
The game was now very much end-to-end and there was a frantic finish to the first period with both sides having chances to take the lead.
First Glover saw a low shot saved in the 41st minute, before Francino Francis headed wide from inside the box. From that resulting goal kick, Hinchliffe found the unmarked Danny Lloyd and the striker’s initial shot hit the post before Crane made a good follow-up save.
That wasn’t the end of the action as a minute before the break Jamie Allen broke clear, but he was denied by Crane with Wilson pulling the rebound wide as the sides went in level at the break.
Five minutes into the second period the home side were back ahead as they were awarded a penalty when Francis brought down Wilson inside the box. Richie Allen made no mistake from the spot, despite Crane getting his fingertips to the effort.
It looked to be game over in the 59th minute as a whipped cross from Richie Allen found Lloyd, who slid the ball home from 12 yards out, despite the Hednesford defence appealing for offside.
It almost got worse for Town in the 66th minute as Crane was forced into a smart low save at his near post to deny Lloyd from a well-taken free kick.
Hednesford were able to grab a lifeline in the 76th minute though as they themselves were awarded a penalty after Ben Bailey had been hauled down. Glover took up the responsibility and sent Hinchliffe the wrong way to give the travelling supporters hope of a comeback.
The expected onslaught never really arrived though, with a flicked header from Marvin Robinson in the final minute of stoppage time all that the visitors could muster.
Hednesford now prepare to travel to Leamington in the league next weekend as they look to get their season back on track.
AFC Fylde: Hinchcliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, Barnes, Tomsett (Potts 32), J Allen, Lloyd, Wilson, R Allen (Rowe 80)
Subs not used: Dootson, Denson, Booth
Hednesford Town: Crane, Hurst, Campion, Bailey (Robinson 87), Francis, Thorley (Melbourne 63), Osborne, Walker, Glover, Diggin, Batchelor
Subs not used: Love, Sullivan
Star Man: Dan Crane
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars