Hednesford Town were, in the end, able to make a comfortable progression into the quarter finals of the Birmingham Senior Cup, but were made to work hard for it by Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side Halesowen Town, writes Scott Smith.
The Pitmen made the perfect start to the game as, after Richard Batchelor had seen an effort tipped over superbly by goalkeeper Matthew Sargeant, the shot stopper could do nothing to stop Paul Sullivan’s delightful curling effort in the third minute to open the scoring.
Hednesford could have doubled their lead in the 11th minute as a free kick was flicked on into the path of Ben Bailey, but the centre-half saw his snapshot hit the crossbar and bounce away to safety.
The visitors would rue this missed chance as seven minutes later the home side equalised when the ball was squeezed through to former Hednesford man Robbie Thompson-Brown and he slotted home under goalkeeper Dan Crane.
Halesowen had a chance to make it 2-1 in the 33rd minute as a short backpass let in Tom Tonks and although he was able to round Crane his pullback couldn’t find a teammate and the ball was cleared away.
Four minutes into the second period Hednesford were dealt a blow when Tom Thorley was forced off injured, being replaced by Glenn Walker.
The game was still very much end-to-end and the home team almost edged ahead as a cross was flashed in front of goal but Nicky Campbell was unable to get on the end of it.
It would be Hednesford that would regain the lead though in the 61st minute as Jamey Osborne drove forward through two challenges before firing home right-footed from the edge of the box.
A second Pitmen player was forced to be substituted in the 63rd minute as Sullivan hobbled off to be replaced by Steve Diggin.
It didn’t take the forward long to make an impact though as an in-swinging corner was parried onto the shoulder of Diggin who forced the ball home to make it 3-1 in the 71st minute.
Hednesford were now attacking with will as they looked to add to their tally in the final quarter of the match.
This they were able to do with four minutes remaining when another Walker corner caused trouble with Bailey heading home unchallenged at the back post.
Although the home side were well beaten, they continued to attack until the final minutes of the game but were unable to find any kind of way back into the game as Hednesford continued their impressive run in recent years in a competition which they won back in 2013.
Halesowen Town: Sargeant, Lait, Turner (Watson 74), Mackenzie, Robinson, Tilt, Kettle, Tonks, Campbell, Thompson-Brown, Bragoli
Subs not used: Hull, Forde, Green, Griffiths
Hednesford Town: Crane, Melbourne, Campion, Bailey, Francis, Thorley (Walker 49), Osborne, Love, Sullivan (Diggin 63), Robinson, Batchelor
Subs not used: Hurst, Price
Star Man: Jamey Osborne
Entertainment Rating: Four Stars