Leamington Stronger in Second Half As Pitmen Dumped Out of Trophy
Hednesford Town relinquished their involvement in the FA Trophy for the 2015/16 season at the first hurdle as Southern Premier League high-flyers Leamington scored three second half goals to put a hitherto evenly contested tie to bed in the swirling Warwickshire rain.
This third round qualifying tie had all the tell-tale signs of a possible upset as The Pitmen, struggling for a run of form under manager Bernie McNally in the National League North, visited Leamington, currently second in the Southern Premier League, one rung above their hosts.
In the opening period Hednesford looked set on putting talk of an upset firmly away as, with a strong wind on their backs, their midfield, specifically Paul Ennis and Sean Williams, did well to stifle any early threat from the home side and made the better of the first 20 minutes.
An Ennis free kick drifted into the penalty area and as the Leamington defence stood and watched, the ball cannoned back off the top of the upright before Ahmed Obeng’s follow up was superbly blocked by a sprawling defender.
Ennis had another shot bravely blocked just a minute before the first goal of the afternoon was scored by Andy Todd after 14 minutes, but all the work was done by captain Ben Bailey.
His long throw found its way back to him on the left wing and he executed a superb turn, lobbing the ball over the defender before hitting a powerful volley which took a deflection before being steered in past the desperate lunge of Tony Breeden by Todd.
Unfortunately, just six minutes later, Leamington levelled when the first of several aerial challenges were lost as The Pitmen struggled with the commitment of their opposing forwards, as Lee Moore headed the ball back into the six yard box over Dan Crane and Rob Ogleby finished from a yard out.
Ennis saw a free kick at the death of the first half fly just over the bar as both teams went in to the interval feeling a place in the next round was theirs for the taking.
Unfortunately for The Pitmen it was Leamington who showed that desire more in the second half as Richard Taundry volleyed home from the edge of the area on 58 minutes and after that point, despite substitute Kyle Perry spearheading what became a three man attack, Hednesford were never really back in the game.
The home team’s third goal came when Crane struggled to deal with a ball in the box and Ben Mackey lashed the ball in on 70 minutes. Bailey quickly reduced the arrears but as The Pitmen chased in vain for an equaliser, Mackey scored from the spot to end matters with 15 minutes to go.
Leamington: Breeden ©, Fry, Kelly, Magunda, Hood, Tank, Ogleby (21), Taundry (58), Mackey (70, 74) (Green 87), Edwards, Moore,
Subs Not Used: George, Chilton, Baldwin, Caviezel-Cox,
Hednesford Town: Crane, T Williams, James, Bailey © (71), Regan, Dyer (Trainer 50), Williams, Thomas (Perry 55), Obeng, Ennis, Todd (14)
Subs Not Used: Johnson, Disney, Digie,
Bookings – Williams
Star Man – Ben Mackey
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars
Attendance – 308