After a hectic couple of weeks for The Pitmen, this Staffs Senior Cup game against Uttoxeter Town FC, currently sitting mid-table in The Midland League, Division 1, was ready to go on a sticky Keys Park pitch.
Paul Casey selected his strongest available squad for the game, having still to contend with injuries to Danny Glover, Lewis Wright, Simeon Maye and James Mutton but also the unavailability of new players Gavin Caines and Montel Gibson due to the qualification rules for this competition.
The Pitmen had the better of the early exchanges with Reece Leek having a couple of good runs at the visitors’ defence and supplying teasing crosses into the box.
However, it was not until the 20th minute that the breakthrough came when Ashley Sammons turned in the penalty area only to be taken down and awarded a penalty. Having dusted himself down Ash tucked the penalty away with great composure.
Tony Clarke had a couple of gilt edged chances to increase the lead as the game moved towards the half time interval but was unable to get the shot away under pressure from a committed Uttoxeter defence.
Half Time: 1-0
The game became much scrappier in the second half and with a number of the Hednesford players starting to look tired after the exertions at Workington at the weekend, the visitors started to get a much better foothold in the game.
Dan Crane was called upon to make one of his trademark flying saves from a long range effort to keep the scores level and, at the other end, Mick Allen pulled off an equally agile stop from a goal bound header from centre back, Dan Brenan.
When the final whistle finally went it was a relieved Pitmen side that went back to the dressing room having negotiated their way past the potential ‘banana-skin’ of a young and committed Uttoxeter Town side to progress into the next round of the competition.
Hednesford Town: Crane, Rowley, Flanagan, Forsyth (Sheldon 53), Brenan, Hurren, Leek (Matthews 68), Thorley ©, Clarke, Sammons, Dunkley (McDermott 58).
Subs (not used) Phipps, Hutton.
Uttoxeter Town: Allen, Price H, Woodruffe (Richards 83), Price D, Lovatt, Lewis J, Lewis L, Sowter, Yates (Langridge 76), Dunnion, Ritchie.
Subs (not used) Cockshutt, Hilton, Wand.
Star Man: Flanagan
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars