Late drama as the Pitmen, reduced to nine men, score twice to advance into the semi-finals of the Staffordshire Senior Cup.
A subdued first 45 minutes gave no indication of what was to follow after the break.
Jordan Graham had the best opportunity to break the deadlock hitting the post in the 12th minute. Jon Kapend intercepted a loose pass in midfield but his shot went well wide following a threatening run.
Clear cut chances were few and far between with Joe Fitzpatrick shooting over the bar and Mason Walsh losing control of the ball after breaking into the Newcastle box. While the Pitmen had greater possession of the ball the half ended goalless.
The Pitmen started the second period with a greater intensity; Joey Butlin just failed to get on the end of a good cross from Mason Walsh. James Lawrie then sent a long range shot inches wide of Adam Alcock’s goal and it appeared that Hednesford were in the ascendancy. However a few minutes later referee Mr Stonier adjudged that Mason Walsh had used an elbow in a challenge and showed the winger a straight red card. In the 57th minute Newcastle were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, which Matt Thomas struck superbly to give the home team the lead.
A long throw from Ben Bailey led to a corner which was cleared behind by a defender at the far post. As the players lined up for the subsequent corner, a Newcastle player fell to the ground and Louis Harris was sent off in controversial circumstances reducing the Pitmen to nine men with over 20 minutes left to play.
Tom Thorley came on for Matt Curley and there was almost immediately cause for celebration as the Pitmen headed home from a corner, only to see a foul given in the home side’s favour. Joey Butlin was working tirelessly to hold the ball and was dragged down in the 75th minute on the edge of the area. James Lawrie’s well placed free kick matched Thomas’ earlier effort for quality, finding the back of the net to equalise for the Pitmen.
Newcastle were unable to exploit the numerical advantage and some intelligent play from the visitors allowed them to maintain a decent amount of possession.
In the 82nd minute after some excellent hold up play Jordan Graham teed up James Lawrie whose smart finish beat Alcock to give Hednesford an unlikely 2-1 lead.
Lawrie came close to claiming a hat-trick but his shot was palmed behind for a corner.
Despite some late pressure from Newcastle, the nine men held out for an incredibly hard earned victory setting up a semi-final with either Leek Town or Stoke City at Keys Park.
Newcastle Town: Alcock, Bradbury, Kapend, L Askey, J Askey (c), Dennis, Bott, Lee, Thomas, Bailey, Morris.
Subs not used: Davies, Cashmore, Bridge, Byers, Gill
Hednesford Town: Wren, Mendez-Jones, Curley (Thorley 66), Bailey (c), Oji, Harris, Walsh, Fitzpatrick, Butlin, Lawrie, Graham (Glover 88).
Subs not used: Gatter, Veiga